Expectations for customer experience are shifting in virtually every industry, and your language support solution will need to meet — or, better yet, exceed — your customer's expectations to remain competitive in a landscape where customers have more choice and more information than ever before.
Here are three factors we see shaping the future of language support and customer experience:
- Accounting for every touchpoint on the customer journey
- The ability to meet the increasing demand for virtual interactions
- The promise of speedy service without sacrificing quality
1. Ensure Every Touchpoint is Accounted For
A customer's journey is rarely linear. Customers with limited-English proficiency (LEP) or who are deaf or hard of hearing struggle when language barriers get in the way of positive customer experiences. In order to succeed, businesses must account for the entire customer journey and all the touchpoints along the way.
For example, customer interactions within the healthcare system go beyond time spent with a doctor, with touchpoints including:
- Customer research and discovery (answering questions through your website or by phone)
- Appointment scheduling
- Diagnostic testing
- Examinations, including in-person or virtual interactions
- Insurance claim processing and bill payment
Similar touchpoints exist across other industries, and every point along these customer journeys is an opportunity to provide a better customer experience. On the flip side, every touchpoint can also present challenges and obstacles for customers that may struggle to communicate clearly with staff and providers.
Without proper language services at each step (including the ability to solicit feedback from your customers), you also run the risk of providing inadequate services or care, limiting customers' understanding of their options, or pushing them to do business elsewhere.
2. Meet the Demand for Virtual Interactions
The demand for virtual interactions has grown steadily over the past two decades as businesses offer more services online, providing customers with access through computers, broadband connections, and smartphones. All businesses must be prepared to meet these demands.
COVID-19 wasn't the beginning of virtual services, but it dramatically increased its use. The shift toward virtual care and service is likely to continue. Call volumes at contact centers in retail, government service, finance, and healthcare increased dramatically when the pandemic limited in-person interactions. Other industries like insurance and healthcare also saw a dramatic rise in the need for services like video remote interpreting services to meet the demand of LEP patients, customers, and clients.
The increase in virtual health services in 2020 also highlighted dangerous gaps in services for LEP customers. They are almost three times as likely to lack insurance coverage, and even those who have it may not be able to receive all their insurance benefits if services are not available in their native language. A language barrier can also make the use of technology like telemedicine and patient portals (that are often delivered in English) even more difficult.
3. Provide Speedy Services without Sacrificing Quality
In an on-demand economy, speed matters, but so does quality. Businesses prepared to deliver services to LEP customers must be able to satisfy both needs. Adding language solutions that offer quick access is meaningless if those services cannot adequately meet your customers' needs.
Companies looking at various language solutions must evaluate both languages available and accessibility of services in real-time. The following statistics illustrate the vital importance of having access to language services that are both broad and immediate:
- There are 322 different languages spoken in the U.S.
- The fewest number of languages spoken in any given state is 56 (Wyoming); the highest number is 207 (California)
- Approximately 15% of the adult population in the U.S. has some trouble hearing, and the most debilitating hearing loss is in older adults (over the age of 40)
If you only have access to interpreters in English and Spanish, you're alienating millions of people who speak the other 320+ languages that might buy your products or use your services. Speedy language services matter, but the quality and breadth of services are equally important.
Improve Customer Experience with Better Language Solutions
Mapping out your customer's journey and ensuring extensive and high-quality language services at every step along the way will set you apart from competitors and improve the experiences of your LEP customers.
Learn how GLOBO can help you prepare for the future of customer experience with the industry's most innovative language support platform, GLOBO HQ.