Considering that one in five Americans speaks a language other than English at home, it’s inevitable that your call center will have customers who prefer to conduct calls in their own native language.
You likely already have interpreters (or at least bilingual employees) on staff to meet these needs. Perhaps you’ve also considered working with a language services provider. If you don’t already have one, you could be missing opportunities to make stronger connections with customers.
Here are just a few ways a language services provider can add value to your call center.
Even if you currently have bilingual staff to support some languages spoken by your clients, it’s hard to assess their language skills if others in your organization don’t speak that language. This is especially true in the fields of financial services, insurance and law. Unless those responsible for hiring and evaluating your staff are multilingual themselves, it can be difficult to know whether agents are providing effective customer service, and provide a standard across all languages you support.
This is where a language services provider can help. For instance, LanguageLine offers language proficiency testing for bilingual employees and job candidates. And for high volume needs, the testing platform can be incorporated into an organization’s onboarding platform.
In a survey of call centers by industry group ICMI, nearly 82 percent of respondents not offering multi-language support cited volume of interactions as a reason. Another 22 percent said they struggle to hire multilingual agents.
Scalability is another important factor. Even if your organization had access to qualified bilingual agents, it wouldn’t make financial sense to hire them on a full-time basis (at a premium) to accommodate every language.
But even if the few calls you receive in Swahili each month aren’t enough to justify the cost of a full-time agent, the cost of turning those customers away could be even higher.
Partnering with a large language services provider gives you access to interpretation in dozens of languages on demand. Connect times to an interpreter can be just seconds.
The same ICMI survey revealed that 68.9 percent of respondents expect their non-English speaking customer base to grow in the next three years. This could be due to a company actively pursuing new demographic or geographic markets, social or mobile platforms increasing a company’s visibility, or simply seasonal spikes.
Whatever the cause, multilingual customer support is a competitive differentiator for attracting and retaining these new customers, increasing customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty. Partnering with a language services agency can help supplement your in-house capabilities and cover unexpected language needs as the customer base grows.
Any multilingual employees you do have, whether in common or rare languages, can’t work all day and night to meet growing consumer demand for service when they want it. A language service provider has interpreters available 24/7. That allows you to add capacity during peak hour demand, and continue to serve all your customers, no matter what their language, evenings and weekends.
Learn more about how a language services provider can help your call center improve customer satisfaction, minimize costs and enhance productivity.