Selling to existing customers is easier than acquiring new clients. That is a fact. Studies have shown that the probability of gaining a repeat customer is between 60 and 70% compared to 5-20% for a new customer. Moreover, existing clients are 50% more likely to try new products and 31% more willing to spend more money.
All this, coupled with the fact that it’s five times more expensive to attract a new client than to keep the ones you already have makes it pretty clear just how important customer retention is.
Existing clients are extremely valuable, but what happens if your business is expanding and you’re attracting international customers? How do you make sure that they’re happy and well taken care of, in the context of cross-cultural communication?
One tiny gesture could turn out to be a major offender that can push prospects away from your business. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, employing the right people with the right language skills can be a significant asset for your business.
Here are just a few reasons multilingual employees are essential when you’re doing business globally.
They’ve Studied the Culture
If you’re doing business in an international context, researching the local culture you’re selling to is mandatory. And by research, we mean more than just knowing basic information, like main holidays.
When you’re selling something to a different culture, the most important thing is the willingness to understand them and to learn as much as possible about them. Making mistakes is human, but that’s not an excuse for ignorance. Multilingual employees know just how critical details can be and are already aware of most of them since they’re already immersed in that particular culture.
They’ve Adjusted Their Speaking
Yes, English is an international language. But does that mean that you should just assume everyone understands it and will adjust to it? Certainly not. Especially if you use slang or colloquial expressions regularly, you need to realize that they can sometimes be difficult even for native speakers. It’s usually best if you just cut them out and try to rephrase everything more simply. Colloquial speaking and writing are potentially very dangerous because you never know what word can have a completely different, even offending meaning in their culture.
Bilingual employees can help you navigate language barriers and spare you the stress of having to deal with international customers in English and worrying about the problems that might arise.
They’ve Adjusted Their Talking
This benefit goes hand in hand with adjusting the way you speak, both verbally and in written form. Again, you might not be sure about how people naturally talk in their culture. But, steering clear of extremes is usually the way to go. Multilingual employees know if your foreign clients tend to be either very shy or noisy and overexcited, and will try to reach a middle ground, where they appear calm, confident, and interested in the conversation.
They’ve Adjusted to Their Time
Adjusting to different time zones may just be the most difficult thing, but it’s necessary. Another crucial thing to keep in mind is local holidays. It’s important to know a little more than just the dates since usually every culture has its nuances that, if you’re not aware of, can turn out to be problematic.
Some cultures, for example, completely shut down all business during important national holidays, so it’s best you know about them before, so you’re aware that you will not be able to contact them at all. Again, multi lingual employees come in handy, since they already know about these things, and can keep you up to date.
Client retention is vital for every business, and if you’re dealing with international customers, you will have to make some extra effort occasionally. Don’t let cultural and language differences stop you from doing business. Hire multilingual employees and watch how easy everything becomes.