With over 400 million speakers, Spanish ranks as the second most widely spoken language worldwide. It’s one of the six official languages of the United Nations and is considered the official language of several international organizations including the European Union.
The Spanish market is therefore a vast one, well-distributed across many points in the globe. This makes it an attractive demographic for entrepreneurs. Most brands that target this sector thus partner with bilingual call centers that offer Spanish services. By offshoring their customer support to external providers, brands can build rapport with their Spanish clientele. They must make sure, however, that their vendor hires only the best customer service agents.
The problem is, some recruiters may be prone to believing misconceptions about bilingual customer service agents. They may automatically expect bilingual applicants to be highly creative and to have an improved cultural understanding, but this may not always be the case.
Here are three common myths about bilingual professionals that contact center recruiters must be aware of.
1. Bilinguals are effective communicators.
Contact centers must not have a blind faith on their bilingual agents and assume that they won’t require strict screening and hands-on training. Every agent must be trained well not just in terms of the technical side of customer service. Rather, they must also harness their communication skills.
Bilinguals may be fluent in two languages but that doesn’t automatically make them good communicators. They must be able to listen actively, empathize with callers, and foster meaningful bonds with the customers they talk to.
2. Excellent verbal skills are the only requirement.
For bilingual call center agents, Spanish language proficiency shouldn’t be limited to verbal communication. Customer support providers must employ agents who can also write well in Spanish to increase productivity. There will be instances when agents will be required to talk to clients through written correspondence. At times, company records and documents may also need to be translated to Spanish, which would require advanced comprehension and analytical skills.
3. They understand business jargon.
It’s easy to assume that native Spanish speakers will find it easy to handle business or technical jargon. Indeed, learning these terms and using them correctly during conversations may come easy for some contact center agents. However, this isn’t always the case, especially since understanding jargon requires a certain level of exposure to a particular field or industry. Thus, call centers must include this in their training programs as well.