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Bridge the gap – multilingual environment.

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Bridge the gap – multilingual environment.

Within the multilingual environment of contact centers that deliver multichannel solutions, confusion can be a real bummer. So what steps should supervisors undertake in order to maximize efficiency, also what methods suit this specialized environment the most?

Common language.

Most multilingual contact centers have a “business language” – the one that is used in standard day-to-day communication amongst all employees. The problem with this approach is that in order for it to function smoothly all employees need to speak the language at the same level.

You need to allow some “accommodation time” for the new employees, let them adapt and learn, remember language skills we learned at school don’t necessarily transfer quickly to a work environment.

Leave no room for misinterpretation

This is the most important step when it comes down to managing and excelling in this kind of environment, leave no room for misinterpretation at all cost. Be precise, to the point, keep it simple and when it comes to the new agents especially, don’t overburden them with irrelevant information.

Details matter.

Proper explaining is vital in order for the multilingual contact center to function properly and efficiently. Be patient and flexible, remember the language barrier is not the only hurdle you’ll encounter. Different nationalities can interpret information differently. Keep trying until your staff can clearly understand the task at hand. Cover each and every detail of project.

Don’t be afraid to change your approach.

If you notice that your message isn’t getting across don’t be afraid to change it. Repeating it over and over again won’t do any good, notice what words are you using, maybe you could re-phrase the message. Try explaining the task from a different point of view. Being repetitive is frustrating for all parties involved.

Visual aids.

When explaining a difficult and complex project to the team, use visual aids alongside regular explanation of what is expected. This will provide amazing results in the long run, use screen-shots, charts or info-graphics etc. Be creative, but try not to overwhelm them with the visualizations.

Confirm and explain.

Always make sure that people understand you, confirm that by letting them explain things back at you. The dream employee is the one that isn’t afraid to ask questions regarding the task or project. Make sure that the team understands that. Be patient, you will be amazed how often the first explanation is often misunderstood.

Explain buzzwords and industry lingo.

Always explain industry lingo, and introduce buzzwords when assigning people to new projects. Keep in mind that different nationalities will at times use different terms and abbreviations.

To avoid potential confusion, agree on one standard definition.

A simple thank you goes a long way.

Try to learn some phrases in the languages commonly used by your agents and supervisors on key projects, even if the business language is English. Showing your employees that you’re making effort and that you value their culture will go a long way. Sometimes, simple phrases like “thank you” or “good morning” will boost morale and will bond you with co-workers.

If you are thinking of undertaking a management position in a multilingual environment such as a contact center, don’t be off put by the initial language barrier problems. Adapt and overcome, be flexible. The multicultural environment and diversity outweigh the initial minor frustrations by tenfold.