A Lesson in Global Customer Experience from Whatsapp
To address even half the online opportunity, it already takes four languages. To capture 98% of the online audience – and 99% of the entire world online wallet – requires 64 languages. However, in 2017, building multilingual websites to serve those markets will take a company only so far. Why? Visitors and customers expect more than a simple website. What they want is what they’re getting from the most innovative brands in the world – immersive experiences and ongoing interactions both with your brand and with other participants drawn into the conversation.
To help global brands understand and meet these challenging expectations, CSA Research conducted our annual study of globalized websites, this year assessing 2,657. Our analysts collected data about how many languages or locales each supported, as well as social links. Next, we examined in greater detail the most global of these sites, focusing on the experiences served up by 150 major brands, each in 25 or more languages. From this dataset, we identified a set of 58 best practices for creating a powerful customer experience for each language.
Finally, we used best practices tests to score and rank this year’s top 100 brands for global CX. These Global 100 companies succeeded in expanding their customer experience by extending the look, feel, and function of their websites into apps, social content streams, and e-mail campaigns.
Whatsapp took the top spot on the Global 100 list. While not the top-scorer in any one component, it did score very highly in all areas. The first component calculates the percentage of the global marketplace covered by Whatsapp’s 53 website languages, using our benchmarks for digital opportunity and audience size. The second component scores dozens of individual features in the website interface, which support – or fail to support – visitors from many countries, speaking many languages. The third part of the score tracks in-language experiences delivered via e-mail, social network profiles, apps, and app stores.
Whatsapp scored 876 on a 1,000 point scale, demonstrating a thorough, well-balanced approach more typical of established tech brands such as Microsoft (852), Hewlett-Packard (848), and SAP (844), the next three companies in our 2016 ranking. Skype (831), Airbnb (820), Cisco (815), Twitter (814), Accuweather (813), and Bing (810) rounded out the top 10.
Whatsapp exhibited many of the 58 best practices identified by CSA Research for global CX. The brand’s global mobile-friendly website performed well on both large- and small-screen devices, meeting many of the 30 best practices pertaining to user experience design, such as the “Two Click Rule.” (see Figure).
Figure: Whatsapp.com Exhibits Best Practices in Metanavigation
Wherever brand and customers meet, the global CX must engage audiences in their preferred language, across multiple digital channels, on all device types, in geographies with different backend systems and regulations.
In our brief "Top 100 Ranking of Global Brand Websites," we share seven areas of focus for global brands in 2017 including global-aware site logic and global CX in apps, social media, and e-mail. The full report on “Expanding Global Customer Experience” explains the principles behind the 58 best practices that CSA Research identified for global CX success.
By neglecting best practices, companies shortchange their site visitors, use budgets for the wrong activities, and miss out on market share. Implementing these best practices and measuring the results will contribute to customer success and production efficiency. Ultimately, those factors enhance profitability and brand value for Global 100 companies – and set a target for websites that didn’t make this year’s cut.
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