Multilingual Customer Services. In today’s busy digitally connected world, businesses are increasingly becoming more global. International consumers are often buying our services and our products.
However, many companies are still not multilingual ready or have the resources to support multiple languages. A recent poll discovered that over a third of contact centers are currently only able to handle calls in one language.
Any company that is looking for global reach and making sure they are getting a solid market share of its target customers, must begin to make provisions to offer customer support in native languages.
So exactly how do you do this? Let’s look below at the short answer as to why it’s important to offer a multi-lingual customer contact center. Then we’ll go into more detail…
Why do I need to offer a multilingual customer contact center? Customers who do not feel that simple concerns and questions about your product or service can be answered due to a language barrier are most likely to take their custom elsewhere. By providing a multilingual contact center, your business can better achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Now we’ve looked at the short answer as to why it’s important to offer your customers who speak other languages a forum on which they can express their preferences, get answers to their questions and of course find out more about your product or services, let’s start by looking at how offering a multilingual contact service can bring your organization a wealth of benefits.
Why should I offer a multilingual customer service center?
What happens when foreign-language-speaking customers need assistance from a company’s customer support center? If they cannot get help in their own languages, the company may stand to lose a customer who most certainly would have contributed to the company’s profits.
Having bilingual customer service representatives can help increase customer satisfaction and grow your business.
The impact that your customer service has on my organization is huge and the way your customers feel about how your contact center helps them can make the decision as to whether they continue to be your customer, or if they decide to go to a competitor. If there is a language barrier, it may be the make or break situation.
Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43%, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report. This could mean many more Spanish speaking consumers may be purchasing your services or products and become a customer of your business.
So what are the obvious benefits for your customers and your business of offering multi-lingual customer help? Let’s take a look below.
Helps to break down barriers
If you are a customer who has an issue with your product or service and is already feeling frustrated, it’s fairly obvious that if the agent they are talking to does not appear to understand them because of a language barrier, their feelings of exasperation are likely to hugely increase.
If they’re not getting the answers they require or feel as if they are not being heard, it stands to reason they will likely go elsewhere. The reality is, if your company isn’t catering to the requirements of its entire community, with bilingual customer service representatives, you will be losing profits.
Gives the customer a tailored service
Bilingual customer service representatives help make seamless communication possible for more customers and guarantee they get their concerns or questions heard, understood, and addressed.
Word-of-mouth advertising and loyalty
How people view your business becomes part of your brand. If consumers feel they will be easily understood, which includes having their questions answered and concerns properly addressed, they will most certainly tell their friends and family. They will also discuss their experience on social media and likely become loyal customers.
Depending on market demographics or your geographical location, you could be missing out on sales. Bilingual service representatives allow you to reach potential new customers and expand your client base. Consumers choose to do business where they feel welcomed and cared for.
Expansion opportunities to other markets
Communication is key in establishing yourself in a new market. Often, many U.S.-based organizations can find it difficult to set up business relationships with customers in foreign countries because of the language barrier. This can also be true for any business that wishes to start-up in many of the US communities where language barriers exist.
Retaining current customers
Customers need assurance that any issues they have will be resolved quickly and competently. One of their biggest frustrations is having to make repeat calls to resolve issues and seek simple resolutions regarding products and services.
Research indicates that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are treated, and 89% of consumers stop buying from a business because of poor customer service.
If your service representatives struggle to understand simple questions or basic concerns, they could be compromising customer satisfaction and in turn, risk losing their custom.
Many organizations focus their attention on their products or services and completely disregard the needs of existing, or potential new customers. Bilingual representatives help to open up the lines of communication with all your customers, helping you gain their trust, loyalty, along with any potential new business.
“Research indicates that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are treated, and 89% of consumers stop buying from a business because of poor customer service”
So now we’ve seen some of the benefits of offering your customers a place where they are able to discuss your offering in their own language, let’s take a look below at some ways to deliver it.
How can I offer a multilingual contact center?
Online Translation Tools
Online translation tools act as a bolt-on to usual translation sites, making contact centers able to automatically translate forum posts, live chats, emails, website posts and any other kinds of written content.
The bolt-on tools offer all the general language and jargon related to the contact center and its specific industry. As they are industry-specific, this can make the tools fairly accurate.
This has the benefit of allowing advisors to complete their daily work in their first language, responding to written contacts in different languages using the tools and more importantly, removes the need to hire specialist advisors or use the other more expensive methods of dealing with bilingual customers.
One of the negative aspects of using this method in the contact center is that it cannot be used to cover all channels, such as those which use a voice like telephone calls. So, if companies are looking to implement this model in the contact center effectively, it would still be necessary to hire multilingual advisors
Informal Language Support
This process involves providers calling upon non-customer care colleagues who are native speakers, to help provide ad hoc support.
This approach is common in contact centers that are affected by budget constraints and it is not an option financially to offer a full program of multilingual support.
The cost of using this process is negligible, which is a great bonus for contact centers that don’t have available budgets to take on a full multilingual project. However, although moving your staff around from other parts of your business such as perhaps marketing or accounting isn’t a sustainable or scalable solution.
In-Country Contact Centres
This operational model involves establishing contact centers in each country that your business operates in so that customers can speak to a native-speaking advisor.
The method can be very useful in quelling language issues, as you can recruit so that customers are interacting with a native speaker of their language. This can make conversations more natural, making rapport and empathy-building easier.
If you choose to do this, a good tip is to gather coaches from each worldwide contact center together every 6–8 weeks for calibration sessions. This would ensure that the level of service given is the same no matter what language is spoken.
One of the negative aspects of using this method is that attempting to establish in-country contact centers although they are customer-centric, can be quite prohibitively expensive for smaller companies and can be difficult to forecast.
Although recently, telecommunications providers have made this option more feasible regarding costs, it still requires a significant investment and commitment by the organization if they are to set up a contact center in a new country.
Over-the-Phone Interpretation or OPI
Using OPI is beneficial to your cost constraints, given that you don’t have to organize training for any additional advisors into new protocols and working new systems, etc. Their work will merely involve translating the words of the agent.
This method involves a native-speaking advisor, a foreign-speaking customer and an interpreter who will translate the conversation between both parties.
OPI can be a great solution for smaller volume contact centers and can often be a useful solution with regards to cost-saving, as the process either works via monthly payment of a cost per minute type structure.
This option is the most utilized option across US contact centers today, but it does have the negative aspect of not helping those customers who prefer to use the quicker method self-service or other digital channels.
This method involves contacting the operations, duties and all accountability to a third party service provider. Usually, this service is used in many back-office functions, such as finance, accounting, and human resourcing. By using the approach, businesses are able to increase their financial flexibility.
This method can be really useful in maintaining growth goals, as the fixed contract with the third party can avoid any potential or significant bottlenecks as the third party maintains responsibility.
One of the chief drawbacks of using this method is that it can affect any quality assurance targets you hope to achieve in the process of handing over a significant portion of your business to a third party. Handing over party.
Another negative aspect of using this technique is that it can be difficult to take control of processes like the approach and style of calls and overall technique in line with your company culture.
Networking Across Business Units
Networking between worldwide contact centers involves re-routing calls to a country where the customer’s first language is that of the advisor or to where a contact center has a specialist advisor for that particular language.
This is a really useful method for not only dealing with your multilingual customers but also gives the option to push out any increase in calls your contact center experiences.
This is a good resource to use in the event of spikes if growth in your business. For instance, if your startup is in the US, but are looking to move into the U.K. market, it might be beneficial to hire some advisors who speak languages that you are likely to find in the U.K.
We hope this article has given you an insight into why providing a contact center capable of helping your multilingual customers is important for you to remain competitive.
If you have any questions about any of the topics raised, and how Commbox can seamlessly connect all your communication channels. Make sure you get in touch with one of our expert advisors who will be able to help.