Having an international presence is a major opportunity for growth for any company—but not if your customers cannot access support in the language they speak. Even within a single country, customers can come from a wide range of language groups. In the United States, for example, 86% of organizations have customers who do not have English as their mother tongue yet only 66% of those companies offer multilingual support. This is a worrying gap.
Which Languages are Essential For Customer Support?
By not offering support in the most spoken languages in the world, companies are cutting themselves off from massive new markets and running the risk of customer dissatisfaction. Below we look at the most widely spoken languages other than English, which is already used by many support organizations.
According to Statista, Mandarin is the second most commonly spoken language in the world after English and has 1,100 million speakers. Other than in China, it is also widely spoken in Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, while many Chinese communities exist in other countries too. It is also not surprising that in 2021, Mandarin became the official language of The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), underscoring its importance as a major world language.
Hindi is the third most spoken language in the world with 602 million speakers, and according to Statista, it is growing year on year. While the vast majority of Hindi speakers are in India, it is also widely spoken in Pakistan, Fiji, Mauritius, and Suriname. Plus, fairly large Hindi-speaking communities live as far apart as Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.
With 548 million speakers, Spanish is the world's fourth-largest language. This is hardly surprising since the vast majority of countries in South America have Spanish as their official language, and it is also spoken in many countries like the United States. In just one decade, the number of Spanish speakers has grown by 30% because of South America's population growth.
In the past few years, French moved up to become the fifth most spoken language in the world and has 274.1 million speakers, slightly more speakers than Arabic. It is growing rapidly because of its ubiquity in Africa. According to the World Economic Forum, French is spoken on five continents, but the lion's share is in sub-Saharan Africa, where 68% of French speakers reside, followed by North Africa, where 22% of all French speakers live.
Arabic is the sixth most spoken language in the world, with around 274 million people speaking standard Arabic and more than 100,000 speaking non-standard versions. Because it is the language of Islam, it is spoken across a wide variety of countries and continents and is the official language in more than 20 countries. Over the past century, Arabic has seen remarkable growth, with the number of speakers almost tripling globally.
Speaking Your Customers' Language is Essential
As the numbers above demonstrate, no company can afford to offer customer support in English only. This is a sure way to drive customers away, decrease brand loyalty and create frustration. Instead of hiring speakers of various languages in-house, you can opt for outsourced support. The most viable solution is to seek multilingual customer services through a partner that can provide you with the support your need in several languages. To find out more, visit Helpware.com