Challenges of Managing a Bilingual Call Center

The Spanish-speaking population in the world exceeds that of English-speaking and their buying power has a significant impact on the global economy. Businesses that manage advertising campaigns to generate interest in what they produce must have a collection center or information contact center to mange customer requests. This applies to organizations; financial services, banks, technology companies, hotels etc. and they are increasingly relying on the expertise of bilingual call centers. Some of the largest corporations employ bilingual call center facilities to manage the workflow of the internal communication as well.

Professionals involved in managing bilingual call center staffs would agree that they are faced with many challenges. Perhaps, their greatest challenge is managing the workforce. Ensuring efficiency, training employees and having a good turnaround rate requires professionals who are skilled. Attaining this objective requires good planning and skilled execution in all kinds of services.

1. Hiring Spanish staff for bilingual call centers can be more challenging than it appears since most Spanish speakers in U.S are immigrants or first, second or third generation Americans. The challenge this provides in the workplace is that conversations at home are generally colloquial. Speaking to family and friends is very different from conducting a telephonic conversation with a customer. Language and accent problems greatly affect bilingual call center’s success.

2. Bilingual customer service representatives also encounter other problems in their work environment like use of accurate terminology and phrasing to describe new product features, describe payment options, cross-sell another product etc. Without appropriate training, they often make errors and become frustrated in their conversation with customers. This negatively affects customer’s perception of your company and brand.

3. Spanish conversation between people from different backgrounds sometimes complicates business communication. More than 20 countries in the world speak Spanish using a wide variety of pronunciation, accents, dialects and vocabulary. Often employees and customers misunderstood each other on a certain point.

4. Bilingual employees who interact with Spanish speaking customers must be able to communicate in business Spanish as well as understand the geo-demographic diversity of Hispanics in U.S. Unfortunately, many call centers train their bilingual personnel in English and then require their employees to ‘translate that into Spanish’. Without appropriate in-language training in the specialized vocabulary, these employees are at a disadvantage in communicating with their customers.

Tips

1. Provide your staff/employees with a better understanding of the culture and the geo-demographic diversity of US Hispanics by-

  • Improving the understanding of the Hispanic culture for those who interact with Spanish-speaking customers
  • Increasing the appreciation of Spanish-speaking people, their roots, tradition, history, cultures and languages
  • Becoming more aware of how the Spanish language is used by US Hispanics. 2. The best way of hiring the qualified Spanish candidates for bilingual call centers is by using language proficiency assessments that tests verbal communication, reading comprehension, writing skills to evaluate the competency of the Spanish speaker.

3. Provide the bilingual employees Business Spanish in-language training serving Hispanic consumers such as vocabulary and industry specific terms and phrases, how to handle difficult customers and techniques to handle the cultural diversity of Spanish speakers in the U.S.

4. It is important for bilingual call center management to stay current on call center news and trends to improve performance. This helps them to plan a customer service program that works for both their employees and customers.

Spanish speakers are becoming a very significant part of workforce and they need to be trained properly in their native language. Providing and achieving quality customer service through bilingual call centers requires a plan, adequate budget, fully trained staffs and appropriate Spanish language training.

Source by Randy J Harmat

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