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How Multilingual Answering Services Work

Due to the rise in the US of people who do not speak English as a first language, businesses need to adapt and multilingual answering services can help them stay ahead.

Multilingual Answering Services

More than  20% of people over the age of five living in the United States  do not speak English as a primary language. The success of many businesses like yours depends on being able to communicate with all current customers and potential clients no matter what language they speak. The problem is, you don’t speak all of those languages, so how are you going to handle the people who call your business that don’t speak English?

Perhaps you or someone on your staff speaks a second language. That’s great, but what sort of phone coverage does that provide for non-English speaking callers? Surely not the 24/7 kind. So either you have no way to take calls from people speaking other languages, or you are extremely limited in your ability to handle those calls. That is seriously limiting the number of people you can do business with.

Now it’s time for the good news/bad news. Good news! There are answering services out there that offer multilingual telephone answering support on a 24/7 basis so you can serve each and every one of your callers. And now the bad news. Those answering services don’t actually speak all of those languages. But that’s OK!

Just because they don’t necessarily speak every language under the sun doesn’t mean they can’t do the job you want them to do. The way multilingual answering services work for you is by partnering with a third party translation service to make the magic happen. For example, at Sound Telecom we support dozens of different languages like Mandarin, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Russian, Japanese, and Spanish (we actually handle Spanish in-house, but more on that later).

So how exactly do multilingual answering services work?

There may be other ways out there, but we have found this to be the most successful and cost-efficient way to help you communicate with every caller.

First comes the consultation. You probably aren’t expecting calls from people speaking languages from all over the world. Generally, there are a handful of different languages that you will be getting calls from. For example, you consistently serve clients who speak either English, Mandarin, or Korean. You relay that information to the answering service and they begin setting up your account.

So if the people at the answering service don’t actually speak one of the languages listed, how will they know which language a caller is speaking? This is where the programming of your multilingual account plays a huge role. We set up a quick and simple automated call routing option on the front end of the call. So continuing with our previous example, the auto attendant would say, “Thank you for calling Company X. Please press 1 to speak to someone in English. Press 2 for Mandarin. Press 3 for Korean,” (Of course options 2 and 3 would be spoken in the respective language). Once the caller makes their selection, our highly trained agents bring the appropriate 3rd party translation expert into the conversation.

The answering service agent then facilitates the conversation and gathers the important message and details. They can also answer basic questions the caller may have via the translator if you have provided some form of FAQ script or help them schedule an appointment if necessary. Then. after the call, the agent proceeds to deliver pertinent information to you in English so you can take it from there. It really is that easy.

However, there is a consideration that many companies looking for multilingual answering services fail to take into account. What are you going to do after you receive the message? How are you going to respond to the person who called in speaking Korean? Do you have someone in-house that speaks Korean that can take care of things for you? This is definitely a significant piece that needs to be considered when planning to use a multilingual answering service.

So that is how an answering service becomes multilingual and works for you. But there are some other ways they can help out in the language department without bringing in a third party. Perhaps your answering service is actually a bilingual operation!

Spanish Answering Services

Sometimes you will come across an answering service that specializes in a second language. They have bilingual agents in-house that handle your calls just like the ones in English. By staffing bilingual agents, your answering service not only opens up the audience of callers it can handle for you directly, but it also saves you money in third party translation services.

So which second language would a bilingual call center most likely choose to support? The fastest growing demographic in the country is the Hispanic population. There now over 53 million people in the U.S. who speak Spanish. That number will soon rise to make this the country with the 2nd highest number of Spanish-speakers in the world. Since anyone who intends to operate a successful company can’t overlook the potential of Spanish-speaking customers, a great Spanish answering service will employ agents who speak both English and Spanish fluently to support those businesses.

Bilingual answering services of this variety understand that it is in your best interest to serve a broader population. So they hire the right people to help you communicate with existing customers and expand into new markets as well. After all, that’s what a good answering service is all about: providing great customer service and helping you grow your business.

Operating effectively in both Spanish and English, highly trained bilingual agents are able to do everything your answering service would normally handle without a hitch. 24/7 live operator coverage ensures that you never miss calls or opportunities. Flexible call handling and forwarding allows your calls to be taken, translated, processed and routed based on your specific criteria. Overflow coverage helps you handle peak call volumes with Spanish speaking capabilities. Bilingual service dispatch gets the right people to the right place at the right time. And you get all your messages delivered in your language of choice.

Spanish/English bilingual answering service agents really do make your company more flexible as they empower your business with more potential. And there are no extra steps on your end! Callers who dial in speaking Spanish are quickly identified and put in the capable hands of an available bilingual agent so that each of your calls is handle with the utmost care.

Help your business thrive with a multilingual answering service!

In the end, it doesn’t matter what language your callers speak, because dedicated multilingual answering services can put together a plan for you that takes care of everyone who dials your business. Interested in learning more about our multilingual or Spanish answering services? Contact us today!

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About Andrew Tillery

Born and raised in Oregon, Andrew has now put down roots in Seattle, because he refuses to call anywhere but the Pacific Northwest home. After graduating from Portland State University with a double major in Marketing and Advertising, he spent some time learning Spanish and experiencing all that South America has to offer. It was while he was south of the equator that he uncovered an interest in writing that he strives to develop whenever the opportunity is presented. When Andrew isn't taking care of business at the office, he is throwing fuel on his fiery passions for sports and the outdoors.