Multilingual services: Why cultural competency matters

Multilingual services: Why cultural competency matters

OABPO Blog Team Published on September 20, 2013
multilingual-services

While language is business for call center companies offering multilingual services, it’s not the sole determinant for success. These companies also need to show deep cultural understanding to effectively reach out to a diverse market.

Importance of culture to multilingual services

Customers in different locations are separated by both a common tongue, and cultural background. It is therefore a mistake to think that using only the English language would be sufficient, or that the employees’ foreign language capabilities are all it takes to cater to these customers.

Cultural awareness is important to effectively meet the demands of customers whose primary language is not English. For customer service, it enables agents to understand the inherent cultural context of issues, know what values are held dear by customers, and avoid faux pax that may be regarded as offensive or insulting.

The same goes for marketing campaigns carried out by call center companies offering multilingual services. By employing specific keyword selections, they can localize the campaigns and make their idea relevant to customers in a particular community. For instance, German-speaking agents know that, while the term “mobile” is used in the UK and “cellphone” in the USA, German customers use “handy” to refer to the portable phone.

Lastly, cultural adaptation also enables a business to come up with innovative ideas for a specific culture.

Highlighting the role of culture

A call center company can ensure cultural competency by hiring applicants with deep cultural knowledge and understanding of the customers’ expectations. It can also provide cultural training spearheaded by native speakers and consistently evaluate the performance of its talents.

Overall, an understanding of cultural diversity is essential for multilingual call center companies. This allows them to understand their customers and thus fulfill requirements specific to their backgrounds.

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