Providing customers with a combination of great products and exceptional service is a key to the success of any company, and in order to do so, you need to speak their language, figuratively and literally. We live in a multicultural world, and it would be unwise for business owners not to meet their customers on their own turf, which would cause a significant loss of business and a bad reputation.

With a rapidly-growing Hispanic population, the US has become the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico, and according to Forbs Magazine and other multiple sources, over 13% of the population in the United States speak Spanish at home. 

There are multiple reasons for a business to provide bi-lingual support, such as better comfort level of the customers, expansion of the base, good reputation, and increased efficiency. If your company is using the automated menu, it is easy to include an additional language option so the callers can simply press the appropriate key for Spanish or any other language you offer. However, for the businesses that use a live answering service, the responsibility of finding out what language the caller would like to speak falls onto the shoulders of the phone agent. But how to determine the caller’s preferred language without offending them? While there is no specific recipe that one can follow, there are a few things agents need to keep in mind.


  • Your voice matters. Any question, even the most direct one, asked politely will not offend the customer, and the tone of voice will play a significant role here. Polite words alone might not be enough; the voice has to support them with an empathetic intonation. 


  • Listen carefully. Most of the time, just by listening, you can determine if the caller needs to switch from English to another language.


  • Don’t assume. If you realize that the caller is not a native English speaker, even though their preferred language most likely would be Spanish, it might not be. Jumping to a conclusion is not advisable.


  • Ask politely. If you realize that the caller is not fluent in English, you can ask an indirect question such as “Would you prefer to continue the call in English?” This way, you will not be pointing out the imperfections in their knowledge of English and also won’t have to ask if Spanish is indeed their preferred language.


  • Be efficient. If the caller indicates that they would like to switch to a different language, follow the protocol for putting them on hold and transfer to your bi-lingual division as soon as possible. 


  • Add a classy touch. It would be helpful if all agents within the call center learned one or two appropriate sentences in the language your company supports to make the transfer sound even more professional.


To find out more about our bi-lingual nationwide answering service, please do not hesitate to call us at 888-588-9800. Answering365 is always here to help, and our operators are standing by 24/7.