Written by Rene Mallari
Table of Contents
Virtual assistants in Mexico are assets to your organization, not least because they know the languages and cultures of Latinos and Americans. This skill contributes to efficient operations and customer service.
This article discusses the importance of language and culture for customer support. It also explains the benefits and best practices for localizing them to achieve a higher customer experience and satisfaction.
Read until the end to learn more about finding a service provider that can help you leverage language and culture to improve customer support.
The Importance of Language and Culture in Customer Support
The main goal of customer support or customer service is to achieve excellent customer satisfaction. Language and culture for customer support play a vital role in satisfying buyers. Consider the following reasons:
Build Customer Trust and Confidence for Product or Service Loyalty
Forming trust with customers is critical when serving them. Trust develops when customer service representatives (CSRs) understand customers and use appropriate language when assisting them. Customers want to rely on the company they are dealing with; cultural knowledge is essential since this degree of trust varies by culture.
One factor in building trust through language and culture during customer support interactions is your organization’s strategy. Consumers will develop trust if the customer service plan demonstrates cultural awareness and the language is compatible with the service delivered. Gaining their trust will likely make them more loyal to your product or service.
Humanize Communications for More Positive Feedback
If you know the language and culture that customer support should use, you can deliver enhanced and customized communication. Buyers nowadays expect more from businesses. The more individualized the service, the greater their reaction and trust. Recognizing language and culture enables customer support teams to engage more effectively with consumers.
Additionally, personalized interaction guarantees that proper expression and terms are applied while offering culturally relevant services. When CSRs capitalize on local and ethnically appropriate words, they understand your business’s market. Using the buyer’s language and culture during customer support operations fosters market confidence.
Result in Greater Online Interaction for Better Customer Service
Social media ranks as one of the most crucial platforms for customer service. This platform is popular in many cultures, and each demographic has different preferences. Thus, learning the culture of the market you serve or plan to enter will help you effectively harness the power of social media.
Certain cultures depend on conventional communication tools (e.g., phone calls, short messaging services, or SMS), but others use social media. Some markets prefer a formal tone while posting on Facebook and other platforms, while others prefer casual language. Nowadays, social media is crucial to delivering better customer support.
Help Build a Solid Strategy for Deeper Personal Connection
Getting acquainted with the language and culture that customer support should use for the market helps formulate a better service strategy. Familiarizing yourself with your consumers lets you plan and deliver higher customer satisfaction, which leads to higher loyalty or retention. The more loyal buyers you get, the higher your sales will be.
Moreover, a deep insight into the market makes your CSRs more sensitive to cultural nuances or subtle differences, ensuring they use the right expressions and words. You can develop tactics and programs that make CSRs connect with consumers on a more personal level.
Benefits of Language and Culture for Customer Support
Below are the advantages of effectively using language and culture for customer support.
Higher Sales for Improved Bottom Line
Leveraging buyers’ language and culture in customer support can help increase your sales volume. Many customers will buy goods and services if the product information or detail is culturally appropriate and in their native language.
Higher sales translate to better profits that you can use to expand marketing activities, improve the brand, or develop new products and services. Below are the other benefits of greater sales:
- Obtain more customer data. Monitoring customer buying preferences and behavior helps you promote your brand better since you know which products or services are popular. Harnessing customer information to make adjustments and changes can lead to more revenue.
- Boost your image. Higher sales mean more positive product or service feedback on your website, thus increasing your reputation and giving potential customers the impression that your business is trustworthy and your products are of high quality. An enhanced public reputation can attract more buyers and repeat business.
- Make room for your latest products and services. Greater sales allow you to launch additional e-commerce or physical store products. Customers are more likely to purchase items that are flying off the shelves because they might not be available again.
- Get free advertisements. More sales indicate more customers buy your products and services. Those who are satisfied with the purchase and with your customer support might talk about your brand to others, such as friends and family members. This word-of-mouth advertising can increase future sales.
Wider Market Reach for Business Resiliency
Efficiently using language and culture in customer support helps your business access a larger overseas market, reach new customers, and improve revenue. One way to do this is to communicate with the target audience in their native tongue.
While many non-U.S. customers can speak and understand English at different levels, providing company, service, or product information on your website and engaging with them in their native language is advantageous. They will have a better understanding of what you offer or sell.
Here are some perks of market expansion:
- Lower costs. Overseas expansion is typically more cost-effective than increasing your domestic market presence. Many countries in Asia and Latin America offer more affordable human resources, materials, and infrastructure. They are ideal for setting up logistics, manufacturing, and business process outsourcing (BPO) operations.
- Resilient operations. Putting all your operations in one country increases the risk of a substantial financial loss if an adverse economic or political event happens. Spreading your investments around the world reduces the overall risk. For instance, brisk sales in your international operations can offset slow business in your home country.
- Better tax and compliance incentives. Some foreign locations offer tax and compliance policies that are more beneficial to your business. For example, outsourcing companies receive corporate tax exemptions for up to ten years when operating in another country’s free trade or economic zone. Hire these providers for low service fees.
- Recruit skilled international employees. Overseas market expansion can give you access to an affordable workforce diverse in skill, language, and culture for better customer support operations. You need local talent who knows the market and how to deal with consumers who are unfamiliar to you.
Minimized Misunderstandings to Gain Customer Trust
Successfully leveraging language and culture in customer support can improve communication with local consumers, especially when they contact you with product or service issues. Customers can express themselves more clearly by interacting with third-party agents in their native tongue than in English.
Engaging with them in their own language reduces their stress, worries, and uncertainties. Non-English-speaking customers feel at ease when communicating with someone who can understand them, empathize with their concerns, and smoothly address their complaints. This lowers the chances of dissatisfaction, which can hurt your reputation and sales.
Here are some reasons why having successful customer communication is essential:
- Build, retain, and expand revenue. Effective interaction due to the efficient use of local language and culture for customer support can result in more opportunities, referrals, sales, and customers. Gaining customer confidence and respect produces more sales.
- Maintain company or brand image. Communicating properly with current customers lets you keep a good reputation. Irate buyers or customers dissatisfied with your service due to language barriers can ruin your image and generate unfavorable publicity via social media or word of mouth.
- Enhance customer satisfaction. Customers are more likely to be pleased with your goods and services if they feel that your agents understand them. They tend to be more cooperative and patient during issue resolution. When your team exceeds their expectations, they will provide you with favorable feedback.
- Handle expectations efficiently. Interacting clearly with customers allows you to manage their expectations better and avoid potential conflicts in the future. You can reduce unwanted surprises if your third-party team informs them about your business’s terms, conditions, and limitations.
Stronger Competitive Advantage for Long-Term Business Stability
Using local language and culture in customer support enhances your competitive advantage, lets you draw more customers, and improves market share. Knowing the local culture and speaking a shared language during engagement will likely deliver excellent customer satisfaction.
Consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service when they experience great support. In particular, multilingual service significantly enhances buyer journeys. For instance, your Latin American customers will be more likely to purchase products from your website if it has Spanish translations and cultural images.
Consider the benefits of achieving a better competitive advantage:
- Increased market share. Gaining a bigger market portion boosts your brand and company reputation. An enhanced reputation, in turn, can expand the consumer base. A higher market share also means a bigger influence over your industry.
- Higher customer retention. Customers are more inclined to stay with your business due to your effective use of language and culture, which provides high-quality customer support. This commitment can likely result in recurring sales and product or service endorsements by others.
- Better profitability. Businesses with a competitive edge typically perform better financially than market rivals. Bigger profits lead to higher stock prices and shareholder value. You can also share the income with workers to increase morale and productivity for a more stable operation.
- Greater chance of becoming a market leader. Becoming an industry leader gives you solid brand value and status. It allows you to retain your customer base and attract new ones with less difficulty. You can also find better talent, lower financing costs, obtain volume price discounts, and have higher bargaining leverage with potential partners.
Increased Upselling Activities to Lower Acquisition Costs
Properly harnessing language and culture in customer support results in exceptional customer service and satisfaction. Satisfied customers provide more opportunities for upselling.
Upselling is a business strategy that increases sales by convincing current customers to add higher-priced or new products to their shopping carts.
Here are some upselling benefits for your business:
- Raises customer lifetime value (CLV). Upselling is easier than acquiring new customers. It also increases CLV, the total cash a buyer purchases on your product or services throughout the relationship. The higher the CLV, the more agents sell higher-quality and more expensive products and the more efficient your sales are.
- Improves revenue. Upselling can enhance sales by selling higher-priced items. It can improve CLV and average order value (AOV), enabling you to examine your pricing strategy and marketing activities. A higher AOV means sales are better due to upselling.
- Provides convenience and options for customers. Many customers prefer shopping at the same virtual or physical shop rather than at a new site when they want a particular product or service. Customers will not take their chances with an unfamiliar establishment if you can provide them with more options or appropriate add-ons.
Greater Agent Happiness for Better Customer Assistance
Using local language and culture efficiently in customer support benefits clients, end users, and third-party agents. The reason is that happier customers due to great service also make CSRs happier. Mutual relationships likely lead to happiness for both parties. In contrast, irate customers can result in worker stress or worries.
Here are why higher worker happiness is important:
- More satisfied agents are more responsive. CSRs and call center agents are more engaged with customers and more productive. They can maximize the effectiveness of local language and culture in customer support when they are more cooperative, responsive, and positive.
- Happier workers are less stressed. High stress leads to certain emotional and physiological challenges, which results in higher absenteeism. Satisfied agents do not mind arriving at the office on time and doing extra work to serve more customers.
- Lower attrition. Agents providing excellent service through local language and culture during customer support interactions have a sense of accomplishment. They will stay with your company longer because the management and the customers appreciate their contributions.
- Enhanced revenue. Happier workers foster a healthier work environment, advance personal well-being, strengthen office friendships, raise overall morale, and eventually increase revenue. Highly satisfied agents are more creative, diligent, and collaborative, contributing to higher sales.
- More concerned about the business. Satisfied workers know their efforts and performance can make or break your business. As such, they consider their actions more carefully and find ways to help generate more effective plans. This mindset helps them address the organization’s objectives and requirements.
Implementing Local Language and Culture in Customer Support
Below are some effective ways to use language and culture in customer support:
Engage with Customers Concisely and Politely
A situation might emerge where a consumer can only understand simple English words or phrases because they are not fluent. In this case, how can a CSR who is skilled in the language provide the right help?
CSRs should use clear, concise, and polite language to avoid confusion when communicating with customers. The agent should speak carefully and thoroughly to get the message across.
Make Explanations Easy to Understand
Many words in business communication can be intricate and confusing. Customer service is no different. Terms such as “benchmarking,” “net promoter score,” “average response time,” “latency,” and “customer relationship management” are jargon to regular customers.
Use straightforward words from the local language and culture during customer support engagements to ensure callers can understand what agents tell them. Explain everything simply, but avoid condescending or culturally inappropriate words.
For instance, instead of saying “latency,” the agent can say they are experiencing lags and delays because of internet connection problems. Also, do not use abbreviations such as “We need to get your feedback for our CSAT.” Instead, say, “We need your comment to know if you are happy with our service.”
Practice Patience to Understand Customer Issues
Each culture has its own unique way of interacting with and comprehending various situations. CSRs must maintain composure and patience if they cannot assuage callers’ concerns or anger, even when using the local language and culture. The agents must do their best by asking relevant questions to finally grasp their issues.
The customer service team must also show compassion for their customers, regardless of language or background. They should try to understand the customer’s emotional condition and where they are coming from. Always look at the situation from their viewpoint. Determine why the customer is dissatisfied and show genuine empathy to exercise patience and modesty.
Exert Extra Effort to Please Customers
To address language and cultural challenges in customer support, CSRs must exert extra effort to satisfy consumers and make them feel at ease during the conversation. For instance, to clarify whether they understood correctly, agents can say, “If I am not mistaken, your concerns appear to be…?” or “Could you repeat it to me again?”
CSRs must not presume if they do not fully understand the customer’s issue. The callers should also completely comprehend the information they share. Ask open-ended questions such as, “What do you like (or dislike) about our service?” or “Which features do you often use?” to assess the customer’s comprehension.
Use Technology, Visual Guides, and Online Resources
Another way to leverage local language and culture for enhanced customer support is to use visual aids and tools to help consumers better understand instructions, services, or products. Utilizing symbols, diagrams, gestures, or pictures can assist in explaining your points. To improve communication, use free online dictionaries and translators.
Additionally, you can invest in the latest language translation apps. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) programs run in various languages and can also supplement your contact as a service (CCaaS) activities. Similarly, integrating multilingual chatbots and live chat functions on your website helps localize languages and cultures for customer support.
Provide Language, Cultural Awareness, and Crisis Management Training
Workplace language training assists CSRs in learning the language required to successfully interact with consumers. So, hold online language classes and on-site language programs with relevant subjects, such as basic task-related communication and widely used customer service terms.
Organizational and service agent cultural awareness must be fostered and communicated. Offer activities and seminars on cultural literacy to improve communication with customers from various backgrounds and minimize language obstacles.
Lastly, arrange training courses on intercultural crisis management. All CSRs need access to training and tools to help them resolve conflicts that might arise due to their work. Such access allows them to analyze the contact’s habits and customize their responses to the scenario.
These three initiatives help enhance the use of local language and culture in customer support. They also help overcome the different and unfamiliar bilingual or multilingual challenges the third-party team will face.
Adjust Interaction According to Low- and High-Context Cultures
Adjust communication with consumers based on the demographic’s formality to enhance local language and culture for customer support.
Low-context cultures, such as the U.S., have minimal formality levels. They are casual, straightforward, and immediately friendly. In contrast, high-context cultures such as Japan typically observe formalities and rank.
Research and list the countries according to context and culture. Provide the CSRs with a guide containing brief and relevant information on the country each of them serves. For instance, if agents speak with Americans, they should be polite and conversational. When communicating with Japanese executives, they should be more polite and use a more formal tone.
Leveraging Language and Culture for Your Customer Support with a BPO Firm
BPO companies offer different services, including back-office outsourcing and customer service operations, to provide a consistently excellent customer experience and satisfaction.
Consider these essential tips to find the right BPO provider that can help you leverage the local language and culture for better customer support.
Establish Organizational Goals And Needs
Design an extensive outsourcing plan first before teaming up with a service provider. Evaluate business objectives and requirements. List why you plan to outsource data entry services, technical support, or similar processes. Your plan might be to:
- Reach higher sales.
- Establish a more solid market presence in the short term.
- Decrease running costs for more working capital.
- Become agile in coping with unforeseen challenges.
- Enhance brand loyalty for recurring sales.
- Get the best technologies to facilitate operations.
- Concentrate on key strengths to introduce better products or services.
After detailing your plan, decide on the right third-party team size and communication channels to serve customers.
Investigate BPO Companies
Service providers are engaged in different subcontracting operations, such as technical support outsourcing, bookkeeping, medical coding, and billing. Below are a few pointers to help you find the right partner to harness local language and culture for improved customer support:
- Conduct a background check. Get as much information as you can about the potential BPO providers.
- Look into their outsourcing experience and expertise. Know more about their market experience and how many well-known clients they worked with.
- Pick a provider with a bilingual or multilingual third-party team. Hire a company with a team that is fluent in the languages of your market.
- Examine privacy and security measures. Check whether they have the latest security technologies and government-compliant policies.
Request Complete Service Fees
Another way to identify a suitable BPO partner that can use language and culture for excellent customer support is to know their full-service costs. Ask each prospect for detailed rates for outsourced tasks, including hidden or extra costs.
Below are examples of their pricing schemes:
- Transaction-based rates depend on the volume.
- Fixed prices can be monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annual set fees.
- Cost-plus pricing bills you a fixed price regardless of the amount and duration of work.
- Performance-based pricing depends on the third-party team’s performance, measured by key performance indicators (KPIs).
Make a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Selected Candidates
Draft and send an RFP to short-listed BPO providers. An RFP is a regular procedure when outsourcing operations, inviting interested candidates to bid and allowing you to get the most reasonable price.
Choose the provider with the best proposal that can leverage language and culture to improve customer support. Finish the transaction and prepare a service-level agreement (SLA).
An SLA is a formal agreement listing the services the third party will provide. It lays out the rules that both parties must follow and ensures adherence.
Partner with a BPO Firm
Partnering with a dependable BPO company that can effectively use the local language and culture in customer support is crucial.
Look at the advantages of hiring a BPO provider to perform tasks instead of in-house staff:
- Decreased hiring costs. Recruitment is tedious and costly. The BPO partner can staff you with experienced workers.
- Enhanced efficiency. The service provider has the relevant technology and expertise to lower operational mistakes.
- Scalable activities. The third-party provider can offer you the exact team size you need. It can raise or diminish services without interrupting existing operations.
Keep Surveillance on Outsourced Tasks
Monitor the operation, output, and efficiency of your BPO partner with two measurements:
- Quantitative analysis calculates the team’s performance and productivity with KPIs. First call resolution, net promoter scores, average response time, and CSAT are examples of metrics.
- Qualitative analysis refers to the CSR’s knowledge of your products and services. It also includes soft skills (e.g., teamwork, problem-solving, communication abilities, active listening, and creativity).
Technical support and call center calls are among the processes measured by KPIs. Management reviews mainly gauge an agent’s performance.
Maintain and Strengthen BPO Partner Relations
Keeping your business relationship with the service partner to harness the local language and culture for customer support is crucial. It increases your chances of thriving soon. Your BPO partner will help you grow locally and internationally, regardless of the business and economic climate.
Regular communication is required to enhance and strengthen trust between the parties, especially when misunderstandings happen. You can prevent miscommunications and disagreements and address them accordingly. Constant interaction must always occur.
The Bottom Line
Culture and language influence customers’ buying and service preferences. Knowing their culture enables you to efficiently develop service strategies, consistently build a positive consumer experience, earn their loyalty, and ultimately improve revenue.
Similarly, language is key to adjusting your customer service and outsourcing plans in a new market. You can only engage with potential buyers if you use their language properly. That is why nearby countries are good places to outsource.
Let’s connect if you want to learn more about leveraging local language and culture to enhance customer support.