How to localise customer experiences the right way

How to localise customer experiences the right way

Article | Last updated: 30 January 2019

Every day about four billion people use the internet, What is astonishing is only 25% of them have English as their first language according. 

Also, a report from the Common Sense Advisory revealed that 72% of customers are more likely to buy products or services if the information they see is in their own language.

Ask yourself this: How can your company be localised to enhance customer experiences? A translation of your website into different languages isn’t enough. Your business needs to understand the often-subtle cultural differences between customers in diverse countries or regions.

Your CX2030 checklist

Managing the localisation process means understanding the audiences your business wants to reach. Use this checklist as your guide:

Use local knowledge and skills

If your business has regional offices, use the expert local knowledge that your staff already has. Alternatively, use local business experts in each country you want to enter can help you avoid costly mistakes. The travel company Thomson changed their name to Tui to reflect their broad European reach and to consolidate their brand message.

Localised design

The design of your website and apps also need to be carefully localised. Language will need to be used to ensure web pages, and app screens display correctly. For instance, French letterforms will require less space than Mandarin characters. Simple machine translation of your website’s pages or app screens could destroy your page design. Also, using local terminology and phrasing are necessary to speak directly to specific customers to enhance the customer experience.

Brand names and language

Brand names often change to make them more globally appealing. Check your business name or the name of the products or services you are selling in each regional language to avoid any offense or associations with slang or local colloquialisms. For instance, when Chevrolet sold the Nova in Spain, they had to change its name, as Nova translates to ‘no va’ which means ‘doesn’t work.’ Also, phrases like ‘a piece of cake’ or ‘raining cats and dogs’ can be highly confusing for some international audiences.

Localised content

Reaching local audiences with content specifically developed for them is highly engaging. The World Wildlife Fund for instances customises its website content to reflect the local species in each region. Localised content like this speaks to the local audience that can see the charity has spent time understanding their country or region, which reinforces brand loyalty.

Localisation becomes personalisation

Localisation is also your gateway to personalisation. As you begin to understand regional differences, you also start to create detailed profiles of these groups of customers. More personalisation should be your goal. Being able to speak to highly targeted groups or even individuals, is a powerful marketing tool.

Doing business locally

An easy first step is to show pricing in multiple currencies. However, your business should also perform price sensitivity tests to discover whether a more sophisticated pricing structure for each region would be more appropriate. Think about localising your contact services. Be aware of time zones especially with live chat, to ensure your business can connect with each customer when they want to reach your company.

Seeing local

Localisation isn’t just about language. The images you choose for your website or app can be highly subjective and have different connotations depending on who is viewing them. A site full of white Westernised images won’t speak to customers in the Far East. Also, think about culture. Images of women in swimwear, for instance, would not be appropriate for audiences in some regions such as the Middle East.

Ultimately, localisation is about having an intimate understanding of your customers. Appreciating their social and cultural differences enables you to create content that speaks directly to them. Localisation is a powerful tool if approaching methodically and with a detailed and well-defined plan.

With localisation comes personalisation…

Here’s where you’ll find an interactive tool to measure your organisation’s current levels of personalisation. It’s as easy as 123:

  1. It takes just a couple of minutes to complete
  2. You get a report that scores your answers
  3. Bonus: You also get a guide containing 10 personalisation tactics you can start using right now