Modern technologies such as the telephone, the internet, and social media have rapidly globalized business and other ventures. A few decades ago, a small business was likely to have a customer based comprised mostly of people who lived or worked nearby. But now, any type of business is expected to handle international customers and to be able to provide service or products to a wider audience.
And of course, we can’t forget that the world’s population is quickly becoming much more culturally diverse. In fact, minorities have become the fastest-growing consumer group in the US. If a business wants to thrive and grow, they need to be prepared to offer multicultural customer service.
We have compiled some of the best tips to create a truly multicultural customer service experience.
Tip #1. Understand your customer base.
It’s not enough to know that you have a diverse customer base. There are thousands, if not millions, of different cultures, languages and ethnicities around the world. Each group of people has different beliefs, traditions, and priorities.
You can’t, for example, expect to use the same strategies for Latin, Asian, and American audiences. What works for one of these groups may not work for the other two, because they behave differently and look for different things from a business.
This means that it is extremely important to understand exactly where your customers come from. Do some research and learn who is using your services. You could respectfully ask customers to fill out an online form, indicating that it will help you provide better service.
This information may not sound vital, but it can help you develop a positive relationship with each customer You will also be able to better understand how to communicate effectively, making your customers feel valued and taken into account.
Tip #2. Create social media profiles and marketing campaigns that are friendly to multiple cultures.
Different cultures find different things funny, interesting, helpful, or offensive. A social media post may seem innocuous to someone but offensive to someone else, depending on their cultural background.
You can also use this information to increase your business’ engagement on social media. For example, you may notice that many of your customers practise a certain religion. You can use your social media or newsletters to congratulate your customers or wish them a happy holiday when appropriate.
Tip #3. Rethink how you communicate with your customers.
It’s easy to underestimate how difficult it can be for someone from a different culture to understand us. We take our expressions, accent, and cultural bias for granted. But when someone from a different culture tries to communicate effectively with us, it can be very difficult for them to get their message across. This negative experience can be very frustrating for a customer who wants to hire your services or acquire your products.
Instead, aim for a neutral language. Try to avoid expressions, sayings, or metaphors that other cultures are unlikely to understand, and keep your messages simple and streamlined. This policy should include all aspects of your business, from social media, to customer service, and during appointments or events.
Tip #4. Make sure you offer bilingual customer service.
When a potential customer calls your business, they are trying to get information about the services or products you offer. If English isn’t their first language, they will probably have a much easier time speaking to someone who can understand their mother tongue. When a caller is unable to communicate effectively with your customer service operators, they may not be able to solve all their doubts. This, in turn, could motivate them to look for another alternative.
Being able to offer bilingual customer service can give you a great advantage over your competitors. But hiring on-site call center operators that can speak multiple languages can cost a lot of money. A virtual answering service could provide the perfect solution; these services work with operators from all around the world who can speak many different languages. Your customers will be able to talk to someone who understands them perfectly.
Tip #5. Learn more about your customers’ cultures.
Each culture comprises many different elements. Different cultural groups spend money differently, celebrate different things, and are interested in different services. Once you know who your customers are, it’s time to do some research on their culture. This will help you be respectful of their norms, engage with your customers, and create content that they enjoy.
Make sure you understand the cultural norms that predominate in your customer base. Then, create a business image that is respectful of these norms. You can also learn more about the things they enjoy, and link these patterns to your business’ products, services, or information.