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Customer experience is suffering as call centers expand their global footprint and try to serve customers of all languages. Reaching out to customers of all languages is a challenge call center service providers are struggling to surmount, says a joint study by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) and Lionbridge Technologies.

Currently 79 percent of contact centers have customers who are not native speakers of the primary language(s) that they serve. This is a large concern, because the importance of language will see an increase over the next three years, with nearly 52 percent of contact centers expecting their volume of non-primary language communications to increase over the coming years.

When providing customer support, language is perhaps the most important component to have control over. The ability to properly and effectively communicate with the customer is crucial. Therefore, the Institute suggests that call centers should adopt omni-lingual strategies to support the growing language diversity and heightened consumer expectations.

“As our world grows closer and more connected, the importance of delivering service that is personal, comprehensive and easy for a customer to understand could not be greater,” says said Justin Robbins, ICMI Community Director and report author. “What is more essential to a great customer service experience than the language in which we deliver it?”

Explaining how language is affecting the productivity and success of contact centers, the report argues that organizations can provide better service across any contact channel with more comprehensive language resources.

Today, nearly 20 percent of contact centers do not even measure the quality of their non-primary language contacts. “If we don’t measure quality, it is impossible to manage it effectively,” says the Institute.

The report, one of the biggest studies conducted on how contact centers support languages, dives into how language is affecting the productivity and success of contact centers.

“With voice giving way to self-service and agent-assisted digital channels, contact centers should evolve their language support,” said Tom Tseki, VP & GM, GeoFluent and Customer Care Solutions, Lionbridge. “Providing over-the-phone interpretation as the primary multilingual support option is no longer effective and positions brands as laggards in terms of CX.”

The report, according to the Institute, is comprised of responses from 526 professionals from every role and level in contact centers and customer service organizations.