From sales reps to online product descriptions, the language we use when we speak to our customers helps them determine if our products and services are right for them. Customers want to know “Is this for me?” as quickly as possible and communicating that simply and consistently through each of an organization’s customer-facing touch points may be a step oftentimes overlooked. By taking control of our content assets, developing them (if need be) and then reviewing them completely to ensure their meanings resonate with our audience is a big step forward in the digital transformation journey.

1  Digital Transformation

But before we discuss source content, we need to understand what a digital transformation is.

Business futurist and leading expert on digital transformation Greg Verdino has spent a lot of time synthesizing that answer, and he’s crafted a definition that any business leader can understand. The author of “microMARKETING: Get Big Results by Thinking and Acting Small” defines it as follows:

Digital transformation closes the gap between what digital customers already expect and what analog businesses actually deliver.

So, what do digital customers already expect, and how does this relate to content?

2  What Do Digital Customers Expect?

Digital customers expect to easily find the product or service they’re looking for, determining if it suits their needs, buying it using whatever method is most practical for them and having it delivered as they want it, where they want - and getting immediate service along the way or post-purchase if anything ever goes wrong. We all know that. But do we realize that the streamlining other companies make to their products and services can also impact our customers’ expectations? To underscore this, Greg points to Uber, Zappos and Amazon.

“Can the typical Fortune 1000 company say it is as easy to do business with as Uber, as efficient as Zappos, as agile as Amazon? Not yet!” Grego points out. “But to the consumer, the best experience they just had with a company like Uber, Zappos or Amazon becomes the minimum acceptable experience they expect from every company.”

That ease-of-use, service and experience is something that all customers want in their online relationships, as end-users or as corporate buyers.

I tracked Greg down in India where he’s keynoting a corporate event. He tells me that to realize a digital transformation, a higher level of sophistication in how language is processed is required.

“Customer centricity in the digital age certainly requires organizations to have the ability to serve both global and local audiences with content, experiences and customer support in real time and in-language,” he says. “More importantly, many of the technologies companies will harness to accelerate their transformations — from natural language processing, to big data, to artificial intelligence to learning machines (robots, automation) — will require an increasingly sophisticated ability to process language, recognize and learn patterns in language, and so on.”

3  Is This Right for Me?

Greg says that digital transformation should make your business better. By developing, auditing and reviewing your language assets - like glossaries and translation memories - on a continual basis, you can be assured that the messages you’re delivering to your audience are concise and complete. And that content should be analyzed for meaning, to determine if it helps them answer the biggest consumer question of all: is this right for me? If it is, then everything else needs to follow, naturally, letting them buy, install, use and get support in the easiest ways possible, in their language, in real time.

“So while, I don’t see many CEOs shouting, “Get me a linguist,” when they’re embarking on a digital transformation journey, I do see a linguists playing a key role in enabling a number of the key technologies that will form the basis of a digitally transformed business,” Greg says.

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