Thinking Outside the English Customer Service Box

BY Rachel Cagle
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Chances are, you agree with the 89% of marketers surveyed by Gartner who are banking on standing out from the crowd thanks to their customer service. Why wouldn’t you? The service you provide your potential customers is what turns them into clients and then, if it is continued, into loyal, long-​term clients. It’s easy to remember the basics (empathy, timeliness, attentiveness, etc…), but, as Irina Jakovleva points out in her article, “4 Steps for Customer Experience Success,” it’s just as easy for salespeople to forget to incorporate steps for our multilingual clients.

But I don’t deal with international sales,” is what you may be thinking. Well, we live in America, and we’re referred to as a “melting pot” for a reason. Our diverse mix of cultures is part of what makes this country what it is, so companies need to be prepared to accommodate the needs of clients whose first language may not be English.

Jakovleva points out that it’s a common practice among companies to have one service team attend to a potential client, but as soon as the first sale is made, that client is placed in the care of another service group entirely. If one of your new clients speaks a language other than English, and your first group closes a sale in that language, you need to continue that service level. If a problem arises, and your service group can’t effectively help this multilingual client, you may lose their business. This isn’t as unlikely of a scenario as you may think. Roughly 13% of Americans (over 38 million) speak Spanish at home, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Your company goes to great lengths to remove limiting factors to its sales. Don’t you think it’s time you addressed a multilingual service plan? With everything else your customer service plan has going for you, it would be silly to miss out on a potentially loyal client just because they may not speak the same language as you.