But, does that mean that your own bilingual staff should never assist these customers?
Of course not. In fact, especially when the interaction is informal and/or the risk of misunderstandings is minimal, it makes a lot of sense to have bilingual staff available to help out quickly and efficiently. Your staff knows your business inside and out, and he or she is right there, able to make eye contact with the customer and quickly assist, especially in urgent situations.
However, you still have some things to consider:
After all, unless you – and your entire management team – are also fluent in every language your staff speaks, it’s unlikely you can monitor and analyze them effectively on your own.
There is an inherent risk in allowing bilingual staff to interpret for LEP customers. It comes down to providing inaccurate or incomplete information, misleading them unintentionally, or even opening the door to a lawsuit down the road.
Many multilingual employees will state that they’re capable of interpreting, especially if there is a financial incentive for doing so. But just how proficient are they, really? Are they skilled enough to let them handle every needed customer interaction without oversight?
For over 30 years, LanguageLine Solutions has offered convenient professional language proficiency testing through our LanguageLine Academy.
The value in testing is fourfold:
But what if the tests indicate your bilingual staff have improvements to make?
LanguageLine Academy also offers a language proficiency training program via traditional and online modules that include lessons and role-playing exercises to improve the skills of your bilingual staff.
Taking advantage of training helps improve the language skills of staff, enhances the level of service and satisfaction your customers can expect, and improves your staff’s overall job proficiency as well. They are able to advance their careers, better assist your customers, and feel better about the work they’re doing.
If you’d like to see your bilingual staff tested or trained to improve their language proficiency, dive deeper into the LanguageLine Academy options today.