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10Jun

Does Language Matter? The Impact of Language on the Customer Journey

Marketers strive to create the ultimate customer experience (CX), but we find that few spare more than a moment’s thought for how their home-market customer journey will work in other languages or countries. As a result, many businesses miss the vital requirement of engaging their global audience with content that resonates with them – not just with translated content, but with a full language experience that conveys their brand, reputation, and trustworthiness.

           Language-and-the-Cus...

As a continuation of our long-running “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” series, CSA Research collaborated with survey specialist Kantar World Panel to survey 8,709 consumers in 29 countries in their native language (see Figure). Our mission was to provide reliable data to make the ROI case for delivering localized content throughout the customer journey. In our upcoming report we analyze consumer preferences for a customer experience in their mother tongue versus a foreign language such as English.

           Survey-Demographics

What did we learn? In spite of globalization and the growing use of English as a global language, we found that people in 2020 still prefer consuming information in their own language. Among our findings:

  • Consumers prefer to buy from websites in their native language.Thirty-nine percent of all 8,709 participants voiced a preference for such content. For those who don’t read English well, the preference for purchasing at sites in their mother-tongue increases to 67%. When we correlated buying behaviors with respondents’ proficiency in English, we discovered that those who are confident in reading English are 6.81 times more likely to buy products or services on English-language websites than respondents with no English.
     
  • Information that buyers can read is pivotal in the purchase decision. Given the choice between buying similar products, 66% of respondents will choose the one with information in their language. For the least competent in English, the preference hovers around 85%.
     
  • Local-language support creates stickier customer relationships. Seventy-five percent of respondents say that they’re more likely to purchase the same brand again if customer care is in their language. This preference is strongest among those with less competence in English, but even 60% of those who are most confident in reading English favor having customer care in their own language.

Does language matter? You bet it does. “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy – B2C” will be available to CSA Research members on June 30. We will also share data highlights from the research in a podcast with Scott Abel on July 16, at an upcoming CSA Research webinar, and at LocWorldWide42 in July. Later this month, we’ll also publish an update of “The ROI of Customer Engagement" that factors our 2020 “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy – B2C” data into the customer journey and the impact of language on total addressable market (TAM).

About the Author

Donald A. DePalma

Donald A. DePalma

Chief Research Officer

Focuses on market trends, business models, and business strategy

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