It is a well known fact that communication problems are exacerbated when conversations take place in multiple languages. In a contact centre environment, delays and inefficiencies caused by language barriers are not only irritating but can be damaging to both customer experience and a company’s image.
However, this is a problem which is going to have to be addressed. According to Contact Centre Helper, over two thirds of contact centres now handle multiple languages. Despite call centres now having the capability to offer multiple alternative communication channels (email, social media, chat), aggregated into a one truth view of customer activity known as “omni-channel”, customers ultimately still decide which channel they would like to use in a given situation. Many still opt for voice and this is particularly true when they have a complaint or grievance to air.
Right now there are various options for dealing with this scenario in a multi-language environment:
- Have a pool of native speakers within the wider organisation who can be called upon to plug language gaps as needed;
- Use over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) where a go-between interpreter translates the conversation, a workable solution but expensive and cumbersome at best;
- Recruit multi-lingual advisors but be prepared that finding them (and keeping them) may be challenging.