How to Overcome Language Barriers in Customer Care

by Matt Murray

The world is turning into a global village and this has a major impact on business. Customer care has become increasingly difficult when it comes to language barriers. As a business owner, the dream is to grow on an international scale, but it also brings its challenges, especially when it comes to customer care.

No longer can you have a local and mono-lingual team that means the call center. You need to have strategies in place to deal with language barriers. Here are a couple of tips on how to overcome these language barriers.

Have the right tools at hand

One of the main tools you need to have is a comprehensive business phone system. provides solutions for all types of businesses with everything from virtual phone numbers to apps that enable you to turn your phone or pc into a mobile call center.

When you have these tools, you maximize your communication potential and opportunities to overcome language barriers. When a phone call does not work for you, then an instant messaging system might do the trick.

Otherwise, conversations can be recorded and translated. This will enable you to get the message right the first time, instead of wasting time on inaccurate interpretations.

Go the extra mile

Client service personnel are crucial to your business and selecting the right person for the job should be a top priority. When it comes to language barriers, many operators pass the buck and the client ends up getting frustrated.

When you have a properly trained operator, they will go out of their way to help the customer. They do not just say that they will phone back. They make a point of phoning back with at least one possible solution to a problem. This takes extreme dedication and hard work, but you will win many customers in the process as word will spread about the decent service.

Do not over-complicate things

Business and technical jargon is one of the major language barriers in business, especially when some part of it is outsourced. There are cases where terms are so confusing that mother-tongue speakers can get a message wrong. It is your job to keep things as simple as possible.

Where technical language is involved, you should be able to put it in layman's terms. A good idea is to have a customer repeat what they have heard and how they understood what you said. This enables you to fish out the communication gaps and clarify any misunderstandings before they get out of hand.

Selecting the right medium of communication

When it comes to language barriers, it also includes physical barriers, not just the language itself. No one is going to get any results when the wrong medium of communication is used.

A blind person will never be able to get helped properly with written or text-based communication just as a deaf person will not benefit from audio communication. Before you set out to assist your customers, it is a good idea to establish which mode of communication they prefer. Once this channel is clear, then the rest becomes much easier.

Be patient

Customers who have problems can sometimes be unreasonable, but this is not for you to debate. Rather, you need to be patient and allow the customer to vent. Once all the cards are on the table and the entire problem is displayed, only can you communicate effectively.

It often happens that problems escalate because assumptions are made and communication breaks down. Misunderstandings can be overcome when you are patient in listening to the full extent of the query and slowly working towards a solution.


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