If you’re a small business owner hoping to broaden your customer base, appealing to Spanish speakers may be a sound move. The United States is home to 41 million native Spanish speakers and an additional 11 million who are bilingual. Businesses in states with higher concentrations of Spanish-speakers, like California and Texas, likely understand the value of having a bilingual staff. But gaining customers is about more than speaking the same language—a quality customer experience is critical. And what if you’re not yet confident in your ability to converse with customers in Spanish, but you’d like to move in that direction—what’s the best way to get started?
For businesses with and without bilingual team members, the path to creating great experiences for Spanish-speaking customers begins at the same place: the first impression, which often takes place over the phone. Employing these three habits can help turn Spanish-speaking callers into happy customers.
Be responsive. Getting to the phone isn’t always easy, especially amid the demands of a growing business. To establish connections with new customers, however, a live answer is a must. First-time callers are likely to hang up if they reach voicemail or an automated system instead of a live person. And if your voicemail or automated message is recorded in English, the odds that Spanish-speaking callers will stay on the line or leave a message is slim. Aim for live answering during business hours, or consider investing in Spanish-language options for your voicemail or automated system at a minimum.
Be enthusiastic. Take the time to craft a friendly telephone greeting, so callers immediately know you’re happy they chose to connect with your business. Do you need to greet callers in Spanish? That depends. If the majority of your callers speak English, it probably makes sense to greet callers in English—just be sure to get your phone answering team on the same page with a strategy for Spanish-speaking callers. At a basic level, that means an understanding of where to route callers who speak Spanish. But if you advertise in Spanish, it’s sensible to greet those callers in Spanish—otherwise, they may be taken aback. If you publish ads in English and Spanish, it may be best to set up separate phone numbers for each, and greet callers accordingly. (Sound interesting? We can help you do this!) Whatever language you choose for your greeting, ensure your phone answering team is ready to convey warmth and friendliness in their tone of voice. Enthusiasm—and lack thereof—transcends language.
Be consistent. You know the enthusiasm you just expressed in your warm, friendly greeting? It needs to continue throughout that first call—and for every call thereafter. Implement systems to ensure Spanish-speaking callers get the same great experience any time they call during business hours. Meetings and vacations happen, and customer calls won’t always match your schedule, so prepare whomever answers your phone to take thorough messages and set reasonable follow-up expectations—and then be sure you meet (or exceed) those expectations. One great phone experience can lead to a happy customer; many great phone experiences can lead to a lifelong customer. If you want a customer to trust you with their business for the long term, consistency and follow-through are essential to getting there.
So what about these strategies is specific to Spanish-speaking callers? Nothing! Apply these basics to any call, and you’re likely to see positive results. Seem like a tough task to tackle? RubyⓇ Receptionists is here for you if you need a hand. We’re now proud to offer Spanish and English bilingual service to all of our customers—at no extra cost. Whether you receive a few Spanish-speaking callers or a lot, we’re ready to create connections in English and Spanish.
Publish Date: June 22, 2016 5:00 AM
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