The Growing Need for Multilanguage Customer Support

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) has released The Growing Need for Multilanguage Customer Support Research Report & Best Practices Guide, a composition guide to multilanguage support.

Customers today are more diverse than ever, and their support expectations are at an all-time high. It’s near impossible for an organization to meet those expectations if their customer service agents are unable to understand and relate to a large segment of their customer base. So how do companies adapt and grow to provide an optimum experience?

Making multilanguage support a priority is the first step.

In response, ICMI decided to conduct a research survey in the fourth quarter of 2013. This new research, along with other current ICMI data, provides contact center professionals the ingredients they need to create or refine their multilanguage strategy in 2014.

With more than 70% reporting that providing support in a customer’s native language increased their satisfaction with customer support and 58% said it increased loyalty to the organizations brand.

“Most people don’t realize that there are over 300 languages frequently spoken within the United States!” said Sarah Stealey Reed, Content Director, ICMI. “That means there is a high likelihood that you have customers who are not native English speakers. You need to consider their experience when they need your help. How will they communicate with your support team? And how will your agents feel when they are unable to help customers? It’s an incredibly frustrating experience for both the English-speaking agent and the non-English speaking customer. Companies that provide multilanguage support see improvements in customer loyalty and agent satisfaction!”

The rigorous study had 443 respondents (primarily executives, directors and managers) from every major industry in both the U.S. and abroad. Findings from the study were compiled and analyzed by ICMI’s research team.

The results showed:

  • 86% of contact centers report having non-English speaking customers
  • Only 66% have formal customer support options in a language other than English
  • Over half realize that offering support in a customer’s native language is a competitive differentiator
  • 72% said support in a customer’s native language increased their satisfaction with customer support, while 58% said it increased loyalty to the brand
  • 58% said their internal agent productivity and efficiency improved once they partnered with a language interpretation service
  • Over 70% said their multilingual customers were positively impacted by having language interpretation services

“Just the idea of providing multilanguage support is daunting for most contact center leaders,” continues Stealey Reed. “That’s where language interpretation services come in! You get the benefit of multiple languages without the hiring, training, and implementation challenges. And the best part? Research shows that good interpreters have a positive effect on customer satisfaction scores and give the organization a competitive edge!”

The Growing Need for Multilanguage Customer Support Research Report & Best Practices Guide provides guidance to develop a multilanguage strategy and gives suggestions on how to best utilize language interpretation services. Also included is an ICMI Expert Spotlight accompaniment with real-life casestudies in Multilanguage Support in the Contact Center from Sean Hawkins and Brooks Webb, of Contact Center Weekly.

Finally, watch ICMI’s latest webinar that reviewed the research findings titled Any Time? Any Place? Any Language! Implementing Multilanguage Support to Enhance the Customer Experience (aired February 13, 2014).

About ICMI

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) is the leading global provider of comprehensive resources for customer management professionals — from frontline agents to executives — who wish to improve customer experiences and increase efficiencies at every level of the contact center. Since 1985, ICMI has helped more than 50,000 organizations in 167 countries through training, events, certification, consulting, and informational resources. ICMI’s experienced and dedicated team of industry insiders, trainers, and consultants are committed to helping you raise the strategic value of your contact center, optimize your operations and improve your customer service. For more information, visit ICMI is a part of UBM (, a global live media and B2B communications, marketing service and data provider.

About the Sponsor

Voiance Language Services, LLC is a leading Phone Interpretation provider to contact centers. Operating a network of secure interpreter contact centers with over 1,000 seats, Voiance offers 24/7 Phone Interpretation in over 200 languages, Translation and Localization in over 100 Languages, and Video Remote Interpretation. Voiance’s parent company CyraCom International, Inc. has been in business since 1995 and is the largest provider of Phone Interpretation with operations solely in the United States.