In an increasingly connected world, cultural competence is becoming more and more crucial for brands wishing to expand their reach. This is also why there’s been a consistent rise in multilingualism in workplaces. The capability to speak multiple tongues allows companies to build relationships with their target markets despite geographical and cultural differences.
Some businesses partner with a bilingual call center to penetrate diverse markets. By doing so, they’re able to provide high-quality customer service that transcends lingual gaps.
However, multilingualism alone isn’t enough. You need to invest time, energy, and resources to make sure that your customer support provider can keep up with consumers’ demands. For international brands, this means training employees to be culturally sensitive so they can effectively interact with customers.
Below are five tips that will help you as you build and launch a cultural sensitivity training program for call center agents.
1. Set specific objectives.
Setting objectives is easy, but how do you know if you’re targeting the right goals?
When it comes to employee training, your learning objectives must reflect your staff’s needs. Don’t focus on what they already know; rather, address the areas employees aren’t that knowledgeable about.
To identify agents’ training needs, have them take a diagnostic test or ask them about the topics, skills, or techniques they want to learn.
2. Tackle even the smallest details.
To be truly culturally sensitive, agents need to completely understand the customers’ background. This means you have to orient them about the unique practices, traditions, and communication nuances that are specific to a particular culture. Tackling even the smallest details will give them an in-depth look at the lifestyle and preferences of every single consumer. This will allow them to personalize the customer experience and deliver better customer service.
3. Focus on communication styles.
Different cultures subscribe to different communication styles. For instance, Westerners generally prefer straightforward conversations with assertive people, whereas most Asians value politeness and sensitivity.
These principles may not apply to everyone from a certain cultural background, but they’ll give agents a good idea on how to communicate effectively in a highly diverse setting.
More importantly, however, it’s important to train agents to be more flexible. They must be able to gauge a customer’s emotions and moods so they can adjust their communication style accordingly.
4. Use a combination of learning strategies.
Your agents have varying learning styles. Some may approach a new topic by reading about it first and studying the concepts involved, while others learn through demonstrations or by doing the task themselves.
Your cultural sensitivity training program must take this into account. Thus, you should use a variety of learning strategies by making every training session as dynamic as possible. Use different techniques such as concept-focused discussions, roleplaying, debates, or brainstorming to account for everyone’s preferences.
5. Monitor and evaluate agents’ progress.
Devise a way to track and measure your agents’ progress. You may do so by administering written and practical exams. This lets you determine whether you’ll be able to achieve the objectives of the training program. Depending on the results, you may need to conduct additional coaching sessions to make sure that every single one of your customer service reps can satisfy the company’s standards.