Bilingualism opens many opportunities for call center agents. Those who speak two or more languages tend to receive higher wages and gain more avenues for career growth. It’s also said to enhance the brain’s functions, making bilingual agents more flexible, open-minded, creative, and better at problem-solving. Combined, these skills enable bilingual agents to provide excellent customer service.
However, being fluent in two or more languages doesn’t automatically make someone knowledgeable about various cultures. In customer support, therefore, language skills alone aren’t enough. In addition to knowing how to speak, write, and read at least two languages, bicultural knowledge is of grave importance as well. By familiarizing oneself with culture-specific practices and communication styles, agents can communicate with customers more effectively.
Here are six tips on how to improve your bilingual skills.
1. Immerse yourself in pop culture.
Pop culture, particularly that of a foreign country, offers a multitude of approaches that can help you enhance your bilingualism. Movies, TV shows, and books rendered in the language you’re trying to learn are readily available to help you develop your reading, writing, and listening skills. In addition, these materials will help you learn while keeping the things interesting.
2. Use social media to your advantage.
If you know where to look, social media can be a treasure trove of valid information and new insights. It gives you access to pop culture and international news and allows you to take part in casual conversations with users from all over the world. Thus, if you’re active on the most popular social media sites, it’s not hard to meet someone who’s a native speaker of the language you’re trying to master. You may also join groups of fellow language enthusiasts so you can learn something new from one another.
3. Keep yourself updated.
Knowing what’s currently happening in the country where your customers are from can help you relate to them better, which leads to more productive interactions. Thus, always update yourself about recent events in foreign countries. News websites and other resources are readily available on the Internet anyway. You may also set up email alerts for certain topics so you can get updates straight from your inbox.
4. Revisit your language training modules.
If you’ve previously undergone language training sessions, do revisit your manuals or modules from time to time. Review the lessons you’ve learned and check if you’ve been able to observe proper grammar, pronunciation, and intonation. You may also take refresher courses or advanced language courses to expand your expertise.
5. Practice, practice, practice.
Of course, it’s necessary to constantly practice speaking, writing, and reading in your second language. If possible, you should try to converse in this language even outside work hours. This way, you’ll be able to learn how to converse using this language in a more casual setting. This makes it easier for you to adapt to the communication style of a native-speaking client.
6. Listen to your own recordings.
If the call center you’re working for records your transactions, make it a habit to listen to your own conversations regularly. That way, you can evaluate how well you’re speaking a language. From there, you can make adjustments to improve your bilingual skills.