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Will Multilingual Chatbots Shake Up Your Sales Strategy?

After major advances in artificial intelligence (AI) over the last few years, a second generation of chatbots has emerged. With innovative multilingual abilities, it’s now possible to converse with multiple nationalities with one piece of software. So is it time for your business to join the chatbot revolution?


“A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface.”

That’s according to Chatbots Magazine. And the chances are you’ll already have come across a chatbot. They’re popular with online businesses such as Starbucks and Mastercard, but many others have taken up the technology. What do they do? Well, they’re mainly used for customer interaction, but also have recruitment purposes. You’ll typically “chat” with them through a web-based application or a standalone app.

The computer programme simulates conversation after it recognises key terms. While this was primitive until recently, the aforementioned AI advances mean chatbots now offer a beneficial prospect to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Intrigued? You can read this WordStream article for a detailed analysis of how they work. Or read on to find out more about the latest innovations.

Multilingual chatbots

Until recently, an online user from, for example, Brazil wouldn’t find a chatbot on a UK site capable of conversing in their native Portuguese. They’d either have to know English, or otherwise communication would come to an end.

But businesses now have the lucrative prospect of using a single chatbot that can understand a wide array of languages. And by this I mean hundreds, complemented with the capacity to respond to queries in a relevant, useful, and sales driven manner.

Seems too good to be true? Well, it’s reality. A state of affairs that could well make the chatbot, unknown to the business world a decade ago, indispensable. So long as your business plans to expand beyond a local market, of course. If it does, then the technology could lead you to greater things.

Parlez-moi, s’il vous plaît

In an increasingly interconnected world, multilingualism has now risen as an important business factor. And why shouldn’t your doors open for interested consumers from across the world?

Language barriers and a lack of the right technology has held business back for decades. Now we have the technology to overcome such boundaries. Natural language chatbots can even receive training on customer intent. It’s possible to expand an existing model to have multilingual abilities – “train” it, essentially, to learn new languages.

One example here is with IBM Watson. As the company explains:

“The chatbot identify the intent to return a response. Before the response is seen by the user, [the chatbot] will translate the response to the language in which the question was asked.”

And it can continue to learn from there; a “forced glossary” increases the accuracy of translations. You can customise the glossary as you learn more from interactions with customers, making you adaptable to your customers’ needs.

Expanding to an international market

If you think this is the ideal way to reach a wider audience, making this big step is about much more than chatbots. Moving international, you’ll have to consider your market carefully. You’ll need to prepare from a local and global perspective.

But if this is all sounding ideal for your business, there’s plenty to consider. While chatbots are cost-effective compared to hiring an entire phone department, they still cost money to develop. This is if you choose to create a bespoke chatbot for your business.

You can turn to ready-made chatbots. This makes the process more cost and time-effective, but you will lose out on the individuality involved in a bespoke design.

But what are the bonuses involved? In summary:

  • Reach a wider audience – talk to customers from different nationalities and effortlessly communicate them. Grow your following, increase sales targets, and advance your business.
  • Increase customer satisfaction – no more confused emails between varying nationalities.
  • Cost-effective – There’s no need to hire native-speaking customer service specialists. Your software will handle the job for them 24/7.
  • Futureproof – Train your chatbot and adapt it to your industry’s needs. A few multilingual errors? You can update your chatbot to constantly deliver better customer service.

Ready to chat?

Introducing a multilingual chatbot across the 10 most common languages has a far-reaching potential. It could help your business reach millions of new customers. The potential is there to create an impressive customer service department—all from one chatbot.

But the decision now rests with you. Do you take up the technology and try to steal an advantage on your competitors? Or do you wait a few years for the development costs to come down and the technology to become ultra-streamlined?

Either way, it’s a fascinating development for the online business world. It’s setting new precedents and suggesting we’re heading towards a future where your sales strategy will consider dozens of nationalities. As a prospect, it’s unprecedented.

Author bios

Alan Price FCIPD, CMgr, FCMI is an HR and employment law expert and senior director for award-winning business consultant Peninsula. The business also creates innovative new technology, but also offers outsourcing HRs for small businesses.

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