Many brands outsource to call centers in Asia, which means there’s a high demand for customer support reps in this location. The need to fill this increasing workforce requirement, however, shouldn’t be an excuse for outsourcing companies to employ agents who don’t have the right skill sets.
For instance, employees in bilingual firms such as Chinese call centers must have excellent linguistic skills. They must understand the intonations, tones, and pronunciations specific to Chinese languages to ensure that they can respectfully and correctly converse with clients. This can facilitate clear and effective cross-cultural communication.
Thus, many Chinese outsourcing providers design their training programs to include not just proper call handling but also language coaching. They familiarize agents on the different language variations or dialects so they can smoothly communicate with Chinese customers. Often, they also implement accent training sessions, as adopting the accent of native speakers can enhance the clarity of conversations. Thus, it can also improve the quality of interactions.
But is it truly necessary?
While accent training does contribute to a positive customer experience, it’s not the sole solution to improving agents’ performance. And thus, it also can’t guarantee your bilingual call center’s success.
What customers really want when they reach out to you is to be provided with the right information. And this ability to supply customers with relevant, effective solutions is a skill that has nothing to do with accent mastery. Although some customers may prefer agents who can fluently speak their language and adopt their accent, what they’re really after is a productive, resolution-oriented conversation.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you can completely leave accent training out of your coaching session. There could be instances when accent differences can make it hard for customers to understand an agent, and as much as possible, you should avoid these situations. It can result to misunderstandings and may get in the way of problem resolution.
Overall, trainers should still continue to hone agents’ lingual skills, and part of that is accent training. However, the more critical aspect that outsourcing companies need to pay attention to is the quality of customer service they provide. This is founded on each agent’s cross-cultural communication skills, product knowledge, and conflict resolution abilities. Zeroing in on one aspect alone, such as accent training, can take your focus away from the other prerequisites to an excellent customer experience.