5 Reasons why BPO employees must learn a foreign language

diverse call center team attending to calls
If you’re serious about pursuing a profession in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, you must continuously hone your skills and cultivate new ones. One of the best ways to do this is to learn, practice, and become perfectly fluent in a foreign language.

Apart from giving your resume a boost, learning a new language can do wonders for your entire customer support career. Bilingualism, therefore, doesn’t only get you through the door. More importantly, it allows you to develop a whole range of skills that would allow you to execute your tasks more effectively.

As backed by science, here are the five biggest benefits of learning a new language.


1.     It diversifies your skill set.

office employee using laptop with multiple hands

As plenty of brands aim to take on the international market, their customer service needs are also evolving. Thus, to allow these brands to mobilize new markets, a lot of call centers have started to deliver their services in several languages. This lets them connect with multicultural customers without lingual differences getting in the way.

To be able to adapt to these transformations, customer support agents must learn to speak a foreign tongue. Some of the languages that are in demand right now include Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian.


2.     It improves your multitasking skills.

asian employee with multiple arms showing multitasking

Scientific evidence indicates that bilingual adults are efficient multitaskers. They can focus on important information and keep track of several ongoing activities at once without committing a lot of errors. This is because they’re better at ranking tasks according to priority than monolinguals.

This comes in handy for call center agents, as they often work on several tasks at once. Therefore, bilingual agents are generally better at juggling multiple activities and producing high-quality outputs compared with monolingual employees.


3.     It makes you more culturally aware.

young people in colorful clothes doing work

Although bilingualism isn’t synonymous to biculturalism, it may serve as a gateway to learning more about a foreign culture. Thus, more and more call centers are requiring their agents to build both cultural awareness and sensitivity. This ensures that agents can communicate effectively with customers regardless of the latter’s race, background, or location.


4.     It allows you to communicate more effectively.

diverse business team holding hands together in teamwork cooperation

According to the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association, bilinguals generally have better listening and communication skills than monolinguals, enabling them to connect with other people at a meaningful level. If you’re bilingual, therefore, there’s a great chance that you already have the skills needed to enhance customer interactions and gain people’s trust. You’re also more likely to be open-minded and empathic. These are qualities that would let you fully understand customers and their concerns.

Aside from this, however, being able to speak two or more languages is great for intercultural communication. This means agents can talk not only to English-speaking customers but also to those from a different cultural background.


5.     It sharpens your problem solving skills.

man holding half smiley on paper on face

Studies after studies have found that bilingualism bolsters the cognitive process. The brains of those who can speak two or more languages function differently from their monolingual counterparts, and this significantly enhances one’s mental capacity in many ways.

Among the benefits are sharper memory, more accurate perception, and better decision making. All these are essential for customer support reps who regularly have to attend to customer issues that need to be fixed immediately. With these aptitudes, you can analyze complex problems and identify effective solutions without much difficulty.