Many eBusiness professionals — inspired by the business results they have seen at home with chat including call deflection, increased conversion, and enhanced customer satisfaction — are expanding chat into their international Web sites.

While the elements of a successful chat transcend borders, the components to a successful international deployment can be complex. eBusiness professionals must consider their international markets, their international readiness, and what localization will be required to be successful. To assist in meeting these challenges, we published a document today called, "Taking Chat International: Paving The Way To Success Through Effective Localization."

One of the more complex challenges is managing translation. Some of the key questions include:

  • Should you hire native speakers or translate during chat sessions? Hiring native speakers is ideal, but not always practical. Alternatives include training chat reps to identify variations in spelling, grammar or vocabulary between different audiences or using translation technology.
  • What will be needed from technology to support multi-language agents? Key considerations include what it will mean to business processes when an agent supports chat sessions coming in from different languages, the impact if agents will need to search for answers in one language and push answers to consumers in another, and the impact of multiple languages on your maintaining an accurate knowledge base.
  • How will different languages impact your design principles? For example, a best practice in chat design is to use short sentences and words. However, some languages have longer words and sentences compared to English, and this may have an impact on how your knowledge base is paragraphed.

Even if you aren’t considering taking chat international, here is something to think about: 5% of US online adults agree that "online customer service content in languages other than English is very useful to me" (Source: North American Technographics Omnibus Online Survey, Q4 2010 (US)). If 5% doesn’t capture your imagination, look at it this way:  Service content in languages other than English matters to nearly 9 million online US adults (Source: North American Technographics Benchmark Survey, Q2 2010 (US, Canada)). If these non-English segments have an impact on your bottom line, I hope you’ll find “Taking Chat International” to be helpful. As always, I welcome your comments and ideas here.