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5 Best Practices for Delivering Multilingual Customer Support

Endri Hasanaj | Mar 13, 2017 107 views No Comments

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Thanks to modern globalization, a great diversity of languages has been observed growing across many countries.

This change has forced the hand of various companies and brands to implement customer support in several languages in order to keep up with the competition and maintain a good relationship with their clients.

Recent surveys have shown that customer support centres receive calls from non-native speakers with an over 60% rate, facilitating further the need to expand on the available support languages. Following are five great practices for delivering multilingual customer support.

  1. During recruitment interviews place importance in language skills

The first step to improving multilingual support is to recruit staff that has satisfactory knowledge of several languages. Especially when it comes to technical support, knowing a foreign language well can help communication with customers greatly. Being fluent in at least 3 unique languages should be imperative for candidates of the customer support department.

As for which languages should be considered more valuable, this depends on where the company is located. A study and analysis will be necessary to determine what languages are most common among the customer database. This will accelerate the recruitment process and help pick the most valuable candidates.

  1. Know the limits

A perfect dream organization would be able to provide customer support in all the languages that exist, but realistically that is not possible. So it’s necessary to know how much you’re actually able to cover and place higher importance on the most common languages among their client base.

Another criterion that should help determine which languages to support is how fluent your current staff is in the languages they know. Because it is imperative to offer efficient support, the employees need to be as fluent in the foreign language as they are for the primary.


Engage with customers in real-time across every channel, no matter the medium. Use visitor tracking and email analytics to know what your customers are seeing.

Finally, when the customer centre receives a call in a language that’s not supported, it’s valuable to track which language it was. This way, it’s possible to see which languages are common in demand, making it easier to pick new staff based on the languages known.

  1. Being fluent in many languages is not enough

In order to further improve and perfect the customer experience, just knowing many languages is not enough. The staff responsible needs to also be aware of culture and customs and offered different support based on these differences. Essentially it’s a great idea to conduct diligent research in order to determine the best support strategies for each company’s customer demographic.

  1. Materials and resources to assist

Another practice to help multilingual support is to make available different materials to both employees and customers that will help communications. Such materials can be both physical for staff and virtual for clients, such as Frequently Asked Questions pages, or product and service documentation in available in hundreds of languages.

By using office materials such as agendas, manuals or books on cultural intricacies, the employees can have an easier time dealing with customer with foreign heritage. On a virtual level, having state of the art software such as translators, product analysis programs and more, the employees have the resources to help even customers that speak non-supported languages.

  1. Track Performance Results

With the goal of improving multilingual support, one of the key practices is to keep track of and measure how well employees are doing. This can be done in many ways such as requesting customers to fill in a survey after they’re done receiving help. The survey would ask how satisfactory the service they received was and also which country they’re from and which is their primary language.

By analysing performance, you can determine whether employees need to be replaced, trained further, or rewarded.

Final words

Overall, it’s firmly believed and accepted that regardless of whether you offer multilingual customer support in 5 or 20 different languages, what’s important is to keep the quality high in all of them and ensure that the customers find what they were looking for.

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