How to Deliver Better Customer Service in English and Spanish with Bilingual Receptionists | Small Business Advice

Sean Lund-Brown

There’s definitely something to be said for bilingual customer service, no matter what region you’re in or who you think your primary demographic is. After all, the Internet has opened your business to the global landscape, and the more clients and customers you can serve, the better. Although there are several different languages you can choose from, here in the U.S., offering bilingual services for English and Spanish is usually a good choice. 

Customer service is all about the customer—what do they need? Today, your audience needs accessibility and the option to speak to someone they can understand. Many small businesses throughout the U.S. serve a number of English- and Spanish-speaking people, so it’s important to be able to cater to their needs. 

Of course, bilingual receptionists are not easy to come by and some may charge higher rates for their additional service. Thus, you’re left trying to figure out if it’s really worth the time to find a solution here, or if you should just keep what you have. The fact of the matter is that companies offering multilingual service rate better in customer satisfaction surveys than companies with only a single language available in the customer service department. 

Not only that, but with modern software and technology available today, even those who aren’t that familiar with Spanish can provide near 100% accuracy to provide important information to the callers on the other end of the line. 

We’ll get more into how this technology works later, but first, let’s talk about the benefits of offering bilingual customer support and the ways in which you need to be offering it. 


The modern world of customer support


Today’s customers are like no other. They have unique needs and even more impressive demands of the brands that they work with. When you couple that with the fact that you’re now working with a global economy, you can trust that your audience probably needs a lot more than you’ve been giving them. 

Don’t take that personally or feel guilty—so many people don’t even know all the technology and resources that are available to them, let alone actually utilize them. As long as you’re willing to learn, you’re on the right track. And when you learn that your audience needs dedicated attention along with the option of bilingual service, you’ll want to make the updates as soon as possible. 

Going back to meeting customers where they are (because we can’t state that enough), this includes customer support channels. If they like email, send them an email. If they prefer SMS or Facebook messaging, provide that, too. The idea is for you to remove as many barriers as possible so that it’s easy for them to choose your brand. In today’s Internet, you have to stand out as much as possible, and giving customers the support they deserve can go a long way in helping with that. 

So many businesses miss easy opportunities for business simply because of a failure in the communication chain. As the number of Hispanic people and other cultures continues to grow in America, the needs of the modern business continue to evolve, as well. Even companies that might have once never considered needing bilingual support might now find themselves with a whole new audience waiting to work with them if only the language support was available. 

Customer service, as most of you know by now, is an ever-changing world and you have to be ready for the next thing even before you finish the last one. For example, if you’ve upgraded your calls and chats to 24/7 availability, you’ve probably seen a great improvement in a short time. And yet, here we are, already talking about what’s next. 


So, why Spanish?


This is a common question that we get. Some people think it’s assumptive to go with English and Spanish as our service languages or to promote those exclusively. However, the numbers show that it makes sense. We did our homework and found that:

  • As many as 32% of the Hispanic population in the U.S. cannot speak proficient English
  • Hispanics account for 60.1 million as of 2020, and the population is expected to reach over 106 million by 2050
  • Spanish follows English as the second most spoken language in U.S. homes, with about 37.6 million speakers in the country
  • The spending power of this population is in excess of $1.5 trillion
  • Hispanic communities abound in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago
  • Studies show that members of the Hispanic community tend to be more loyal to companies that cater to their language needs

These are just a few of the most popular statistics out there about the Spanish language and Hispanic population within the United States. Once you understand how common these people are and how much they need assistance from people they can rely on, you’ll see why it can be so valuable to add bilingual customer service to your repertoire. 

Running a small business can be a lot of work and you might think that this is something that can wait until “things settle down” or “you have time”. Well, that’s probably never going to happen, on either account. It’s best to get in there now and see what you can do to expand your audience and make your business easier by growing your profits faster. While traditional marketing efforts will have a nominal impact, something like upgrading to offer bilingual service can change the entire face of your business and its future. 

Spanish is a popular language and it never hurts to offer your audience a little more. Although you could consider other languages, the chances of those being needed are fractional in comparison. Take the time to consider all the ways that you’ve seen other brands and businesses succeed. This will help you create your own ideal strategy for adding bilingual services, and so much more. 


Why your business needs bilingual receptionists 


Today, no one can overstate the importance of being able to meet customers where they are. It’s a cornerstone of good service and now that the world of service needs to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the always-on model is a must-have. It’s also a good idea to consider bilingual service to reduce the barriers between you and your audience. Plus, when you hire a team that can handle bilingual chats and calls, you can:

  • Reduce communication frustrations: For those who don’t speak English well, it could be difficult to communicate with companies, much the same way it’s frustrating for those of us who speak English when we run into agents with a thick accent or difficult-to-understand English. We want someone who can understand us, and someone we can understand in return—so do your customers. 
  • Improve your reach: There are over 52 million Hispanic people living and working in the U.S. and many still speak their native Spanish as a main form of communication. When you have bilingual receptionists, you can communicate with callers all over the country and around the world. This availability helps improves your reputation and increase your revenue. 
  • Set your brand apart: When you have an English and Spanish receptionist solution in place, your business will stand out among the competition that doesn’t yet offer this feature. You can gain a huge advantage in the market if you adopt this feature sooner than later and start taking advantage of the many services that come with this offering. 
  • Improve reviews and customer satisfaction: When your customers are happier, your business is going to get better reviews. And, you’ll have a whole new audience of people to give reviews for your company so that you can continue to grow and thrive. This helps improve loyalty and that’s another asset that you can’t afford to do without. 
  • Provide top-quality support: When you have the right language solutions, you will be able to provide premium support for all your users. People need to feel like they are important to your brand and that comes from skills that you really can’t teach. If you’re going to enlist someone else’s help, there’s no sense in settling for second-rate. 


We could go on for days talking about the value of adding bilingual receptionist services, but the fact of the matter is that these days, they’ll often serve you well. And the great thing about working with a team like the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai is that you’re not paying extra—the bilingual services are just there in case someone reaches out, and if not, the agents will carry on handling things in English. 

You’ll be able to take your business forward and never miss a step when you have a plan in place to field the support that your audience needs and then deliver it in the best way that you know-how. 


Think beyond calls 


Yes, receptionists can provide bilingual service in English and Spanish with phone calls, both incoming and outgoing. However, they can do so much more than that. They can provide solutions via live chat, specifically, thanks to new developments in state-of-the-art software. 

Whatever medium your audience needs or chooses to contact you, they should have the option of using English or Spanish to do so. Consider all the ways this can better engage your audience and help you improve your customer service reputation. 

The good news is that you don’t have to hire people in-house and carry the expense of more employees. You can choose a virtual receptionist service like Smith.ai and outsource everything to a company that knows all about keeping clients and customers happy on the phone, online via live chat, and in several other ways. 

Some people spend hours, or even days off and on, texting, calling, and trying to reach someone outside of the language barrier. 


How to incorporate bilingual support when you partner with Smith.ai 


Thanks to modern technology, we have the capability to provide bilingual services for all of your phone calls, as well as texts and Facebook messages. You’ll never have to worry about missing out on a customer or potential lead again because they’ll all get connected to a real person who can use the state-of-the-art translation software that we employ to get a near-accurate translation so that the conversation can carry on uninterrupted, with each person getting the right language on their end. 

It almost sounds like something out of a movie, but it’s not really that complicated. Think of tools like Google Translate (which could be a lot better, but for open-source and free, it gets the job done). There are software platforms that can help streamline your marketing efforts and ensure that your conversations carry on uninterrupted, on both sides. 

Incorporating bilingual support isn’t that much additional work when you add it to other services that you’re already using. It takes a matter of minutes and we’ll have your service up and running so that you can get back to business. Think about all of the ways that you can utilize this support to improve your business and give your audience the resources that they need. 


Upgrade your chat and customer service solutions with Smith.ai 


At Smith.ai, we know your time and money are precious resources. Forget spending a fortune trying to find a team to answer your messages in multiple languages or limiting your service to English only. We have customizable plans available for all of your virtual receptionist needs, including live website chat with bilingual service, guaranteeing that your customers get the support that they deserve. 

We’ll even help you create the ideal plan that includes other solutions we offer, such as appointment scheduling, lead intake and screening, and even payment collection, plus so much more. And we’ll make sure it’s all easy to understand for both people involved in the conversation, and that your brand gets the representation it deserves. 

If you’re ready to get started with Smith.ai Chat, schedule your consultation today. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 


Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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