Today’s world is globalized thanks to the wonders of technology. We can talk to people from any continent in real-time. We can even use video technology to speak and see individuals from thousands of miles away. Along with this wondrous ability comes the need to be culturally sensitive as a business.
Every culture has its own faux pas and rules, which is part of what constitutes a group in society as a culture. As a customer service provider, it is essential to provide culturally appropriate contact center services. In lieu of this, here are 4 essential multicultural customer service tips to help your business.
The first step to take is to research your target market. In order to identify any possible multicultural concerns, you have to know about the cultures that you will be interacting with. Look at your customer demographic to understand the most common cultures within particular customer segments.
This data can easily be sourced by looking at the full names of customers, as well as at their residential locations. For instance, most major cities and many small towns have neighborhoods where individuals and families from certain countries reside, such as the former Chinatown neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona.
If you have a large subset of other cultures you definitely want to do your research. Find out the interests of the culture in relation to your business. For example, does the culture love a particular sport? In Hispanic households, for instance, soccer is a major sport that could be a lead-in point for a customer service conversation. Also, take note of the most common languages spoken by each of these cultures.
At this point you can determine which languages you need to offer customer support in. One way to identify different cultures is by asking customers to fill out an information sheet when they establish a new business relationship with your company. Ask if they would like to provide demographics, such as race or ethnicity, noting that this is not a requirement by federal law so customers do not have to answer this question. You can also ask customers to indicate their primary language on the survey. Make sure to tell the customer why you need this information, i.e. for your customer service agents. By showing that you are interested in providing the best customer service possible by being culturally appropriate you will hopefully increase the trust of your customers.
Let’s continue in the line of language, since that is the primary focus for any customer service team. Give your customers an opportunity to choose their native language when calling into your customer service department. By offering their own language as an option while waiting to be connected to a representative, you show that you have considered the customer’s needs.
You are also providing the customer with the best ability to receive service. Whether customers are calling in for a complaint or with a question about a product they need to be understood for effective service. To be able to offer this language variability to customers, consider the use of an automated answering service.
Use an automated answering service that allows customers to share their language preferences. This allows your customer service providers to understand any language barriers before they interact with a customer. This is an essential element of providing exceptional customer service.
Thanks again to technology, most importantly the Internet, you can learn about differences in cultures from all over the world. Spending some time researching the cultures predominate to your customer service area will help you in the long run. Provide this knowledge to your customer service team so to minimize the risk of accidentally offending a customer. Your goal is to avoid insulting, angering or offending your customers. Cultural norms, such as answering the phone with “hello” or using a certain tone of voice, are key to providing culturally sensitive customer service. Without this knowledge you can lose an entire subsection of your customer population within a certain cultural background due to your lack of knowledge.
One way to show that your business understands the cultural differences of its customers is through social media. How? Start by posting content on your business’s social media profiles that is culturally appropriate. This could be content that is based on holidays or religious beliefs. It might even include culturally appropriate videos, jokes or anecdotes. The point is to share content that will resonate with the cultural values of your customer. Where do you find such content? Revert back to the research of the culture you want to reach. Use this to locate websites, bloggers, YouTube videos, and social media profiles from people who share the same culture. From here you can share viral videos, highlight popular bloggers, or link to relevant information on websites that will interest the cultural audience. Conclusion
All of this research and time spent on multicultural customer service experiences will help your business to be more culturally appropriate. In the end customers will be satisfied and come away from each call service experience with the knowledge that your business truly cares. When it comes to keeping your business in the black in this globalized economy, showing you care is key. Businesses that go the extra mile to make their customers happy and satisfied will always be ahead of the competition. After all, without your customers your business is a bust. If you are ready to become more culturally aware with your customer service offerings, we are here to help. Come explore our free customer service evaluation to determine how effective your customer service is for your business needs.