Phone-based customer service is an opportunity to address your customers’ needs with unparalleled service in real time, which builds loyalty to your brand. Loyal customers share your brand, and you continue to grow.
But when those customers call in speaking Spanish, French, or Mandarin Chinese, how do your English-speaking agents respond if they don’t even understand what the person on the other end is saying?
And even if you confine your sales and services to the USA, over 20 percent of the population speaks a language other than English at home, according to the US Census Bureau. How will your English-speaking rep help a caller through a complex procedure if neither speaks the other’s native language thoroughly?
An effective solution is to use a multilingual contact center. Creating your own in-house call center that supports various languages can be a complex undertaking that demands native speakers. If you don’t have the resources in-house, you can rely on outsourcing services to provide world-class support in any language, helping callers feel even more connected to your brand.
A multilingual call center company provides a host of benefits that ultimately increase profits. Maintaining a diverse reach delivers more efficient service to a wider audience, strengthens customer loyalty to your business, and encourages them to promote your products and services to other potential customers.
When your call center agents and customers speak to each other in different languages, nobody is sure of the problem or the solution, let alone whether the interaction has upheld your brand message.
When both the agent and customer are native speakers of the language, communication becomes more effective. They understand each other’s accents with no confusion about the issue faced by the customer and the solution that the agent is recommending. Both sides feel confident about the interaction because they feel understood and heard.
When callers and call center agents don’t speak each other’s languages, they spend too much time asking each other to repeat misunderstood words or looking for translations. The chance of mistakes increases, as does the frustration of customers who spend too much time on the phone.
A multilingual call center clarifies communication to resolve issues more efficiently, creating shorter call times, minimized errors, and happier customers.
The numbers from the Harvard Business Review tell the story: over 70 percent of consumers spend most of their time on websites in their own language; over 70 percent say they’re more likely to buy products or services detailed in their own language; and over 55 percent state that being able to get information in their native language is more important than price.
Multilingual customer support enhances the customer experience by focusing on a customer's needs and ability to communicate instead of forcing him or her to deal with a language with which they’re unfamiliar. This consideration by a service provider increases customer satisfaction because it reveals a high level of personalized customer care.
Agents who are native speakers rely on both language knowledge and cultural sensitivity in every phone encounter with a customer. They will understand local slang, expressions, and references used by the caller, thus avoiding any embarrassing cultural faux pas.
For example, you ideally wouldn’t have a French Canadian agent speaking to a customer in Paris. Although the language used in both areas is still French, the pronunciation and conventions used in Canada would mystify the caller from France. Instead, you want to use European French agents to communiate with local European French customers.
When both sides are speaking the same language, customers can explain their issues more quickly and more thoroughly, which encourages agents to focus on resolving issues rather than spending time trying to be understood. Managers don’t have to waste time trying to resolve linguistic differences and, instead, work toward managing resources. The result is a boost in call center productivity at all levels.
A multilingual call center not only eliminates language barriers but can improve sales. Your customers become more confident in buying your products and services because they know that they can receive support in their preferred language. They will spend more time comfortably conversing in their native language, which increases the opportunities for your agents to make a sale.
They will also relay their positive experiences to other potential customers, who then consider your organization due to the great things they’ve heard about you from their friends and family.
Assume that you’re a customer choosing a business. If two companies meet your needs with their products and services, would you rather deal with one that speaks your native language or one that doesn’t?
Your multilingual call center support gives you an edge over your competition by appealing to your audience logically by offering them information that they can understand. But it also touches them emotionally, by fostering familiarity and ease of interaction. Your breadth of linguistic knowledge will attract more domestic and international customers alike in comparison with your monolingual competition.
Multilingual call centers provide the exact same services that standard call centers provide but can access far more languages with native speakers.
They can provide customer support services that help customers operate your new product or configure your latest service. They can manage your business needs, such as receiving and routing inbound calls for an organization with multiple departments. They can engage in telemarketing or other outbound call center services by calling prospective customers to explain the benefits of your product and service. And when those customers are ready to buy, multilingual call center agents can deliver eCommerce support, such as by accepting orders over the phone.
Beyond the standard benefits, multilingual call center services are usually provided in one of two ways: by either using live agents, or by using interpreters.
Similar to the English-speaking agents found in standard call centers, multilingual live agents can be used to answer inbound phone calls and/or place outbound calls. They are fluent in the native language of the caller and can converse with him or her in the preferred language. Live agents with native language knowledge can establish a rapport that helps lead the call to an ideal outcome like setting an appointment, upselling a service, or resolving a customer complaint. They are usually trained for a specific company and speak only one or two languages other than English.
Interpreters, meanwhile, typically represent a third party by providing language support between customers and call-center agents. They do not have any training or expertise in answering calls. Instead, they provide interpretation services by translating the languages as the call progresses.
To provide the best experience for your customers, multilingual call centers can rely on some or all of the following features:
Multilingual services not only handle different languages but the dialects and variations due to the location of the customer base. For example, the Portuguese spoken in Portugal sounds very different than the Portuguese spoken in Brazil. The following are some of the more common languages and country variations that multilingual call centers use:
If you’re not up to the overwhelming task of recruiting and training your monolingual call center agents in a variety of languages, your best option for a multilingual contact center is to look into business process outsourcing (BPO) options, such as those provided by TDS Global Solutions.
At TDSGS, we analyze your multilingual call center outsourcing needs before recommending the right outsourcing partner to address your foreign language needs. We can locate ideal call center partners with any combination of live multilingual agents, toll-free numbers, and long-term service or short-term trial agreements.
Our call center resources around the world, from nearshore locations to Asia Pacific and everywhere in between, ensure that agents have the specific cultural knowledge of your target audience. It really is easy to get your brand new multilingual call center up and running—contact us to get started!