Many business owners and service providers are sold on the importance of providing Spanish language translations of their documents. Ensuring that Spanish speakers understand your written message will enable you to tap into a new demographic if you own a business or reach out to people who need your services if you are a nonprofit or for-profit service provider. Now that you’ve gotten Spanish speakers in the door by connecting with them in the language they understand best, make sure that you keep them by providing superlative customer service in person and over the phone. If Spanish speakers are drawn in by marketing materials in Spanish, they expect that the company will have a Spanish-speaking staff person to help them. If your company doesn’t have trained front-line staff to speak with customers in Spanish, the second best solution is to have interpretation services on call. Not having bilingual staff or fast access to an interpreter may cause you to lose potential customers. To provide seamless customer service to Spanish-speakers, keep the following in mind:
- Spanish-speaking front line staff should be just as well-trained as your English speaking staff. Conversely, grabbing any employee to interpret just because he speaks Spanish looks unprofessional and will ultimately frustrate the customer.
- Ask for evidence of Spanish language proficiency if the potential employee was not born in a Latin American country. Two semesters of college Spanish doesn’t make one bilingual. Neither does being a native Portuguese speaker, although many Portuguese speakers learn to speak Spanish well.
- If serving a large number of Spanish speakers, make sure that you have sufficient bilingual staff. Bilingual staff shouldn’t serve a disproportionally large number of customers just because of their language skills.
- Don’t expect your Spanish-speaking staff to take on translation duties. Translation, as does customer service, takes a special skill set.
- If it’s not possible to have enough bilingual staff to fill your needs, make sure that you have a qualified interpretation service on call.
Having your materials translated into Spanish is an important first step. The above tips can help you to solidify first sales and create a connection with a whole new demographic of customers that will give them a great impression of your business.