One of Customer success’s primary challenges is enabling effective and timely communication in an organization. Customer success managers must be familiar with this concept. It’s not just about sending customers the right email at the right time, it’s about making sure it gets sent in the right language!
This is a bigger issue than most people realize, especially for customer success teams that do business outside of the US borders. One of my clients who has users all over the world had a similar challenge. Specifically speaking, about 50% of the users were native English speakers, 30% were Spanish speakers, and they also had a strong community (aka strategic customers) of German and French speakers.
Customer success management at the time was struggling to come up with a good solution for automatically sending customer emails in the right language in regions, where there could be several different language possibilities.
The best solution customer success management could envision was pulling in the related mailing address from Salesforce and then taking the best guess based on the primary language of the country in question.
This posed two problems:
– Data integrity from Salesforce (address is not always accurate)
– Huge power list filters: for example, the customer success team essentially have to track every country they do business with that has Spanish as a primary language and make a rule that says “IF it’s country A OR it’s country B OR it’s country C…”) – this is then duplicated for 50 or more countries and added to each email list criteria. It was a bit of a mess and very difficult to maintain.
To resolve these challenges, our customer success management created a calculated “Preferred Language” field in the account object with a CASE statement (you can also use an IF statement for this purpose) based on the country the account was in. This is a good initial step to creating an effective customer journey because it takes away the need to have a long IF statement in the rule itself. In addition, customer success teams can then use this field, to quickly analyze data by Preferred Language.
This was a good first step, but we still needed to clean up the database itself. For example, while the account might have been in France, many times, the users would be located all over Europe and may have had a different language preference. For this reason, the CSM added a “Preferred Language” field in the Contact Object. To make sure we had the right information for each contact, we then used various methods to get the data cleaner.
While there’s no perfect solution, we tried to collect and improve SFDC (SalesForce’s) accuracy through various means (which you can see below). Be aware, the points below will act as a great starting point, but you will need to contact a customer success team to create your very own tailored solutions.
1) Add a field in SFDC “Preferred Language” in the Contact Object (only include the languages you’re willing to support).
2) Ask your CSM team to go through their accounts and update the key contacts as a one-time effort (if they manage less than 100 accounts or so, this should be possible. If not, skip this one)
3) Survey – Ask users to identify their language preference through a survey or an in-app message (again, use picklist). Customer success management could help you with this.
2) Product – If possible, the CSM could add a language preference as a field in your application under the user profile and sync back with SFDC.
Just to be sure that the CSM is effective, they could use Gainsight. Gainsight shows usage and how customer success is causing renewals and customer growth. Ideally, the effectiveness of the chosen model must cause a satisfactory customer journey.
If you have any ways to successfully and flawlessly communicate with your international customers then let us know by commenting below, we’d love to hear about them! Also, if you feel this blog would be helpful to someone you know then please press share!
Peter W. Wittenstrom, Author at CSM Practice