The impact of language and accent barriers on customer satisfaction during call centre conversations is significant. If customers and agents aren’t able to communicate effectively due to linguistic differences, then misunderstandings and frustrations arise on both sides.
This is why having access to multilingual agents is so important: in a world of global industry and connections, language should not be a barrier to doing great business. However, BPOs should now be adopting methods to allow speakers and listeners of second languages to thrive in crowded or noisy environments.
What this article will cover:
See why a multilingual approach is more powerful than ever.
Learn where the room for improvement within multilingual BPOs lies.
Consider other practical benefits that voice isolation technology like IRIS Clarity can bring.
Linguistic intelligence beats artificial intelligence
BPOs with multilingual capacity are a valuable and inclusive service for businesses, especially considering a study by Common Sense Advisory found that 72.4% of consumers are more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. This figure won’t be surprising for those operating within the customer satisfaction realm. However, with this sort of data endorsing multilingual offerings, it is easy for customer experience leaders to rest on their laurels, and assume that all linguistic obstacles have been addressed.
Whilst a lot of recent technological advances focus on predictive AI built to streamline customer experience and relieve call centre staff of live calls (often via the medium of chatbot-esque platforms), McKinsey found the shift to self-service channels lacking in utility. The reason for this was that many businesses found that the vast majority of digital customer contacts still required agent assistance. Live agents still matter and a movement to improve their linguistic efficacy is gaining momentum.
Technology that seeks to replace call centre conversations threatens to devalue brands’ authenticity. This is no small risk. A 2022 Stackla survey shows that 88% of consumers are more likely to buy or engage with a company if they feel that it is authentic. Voice accent replacement technologies and AI chatbots are impressive in theory, but fail to hit this authentic note (with many finding them off-putting). Companies should begin instead to put their investment into technology that enables agents to build trust through genuine and clear conversation.
Next steps for multilingual BPOs
Despite all the pros for multilingual BPOs, it is undeniable that there is much room for improvement. There is still more to be done in terms of bridging the communication gap when second languages, accents and dialects are considered. A Statista survey noted that out of the following features for voice call assistants, 81% of consumers worldwide ranked “understanding diction and accent” as top of their list of requirements.
The need for creating an environment in which both the listener and caller can understand each other with ease is paramount. The science is clear here, too. The Noise and Health Journal published a report entitled “The effect of background noise on speech perception in monolingual and bilingual adults with normal hearing” in 2021, which took two groups of adult listeners with typical hearing: one group was monolingual British and the other bilingual Arabic for whom English was a second language. A quick speech-in-noise (QuickSIN) test was used to assess signal-to-noise ratio and perception for both groups with background noise. The results were that the bilingual group displayed comparable perception loss to that observed for a person with hearing loss.
Such loss of perception (either on the agent’s or the customer’s part) is certainly not good news for BPOs. Technology like IRIS Clarity that eliminates background noise and distractions, allowing second language speakers the space to concentrate, addresses the problem in its entirety. Authenticity is gained through real human conversation, language preferences are met, and accent obstacles are removed.
The further benefits of a voice isolation tool
Enhanced customer satisfaction through easier communication will bring many benefits to companies, including increased trust, conversion rate and greater ROI.
On top of these, greater call clarity will make transcription software used for a variety of processes like speech analytics, tagging calls for insights, and Quality Assurance easier to use. An Evaluagent article discussing how accurate transcriptions need to be in practice, highlighted how background noise is bound to disrupt transcription: “No matter how good your transcription software is, there will always be inaccuracies,” says David. “Perhaps the machine picked up background noise or the agent spoke too fast.” Removing the disruption of background noise will only make for easier, more accurate recording.
For more information on how IRIS Clarity can work for you and your BPO, get in touch today.