BPA Featured Article

Monitoring the Nuances of Tone and Culture in Global Communications

By Laura Stotler, TMCnet Contributing Editor
May 11, 2017

Technology is a critical component of call monitoring, particularly when it’s being handled remotely by a third party. But people are the key ingredients in a communications exchange and there are a few variables of conversation that need to be taken into account to ensure customer interactions are living up to their full potential. Culture, tone and language distinctions are all important elements for any communications exchange and are too often overlooked in the contact center.

Just as contact center agents are expected to perform evenly and consistently through a variety of communication channels, their tone should also remain consistent regardless of their customer’s language. That means that cultural differences and nuances need to be accounted for through voice, text and other communication channels. Using figures of speech, catch phrases and other culturally-specific conversation starters and fillers can be detrimental when communicating in a non-native language and should be avoided.

Cultural-specific etiquette is another important ingredient in global communications, and agents need to understand when certain reactions are appropriate or could be considered rude. Expressing empathy, for instance, is inappropriate in some cultures just as jokes and humor can also be misconstrued in certain cultures and circumstances. When in doubt, it’s best to remain neutral and focus on the business task at hand throughout the interaction.

Nuances can also wreak havoc in written conversations, where small changes in language can convey a different meaning than intended. Contact centers should find a uniform way to address and converse with customers in emails, chats and through social media and stick with that tone consistently to ensure the proper branding and company message are being conveyed. This tone may be more or less informal than the one used in verbal communications but the main point is that it should be consistent throughout all non-verbal channels.

Remote call monitoring can be a major asset when it comes to global communications, keeping agents accountable for using a consistent tone and being mindful of cultural and language distinctions and nuances. By tracking and monitoring all channels of global communications, businesses can ensure their branding and messaging are being conveyed evenly and politely in every country and culture they conduct business in.

Edited by Alicia Young


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