Call Centers Offer Bilingual Choices and Create New Opportunities

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Being bilingual means having the ability to use two languages with equal fluency. Are companies hiring bilingual customer service representatives? Some companies do try to provide call center jobs with bilingual staff to accommodate clients. However, the reason for bilingual job opportunities is a new business in the market which provides a service to companies that make it possible to communicate with clients without staffing the bilingual employees. How is this accomplished? The new business services are provided by call center listings. One owner of a call center explains how they do it.

“We enhance our clients’ ability to communicate with their customers in their preferred language at a cost that is significantly less than that of traditional translation services. We treat callers with the respect that our clients expect by addressing them in their preferred language. It is simply another option, no more or less attractive than allowing a customer to email, mail, or call in for customer service.

There are many staffing models for bilingual call centers. Is English your center’s primary or secondary language? And is English the primary or secondary language for your clients? Do you talk to callers in their native language and then communicate with your client in English or in a different language?

All of these things affect how you recruit, train, and perform quality assurance on your bilingual staff. Our model is that English is the first language in our center and the first language of most of our clients. Our policy manual and computer skills training are in English. These choices will influence the culture and business practices at your call center.'' (1)

There are two key items of importance in a bilingual call center. The native language must be English and the staff must be as fluent in the second language as he or she is in English. This is determined during an interview. The second key to working in an office with bilingual staff is understanding the culture. For example, a staff person is Spanish and calls to cancel for work that day. In the Spanish culture family comes first and that custom must be honored. The owner says it works better to understand these cultural differences.

Bilingual jobs are hot right now and are expected to continue to be in demand as the Spanish-speaking population continues to grow.

The average rate per hour to work in a bilingual call center starts at $12 and ranges up to $14 per hour. Jobs are available all over the country. The first call center business was in Chicago, Illinois, which has been servicing business there for 17 years.

Bilingual call centers are big business and they are marketing services online. In fact, one service was offering a free month to businesses that wanted to try the bilingual service for their non-English speaking customers. There are other languages provided through the services. Some centers call their business service multilingual.

More companies are employing bilingual call center representatives to be the direct point of contact for non-English speaking clients. Responsibilities include language interpretation, especially for VIP clients. Some companies hire multilingual staff who can handle transactions and inquiries over the phone. The goal for sale representatives is to handle all inquires and complaints with one phone call as often as they can. Otherwise, the representatives take notes and make sure they are forwarded to the appropriate person.

Other requirements for a bilingual customer service representative include:
  • Extensive use of telephones and computers. There is often a need, for example, to access a troubleshooting database to immediately solve client problems.
  • For inquiries, the agent will have to access the company’s database regarding the products, services, or account information.
  • All of these things are done during the given conversation, so it is imperative for an agent to be great at multitasking so he or she can perform his or her job well.
The work environments for primary call center employment or bilingual call center agents are usually crowded and noisy. Things can become uncomfortable when the agents are taking too many calls and too many complicated problems in a single day, but all of that is part of the job. People who are interested in pursuing a career in this industry need to be resilient to work pressures to perform well. Also, effective stress management skills are imperative in this job. At times, agents will be required to work extra hours when necessary. Holidays and weekends may even be work days. In addition to that, call center jobs are usually done in shifts—morning, evening, and late-night shifts. The great thing about bilingual call center agent jobs, though, is that their salaries are great. Call center agents usually employ a significant volume of workers who enjoy mid-range annual incomes with adequate benefits'' (2).

Call centers bring customers and businesses together, at the same time creating new jobs in the marketplace. For some businesses the ability to speak to international clients allows their business to cross country boundaries when language presented a problem. Other businesses have increased sales and established better customer relationships with the ability to answer the client at the point of contact. A small idea can change business in the blink of and eye. We tip our hats to the bilingual call center work for customer representatives.

(1) “What does it Mean to be a Bilingual Call Center?'' Michele M. Ringwood, Pronto Connections.
(2) “Qualifying for Bilingual Call Center Jobs,'' Trust CallCenterCrossing, Feb, 2009.
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Popular tags:

 customers  English-speaking  English  computer skills  customer service representatives  callers  call center business  plans

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