The Importance of Multi-Lingual Contact Centres
16 May 2017
Within our Major Accounts team, we recruit for multi-lingual candidates for the contact services sector. It is an ever-growing market, with high demand for candidates who are able to speak languages such as German, Dutch, French and Spanish. Glasgow is, more frequently, being used as a base for multi-national companies.
It therefore presents plenty of opportunities for those who are fluent speakers – perhaps by having achieved a languages degree – to put their learning and skills to good use. As trade borders become more fluid (and as Britain seeks to strike new deals in the wake of Brexit), the ability to communicate without needing to translate is becoming more pressing.
Investing in multi-lingual support staff is an investment in the future, as travel and immigration make it easier for people to live and work all over the world. For any business, it’s also crucial that their customers, for whom English is not their first language, are able to speak to advisors who can provide help. I can’t imagine anything more frustrating than needing technical advice and not being able to understand what I was being instructed to do.
Studies have also shown that consumers are more likely to return to a business who are, quite literally, speaking their language. According to the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), 10% of the UK population has a primary language other than English and prefer to communicate in their native language.
In February 2017, the UK exported £21.7 billion worth of goods to EU and non-EU countries. Therefore, multi-lingual after-sales support becomes an incredibly valuable asset to a business. Indeed, the ICMI confirmed that 86% of UK contact centres receive non-English calls.
There are approximately 100 different languages spoken in the UK alone, including Portuguese, Turkish and Mandarin Chinese. That amounts to over 4 million UK residents whose primary language is not English. Contact centres should view hiring multi-lingual support as giving them a competitive edge - since only 40% of UK centre provide support in languages other than English.
Language is at the heart of providing more personalised and relevant interactions with customers – two musts for modern contact centres. This should ensure a more positive experience that satisfies all the customer’s needs. There is nothing more irritating than being left on hold or being passed from one advisor to another.
Hiring multi-lingual staff also prevents feelings of frustration and helplessness on an employee’s behalf, if they are unable to accurately assist a customer owing to a language barrier. Today’s 24 hour technology dictates that support or advice should only be a phone call away, regardless of language, and most clients and consumers would expect this as standard.
If businesses are not only to survive but thrive in the wake of new trade deals post-Brexit, having a well-established and highly skilled multi-lingual staff force will only enhance profitability.
If you would like to source multi-lingual candidates for your business, my team and I would be delighted to help. Click here to see my details and I can discuss your staffing needs confidentially.
Written By Shona Preston