Over the last couple of decades there has been a definite and noticeable increase in the number of people within the US who speak a language other than English. As you might suspect, the statistics show that Spanish is the most commonly spoken non-English language in America. It only makes sense, therefore, that you need to focus the customer service efforts of your business on non-English speakers as well. This means hiring and training more bilingual representatives. It also means gaining a new perspective and deeper understanding on who your customers really are.
Many times, representatives who are bilingual simply do not say anything about this fact to their new or prospective employers. This is a huge mistake since many different companies now offer a higher rate of pay for those representatives who can speak a second language fluently. This covers more than just Spanish, by the way. So, by all means, go ahead and ask your new hires if they have any additional language skills.
More Upward Career Mobility:
Another interesting fact is that today there is a big language gap which exists in nearly every industry. This also means that anyone who speaks a second (or even third) language can advance quickly up the company ladder. This is particularly true in the hospitality, health care, and legal industries. There is also a huge and growing need for qualified people with non-English language skills in the government.
Anyone with the combination of strong bilingual skills, articulate communication, and problem solving abilities should be seen as a good fit for customer service management. This would be especially true for those who demonstrate a solid knowledge of the culture that goes along with those particular languages.
Marketing to Non-English Speakers:
A big take away from all of this for your business should be that you really need to get to know your target market. There may be many more non-English speakers than you had been previously thought. Take some time to learn about the various cultures of your new customers. In some cases, non-English speakers need to feel more comfortable before choosing to do business; so it might be a situation where your business should focus more on building a relationship before trying to get a sale.
You might also want to focus on how your website is developed. Different languages have different grammatical structures, which can also lead to different ways of thinking about and approaching things. Possibly try to have a site and other marketing materials that have both an emotional and logical appeal. You might even want to focus on adding a few sections or even words that focus on the target customers’ native language. The same thing goes for learning about the various holidays that are important to this part of your market. Most cultures have more holidays than we do in America, and many also place a lot more importance on certain special days. Knowing these variations can help you market more effectively (and keep away from making costly blunders).
No matter what business or industry you are in, it is becoming increasingly important to focus on excellent customer service. Today this means developing bilingual customer service representatives on your team. This will serve to open a larger segment of your market and result in better overall customer service, along with increased sales and profits. In short, everyone wins.