The task of a call center can be challenging at the best of times and it can be worse when you are interacting with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. But that does not mean that you can’t effectively carry out your duties at these hard times. Here are some surefire ways in which you can communicate with people from diverse cultural background and be thoughtful about their sentiments:
Active listening will not only help you handle the day-to-day rigors of your call center duty, but will also serve you when you are interacting with people from different culture, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability.
For instance consider the case involving a person on a wheelchair calling you to complain about a package that is delivered to the end of his driveway. Yes, you can’t really help him as the package is already delivered, nevertheless show some empathy, and convey a message that you will do everything at your disposal to help him. And by doing so, the customer will be happy thinking that at least his queries didn’t fall into deaf ears.
2. Ask for clarification
To be culturally sensitive it is vital for you to probe the customer and ask for clarification. This way you will not only get some additional information regarding the case, but you will also be able to provide better care. The customer will also perceive that you are conveying respect by showing interest in whatever he is saying.
But be wary about the number and type of questions you ask. And make it a point not to cross the line.
3. Exercise patience
Yes, it is human nature to get frustrated whenever we listen to someone who isn’t explaining himself clearly or when someone fails to understand your emotion. Bear in mind patience is one of the most basic virtues of a proficient call center agent and when you exercise it, it becomes easy to become empathetic.
For instance when an elderly person with different cultural background and minimal technical skill calls you to seek technical support to operate an electronic device, say television, don’t rush him through the process; rather show some patience. It helps you foster loyalty and build a brand identity.
4. Show Respect
No matter who is on the other end, treat them with respect. After all, you are being paid to provide service, regardless of whom or from what cultural background the customer is.
5. Suggest an Alternate Resolution Style
There can be some instances where you can’t simply provide service or help the caller. This could happen due to language barrier, cultural misunderstanding, or simply because the caller is annoyed with you and no longer wishes to speak with you.
Don’t be upset or take these things to heart. Remember, interpersonal relations can sometimes be too hot to handle. And strive to provide care in whatever ways you can. And if things go out of control, transfer the call to your senior or to a more composed agent in your organization. What you should strive for is provide customers with the help that they seek.
A call center agent’s job is filled with myriad challenges, and these tips are intended not only to help you be culturally sensitive, but also relieve some of the stress involved in your job.
Many of these culture related challenges can be easily overcome by hiring a proficient outsourced service provider like ExpertCallers. We provide elaborate training to our agents with regards to what to say and what not to say to people from certain community. We also encourage our agents to carry out appropriate research regarding the target audience, before they call the customers, which can be particularly helpful in having a healthy agent-customer interaction. For instances, when an agent is calling a married women and he knows that she is of Chinese origin, he can avoid the usage of mistress while addressing her and avoid any potential flair-ups.
We have also put in place appropriate mechanisms that notify managers whenever someone crosses the line. The manager can act upon this notification by interrupting the call or he can opt to act upon it later by educating the agent about the mistake and providing additional training if necessary.