Here’s how to overcome them while growing your business.
Call center and help desk agents have a tough job, especially in the retail, tech, hospitality, and insurance industries. Whether they’re talking someone through a complex process to fix their computer, answering questions about their coverage, or taking a product order, it needs to be done as quickly and accurately as possible. But what happens when the person on the other end of the line speaks a language that the agent doesn’t? How can you handle a situation like this, and what do you do to overcome this barrier and still provide the best possible customer experience?
In this blog we’ll explore options to combat these issues while providing you with the opportunity to grow your business in new language markets.
The language barrier
An estimated 61.8 million Americans speak a language other than English at home—about 20% of the population. Just over 25 million of those people have Limited English Proficiency (LEP). If your company can’t communicate with them effectively, you’re losing out on a significant amount of business.
The most obvious solution is to make your help desk or call center multilingual, hiring employees that can meet the needs of LEP callers or customers. However, this becomes more difficult, and expensive, the more languages you need to communicate in.
Another option is to hire on-site interpreters to translate as needed. However, similar to hiring multilingual employees, this is generally a fairly costly solution, and may not be a practical option for all businesses. A much more efficient and cost-effective solution is to employ Over-the-Phone Interpretation (OPI).
OPI is a solution that allows your agents to connect directly with interpreters over the phone. Those interpreters can then assist in circumventing the language barrier, translating back and forth between the agent and the caller. The agent dials a 1-800 number to connect in seconds with an interpreter who speaks the necessary language. Not only that, they are also trained and have knowledge of your company and your field specifically. That way, they can translate not just basic conversation, but also industry-specific terms and technical jargon liable to come up over the course of the call.
Benefits of OPI
There are a number of ways that Over-the-phone interpretation can benefit your business. As we’ve previously mentioned, hiring either on-site interpreters or a multilingual staff can be costly and impractical, and still might leave you struggling with language discrepancies. Â By utilizing an existing team of valuable agents, OPI gives you a much more comprehensive solution, at a fraction of the cost.
It’s also a good way to improve your customer satisfaction and retention. Acquiring new business can cost up to five times more than retaining existing customers, so it’s in your best interest to build strong customer relationships. By communicating with callers in the language that’s most comfortable for them, you provide them with a more positive experience and enable your agents to resolve their issues more quickly and effectively. This in turn makes customers more likely to use your company again next time, and eventually become lifelong loyal patrons.
Finally, OPI can help you to grow your business and expand it into new markets. Being able to communicate with those who aren’t English-proficient will eliminate a major barrier and allow you to expand your customer base. Once you have phone interpreters who can help you overcome language roadblocks, there’s nothing stopping you from tapping into rapidly growing markets to offer your product or service. Offering multilingual services not only helps you serve your customers better, it also allows you to scale, ultimately improving your bottom line.
To learn more about OPI, and how it can help your business grow both domestically and globally, contact us today.