Keys to Effective Multilingual Customer Support

Many businesses have gone international both in terms of outreach and operations. The global business environment has led to the need to outsource some operations, most specifically customer support, to be able to meet demands of customer diversity – from different time zones, cultures and languages.

For a call center to remain competitive, they need to be able keep up with important client demands (low wait time, efficient call handling, high quality scores are some examples). Multilingual customer support is often the “next step” that can generate additional revenue and keep your customers happy. But how do we build an efficient multilingual customer support system? Here are four ways to ensure great customer service delivery is done across language barriers.

1. Determine the appropriate level of support.

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 time zones can you service and the level of customer support you can give?

You can offer multilingual support in many ways – from full service live operator customer service to translation services to offering e-mail or chat support only. This decision has to be made by taking in considerations such as: customer type (business or consumer), customer expectations, costs, margins & importance of repeat transactions.

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. 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…it is crucial that they know specific customary best practices on the country they will be handling.

Agents at multilingual call centers 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. Customer Expectation Management.

One last key to offer multilingual customer support is to set customer expectations. To avoid 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.

In addition, 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 to minimize calls…especially if you have a small team for multilingual customer support.

If you are looking to hire multilingual call centers, please contact us here or call 719.368.8393.