BPA Featured Article

In Multilingual Call Center Operations, Understanding the Language Isn't Enough

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
October 29, 2012

While the call center business has always been challenging, in today’s globalized business environment, it has become even trickier. Your customers may speak a dizzying array of languages. While many of your agents may be bilingual, it’s likely that you are using outside resources to help cover the languages you simply cannot handle in-house.

But it’s more complicated than simply different languages. Customers are also coming to companies with different cultural backgrounds too, writes BPA Quality in a recent blog post. How can you possibly be listening to all the languages and understanding the customer experience? BPA uses a specific example: that of a call center company that used outsourced call centers in Egypt, with a quality monitoring company was based in India. Presuming this company’s customers are Americans, how could it possibly believe that the cross-over of translation is actually uncovering the true customer experience?

Obviously, it’s not enough to simply understand what your customers are saying. An inability to understand your customers’ culture can leave you in hot water, with dissatisfied customers and no idea how to even improve the relationships once they are damaged.

According to BPA Quality, the solution is to ensure that third-party quality monitoring services you might use have a broad understanding of not only languages, but world cultures. In fact, writes the company, the best scenario is to have Americans listen to American calls and natural born speakers to listen to those queues as well – and that’s the bottom line.

Otherwise, your call center may be in for some embarrassing miscommunications…not to mention a whole host of dissatisfied customers.

Edited by Rich Steeves