Personalisation is now the standard of excellent customer service. Businesses with international clients, or an otherwise extensive client-base, must tailor their support to a multilingual audience.
No matter how far we’ve progressed with technology, language barriers persist. This can impede a customer’s experience. Your clients should be at the core of business objectives. This means providing them with seamless experiences before, during, and after their purchase. A call centre capable of multilingual support is vital in this regard.
We live in a fully connected world where businesses, no matter their origin, can attract customers from all around the globe. To encourage this growth in today’s climate, you must open doors for those who may not speak your native tongue. But how?
In this article, Sam O’Brien from RingCentral outlines five ways to implement multilingual call centre support for business with international customers.
Internal language support
This informal approach is found in call centres with a limited budget which lacks established bilingual or multilingual support. It involves making use of a member of your broader team who speaks the language in question, even if they’re not part of the service team. Those native speakers get called upon to assist a customer in an ad-hoc fashion.
While effective, leaning solely on this kind of internal support is not scalable. And if the staff member in question isn’t trained in customer service best practices, you’re taking a risk. Furthermore, it takes them away from their actual job.
Online translation software
Online translation tools function as an add-on to translation websites. Their use allows call centres to instantly translate live chats, emails, website comments, forum posts, website content and social media posts. Furthermore, they can sometimes be plugged into chatbots.
Most of the tools available are designed with the industry-related jargon the call centre handles as standard. That means they’re nearly 100% accurate. Customer service reps can then work as usual, responding to written communications in a conventional manner. This often removes any need for third-party specialists or internal hires. Make sure, though, that you select reliable software with a high degree of accuracy.
Over the phone interpretation (OPI)
If you’re mostly dealing with customers over the phone, you could implement OPI. This is when a native-speaking rep converses with a foreign-speaking customer via an interpreter in the middle who translates the conversation.
For smaller-call centres, an OPI provider might be your best option in regards to expense. Such providers usually utilise a pay-per-minute structure or monthly instalments. You also don’t need to train the external advisors on your systems or protocols as they’re merely translating the conversation.
In-house multilingual support
You may choose to go the whole hog and add bilingual or even multilingual customer service reps to your team. By doing so you’re ensuring that your internal processes are followed, the guidance and feedback you provide is taken on board and advice and services given to your customers are in line with company culture.
Additionally, hiring in-house multilingual speakers gives you the flexibility to move reps around to cover call times from specific countries. They’re not only able to deal with customers on the phone, either. Should a client wish to meet in person or via video conferencing solutions, you have the ability to handle those requests as well.
With that said, both the recruitment and retention of multilingual speakers can be difficult and costly. A single absence may have a noticeable impact on service. Coordinating the hours of coverage can also prove quite tricky. Your most skilled linguists may need to work different hours to receive calls from certain time-zones.
Outsourcing call centre support
Your final option is to utilise a third-party call centre that offers multilingual support. That way, you’re guaranteeing your clients service in the language they prefer. If an internal solution is more trouble than it’s worth, contracting such an exterior operator is the way to go. With them handling your call volumes you’re freeing up both time and resources to dedicate to improving your service offering.
While evidently, the most expensive option on the table, shifting the burden to a contractor offers peace of mind. You can rest safe in the knowledge your customers can communicate with a service rep no matter the language.
An established multilingual call centre will already have the expertise and experience from managing other, similar business clients. Their agents will be trained to ensure they’re on top of your company’s latest policies and procedures.
Additionally, outsourced centres are designed with the latest call routing technologies to guarantee your customers are answered by a live agent as soon as possible. Lastly, when you outsource your multilingual call centre, you can scale up or down as needed.
As with any type of outsourcing, you’re trusting an exterior source to deliver the same experience and service that your customers expect. If they’re not, it can negatively impact your bottom line. You’ve developed your own processes and procedures, and if they don’t match with your outsourced provider, it’s your customers who’ll notice it before you do. It can be difficult to monitor your customer service if it comes from a multitude of sources, rather than via a genuine unified communications platform.
When you offer multilingual call centre support – either in-house or via outsourcing – you open yourself up to an array of new markets. And if implemented correctly, you’ll no doubt display, the much needed, cultural sensitivity your customers expect which will ultimately allow you to provide a level of service that will put your head and shoulders above your competitors.
Sam O’Brien is the Senior Website Optimisation & User Experience Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a global UCaaS systems provider. Sam has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams. He has written for websites such as CloudApp and Channel Partners. Connect with Sam on LinkedIn.