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Our Analysts' Insights

15Jan

Don’t Let Searches for Support Content Fade Away

Are you leaving customers in the lurch when it comes to discovering the most relevant entries when asking questions of your localized knowledge base? Our research confirms that organizations tend to spend a lot of money creating a great deal of support content in its original form, along with subsequent multilingual versions. However, they oftentimes invest very little, if any, effort to analyze how external audiences attempt to access these repositories. As entries begin to calcify into legacy formats, this becomes a pressing issue.

Are you exploring options for applying machine translation to unlock more problem-solving information for your customers? Is this the year that your firm will embark on an ambitious initiative to slim down its support content, add more relevant entries, or address technical shortcomings in its delivery platform? Before starting to invest, we recommend that you and your support colleagues engage in some mystery shopping to confirm exactly what happens during this portion of the global customer journey if you haven’t yet addressed the following areas.

  • Do you know where most users begin their searches of your support content? If it’s a surprise that Chinese customers will most likely start their search on WeChat via mobile phones, then you and your colleagues have some homework to do before you can provide more relevant search experiences throughout the world. Word to the wise: Unless your local market customers almost always access search from within your site, you will have to provide for SEO in multiple languages through Google – and whatever other search engines and content delivery platforms are common in local markets.
     
  • What happens when customers can’t locate what they need on the first try? Do they submit a ticket, default to a phone call, start a chat, or simply disappear? What are the patterns for particular topics, markets, and languages? Work with teammates in user design, knowledge management, and support to ensure that users are guided to the most efficient channel based on their expectations, not yours.
     
  • Do you allow visitors to search simultaneously in more than one language? Monolingual people may not realize that their polyglot colleagues may be interested in relevant articles, even if they’re not available in their mother tongue. If you’re diligent about web analytics, you can use this information to decide which content to localize and into which languages as time goes on. In the meantime, the Danes, Dutch, Finns, Norwegians, and Swedes, among others, will appreciate this multilingual search capability since they tend to mix English with their native languages when conducting searches.
     
  • Are you prepared for voice search? Most of us prefer speaking to our devices, which means longer phrases and expanded topics as compared to the inquiries that we input through keyboards and keypads. Content creators may require some guidance as they expand their efforts to support speech interactions beyond traditional passive reading. 
     

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  • What about chatbots? Don’t hesitate to initiate discussions with colleagues in support, technical documentation, training, and product development. The conversations that underlie these automated agents take different paths based on culture, so it’s critical for chatbot design to be world-ready from day one. For example, requesting personal information from your Chinese, Japanese, or Korean audiences must be done in different ways and at different points than with English-speakers when conversing.

Customers often begin looking for information to help them answer a question or solve a problem from a place other than your website. Some remain under your control (site search, in-product help, and chatbots), while others not so much (search engines). Regardless of its starting location, each knowledge base interaction is an opportunity to please a customer, and thus affect how that person values – or doesn’t – your brand. To improve performance, localization teams should collaborate with knowledge center designers and content creators to broaden their perspective from, “Can customers find what they’re looking for?” to “How can the knowledge base experience enhance the rest of the global customer journey with our organization?”

About the Author

Rebecca Ray

Rebecca Ray

Director of Buyers Service

Focuses on global digital transformation, enterprise globalization, localization maturity, social media, global product development, crowdsourcing, transcreation, and internationalization

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