Most businesses have gone global both in terms of outreach and operations. The global business environment has led to the need to outsourcing some operations most specifically customer support to be able to meet demands of customer diversity – from different time zones, cultures, and languages. Merlin recently wrote an article* describing 4 steps to meet the demands of customer diversity. A summary of that article is below:
For a call center to remain competitive, they need to be able keep up with the demands of business clients. Offering multilingual support is just one of these demands that when met can generate additional revenue on both ends. But how do we build an efficient multilingual customer support system?
Here are 4 ways to ensure great customer service delivery is done across language barriers.
1. Determine the Level of Support You Can Provide
Before you can start on the recruitment process, you need to tailor your operations down to the specifics – what languages can you provide support for, what timezones can you service and the level of customer support you can give?
You can offer multilingual support in many ways – through voice-over translation of options to offering e-mail or chat support only and going all out with live and in-house voice customer support. This would require extensive training but will prove to be a valuable investment to your business and clients.
2. Offer Competitive Employee Packages
By setting goals in the recruitment process, companies can offer competitive packages to diminish call center employee attrition rates. Clients should provide specifications on the call center agent profile they want on their team. This makes the recruitment process easier because the right people are recruited based on the requirements of the client.
While recruitment might be easy, retaining multilingual call center agents is difficult. High call center attrition rates are common problems for call centers. This is why it is particularly important that there are staff retention strategies and policies that keep call center agents satisfied and happy in their current companies. Multilingual call center agents know they are a valuable resources because of the languages they speak so providing them with a better compensation package should be a priority.
3. Continuous Training
When multilingual call center agents are hired, it is important not only to train them on operation specifics using the language they will provide support for, it is crucial that they know specific customary best practices on the country they will be tasked with. Multilingual call center agents have to provide customer service for people not only speaking a different language but also belonging to a different culture and who might have different expectations for customer service. You would need to create guidelines that use clear and simple language easily understood by non-native speakers.
Continuous training is also important through e-mail updates, workshops or one-on-one coaching sessions with a QA analyst or supervisor.
4. Manage Customer Expectations
One last key to offer multilingual customer support is to set customer expectations. To provide unnecessary frustration, be clear on what you do and don’t provide. Customers need to know firsthand that they are going to be speaking with a non-native speaker so they will be mindful on how they will talk to the customer service agent.
At best, make sure that customer support pages from FAQs, guidelines and how-to’s are available in all supported languages and are placed strategically on your web site. This will help in lowering calls especially if you don’t have that much big of a team for multilingual customer support.
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*Original article no longer available online.