There is an ever increasing number of Multicultural and Multilingual Social Customer Service Centres. In the same way that the existence of free flat telephone rates regardless of the point of the planet from where you call from has led to the creation of macro call centers, there is also an online version for Social Networks. The advantage for large companies is to unify in one place previously dispersed desks, allowing multilingual staff flexibility in addressing various countries and ability to meet different peak demands in each market more effectively. On the other hand, offices use to be established where costs of human and physical capital are lower. For medium and small companies in addition to the above, they allow an easier internationalisation because they no longer need to have a physical office in every country where they want to sell their goods or services.
We need to consider the following factors in an international Social Customer Service Centre, which are also valid for any Community Manager dealing with other markets in different languages:
1.-Multilingual personnel available:
It is better to have personnel with a high level of several languages than people fluent in only one of them. This will allow greater flexibility to adapt to the moments when there is a higher demand for communication in a country and lower in another. Imagine for example a holiday in France that is a working day in Italy, in which case we will need that some of the people that serve the French market help in the Italian market and therefore they should also have a good Italian level.
It is basic for any Community Manager since it is an important factor for the brand image in Social Networks. This is also valid of course for all the languages that you need to use to communicate.
3.-Make a good Diversity Management:
Communicate respecting the different customs of each country. It is not the same to target Mediterranean consumers than Nordic or Muslims or Asians. The role of the company in this sense is to instruct and educate staff to be respectful and sensitive to cultures and needs of different kinds of people.
4.-Do not post about controversial issues:
It is important when working only within a domestic market and even more when dealing with other countries. Avoid sports rivalries or political, religious, social or moral issues. If it is the customer who starts writing on your brand account about any of these points, quickly and politely deflect the conversation to commercial aspects that are in your interest or at least to another neutral and non-confrontational dialogue.
5.-Consider the time differences:
Take into account the different time zones and customs in areas such as working hours and meal times when you post.
6.-Segmentation by language:
Languages should rather not be mixed in the same account in a social network because it may confuse and/or irritate some users and create an image of “Social Babel” not positive for the brand. In that case you have 2 options, either you create separate accounts for each language ( e.g. on Twitter ) or segmentate on those social networks that allow it, such as Facebook or Google Plus.
7.-Consider local holidays for promotions:
For example in France on July 14 or in Italy on “Befana” day. These are great opportunities to reach the target audience in each country, improving the image of the company and making it seem more local.
8.-Know and comply with the laws of each country:
Regarding tax matters, consumer rights and copyrights as well as other legal issues.
Without pretending to be exhaustive, all the factors mentioned above must be taken into account for Community Management when you need to interact with other markets, which is increasingly usual in this global world.