Author/s

Rebecca Haynes

The benefits of being multilingual

For such a multicultural society, Australian businesses have historically been on the back foot when it comes to properly serve Language Other Than English (LOTE) customers. There’s seemingly been a reticence to embrace those customers, be it due to apathy towards the issue, the belief that it’s too hard, or the feeling that they are a minority so possibly not worth the effort. However, these objections don’t hold water when you scrutinise them.

The fact is that over 20% of Australians speak a primary language other than English. Any business that properly caters for this percentage is going to see an increase in sales, an increase in customer satisfaction, and an increase in customer retention – three of the cornerstones of any business.

In any other circumstance, if businesses could create a targeted campaign directly at an equivalent percentage who were being underserved by the market, they’d jump at the opportunity. Yet when it comes to LOTE customers, it is often a different story.

So, just what is holding businesses back? Let’s look at those objections in more detail:

Possibly the biggest problem is that belief that it’s too hard. This is actually pretty understandable if you’re a business that has had no awareness of the language services sector before – they could easily think that it’ll be a big undertaking to get other languages plugged into their business.

But it’s not.

ezispeak specialise in creating bespoke language solutions that plug into your existing systems, workflows and processes, while also being simple to use and understand. Additionally, ezispeak are always conscious of key metrics like call handling time and response speed, ensuring that you’re getting the best value alongside the highest quality interpreting.

So, let’s look at apathy towards the issue.

Pleasingly, this is becoming a less relevant objection with every passing moment. As the cultural makeup of Australia has evolved over the years, the need for companies to have a strong, cohesive language strategy gets greater. Yes, there are some businesses that still don’t understand the importance of it, but through education that number will continue to shrink moving forward.

In fact, while you may expect that regional areas are more resistant to employing a language strategy, recent efforts to increase the number of immigrants moving into rural areas rather than the city means that is no longer the case.

Finally, let’s look at the sentiment that they aren’t worth the effort.

The obvious rebuttal to that is that earlier percentage – over 20% of Australians speak a primary language other than English. That’s a large percentage by any measure, and it’s a percentage that all ambitious companies should be aiming to get a large slice of. After all, if you aren’t, your competitors certainly are.

As mentioned above, the cultural makeup of Australia is changing, and that change is only going to continue. The Australia of 10 or 20 years into the future is going to look very different to the one we have now. The sooner your company is ready for that change, the better off it’ll be.

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