Norbert’s Corner

Localization Reduces Support Cost

March 1, 2005

It’s well understood that localization can increase sales because users prefer to use products that use their own language rather than a foreign one. But it may be less well understood that localization can also reduce support cost. OK, here’s some evidence:

Incidents per language before and after localization.

This graph, provided by Sun’s Consumer Java Support team, shows the number of support incidents per week and language on Sun’s Java consumer site before and after the help and FAQ contents related to JRE 1.4.2 were localized into the given languages. What a steep drop!

If you think about it, it all makes sense: Given the choice between digging through support information in a foreign language and submitting a question in their own, many users opt for submitting the question, even though they have to wait for an answer. Some users may not be able to read English at all, others may just find it too difficult. Given the choice of digging through information in their own language and submitting a question, the outcome changes: Users get their answers online, and Sun saves money.