Language barriers can be a challenge, primarily if you work in the customer service industry where delivery of expectations is everything.
Here are a few ways that you can overcome a language barrier:
- Use simple-to-understand language
- Use visuals when communicating
- Repeat the essential parts of the conversation
- Remain patient and respectful
Show the interviewer that you can remain professional, even when a situation may not be as simple or easy to get through, as you would like.
"If I had a customer who was challenging to understand I would make sure to repeat the most important parts of the conversation; whether that be one sentence or a single word. It's important to me that my customers clearly understand what I am offering, and that I clearly understand how I can meet their needs."
"I have taken many phone calls in my administration career and have spoken to many people whose native language is not my own. I like to slow the conversation down and then I will follow up with an email to ensure clarity and that we are on the same page. Sometimes reading an email is easier than a verbal conversation when a language barrier is present."
"When I have customers who do not speak the same language as I do or are culturally very different from me, I ask them questions and then carefully dig deep until I know that we are on the same page."
"If I have a customer who is challenging to understand I will send them our intake questionnaire for them to fill out at their own pace. By allowing someone room to think, I am giving them the space they need to be better communicators. This added time and less pressure can create a much clearer working relationship."
"I feel that visuals often help when the language barrier is strong. If a customer is looking for a specific garment, for instance, I will ask to see pictures, or I will bring pictures up on the store's directory or website. It's amazing what a simple nod of the head, yes or no, can do."
"Repeat, repeat, repeat! This rule is one that I live by when it comes to communicating with customers of all types. I will take the parts of our conversation and repeat them until I am 100% confident that we are communicating as well as possible."