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Hosting Discussion > Operating a Web Hosting Business > Customer Service and Support Issues > Dealing with customers who don't know English well
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  Post #1 (permalink)   06-04-2009, 09:16 PM
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When you have a webhosting company, you may sometimes be contacted by a customer who does not understand English well or whatever your first language may be, which can lead to a lot of misunderstandings, or just general confusion. Some, usually larger companies make use of somebody who can translate for them, while many small companies may not have this option.

My question is, how good are you at dealing with this?
 
 
 


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  Post #2 (permalink)   06-05-2009, 08:32 AM
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I don't think this is as big a problem as it used to it, but it can throw hurdles in your path. I don't think we've ever lost a deal because we couldn't communicate with the prospect - not to say it couldn't happen. I hope not.
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  Post #3 (permalink)   06-05-2009, 09:06 AM
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I have dealt with this from the customer side of things where companies have outsourced their support. Give them a call and they don't understand what I'm saying and I can't understand them - I hate it when that happens. I can imagine that it would be just as frustrating from the other side of the fence.
 
 
 


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  Post #4 (permalink)   06-05-2009, 11:25 AM
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I think with any business communication is the leading cause of issues. People all over understand words differently. Being able to understand what the client wants will make you business stronger and move productive. Its hard when you use 'text' to communicate instead of your 'mouth'. When people read text they also may take your mood to be mean and rude when really you never meant for it to come across that way. With using voice they are able to hear your tone and understand you more effectively. I feel strongly you can lose clients if communication is not established from the start. If you are paying X amount of dollars each month you want someone you can talk to that will understand you; fact.
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  Post #5 (permalink)   06-05-2009, 11:59 AM
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The language barrier doesn't seem to be as large any more (as previously stated). I know years ago I'd receive requests in Russian, and use babblefish to help translate what it was they were trying to do. I like the tickets where a user will speak spanish, type in Spanish and also type an English version. So you can get the gist should something not be as expected. I took 4 years of Spanish, but I dare not say I"m fluent in it Took 2 years of German, 2 years of French and had to speak Gaelic as it was the national Language in Ireland. I can muddle my way through stuff for the most part. I did have a person on staff before that was from Mexico and it was great to have them in Live Chat or Helpdesk to help customers, but I think much of the world doing business these days have a fairly good grasp of the english language and there are minor hurdles to get past.
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  Post #6 (permalink)   06-05-2009, 04:07 PM
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All I remember from spanish class is my name and how to count to ten (and sometimes I forget that).

Communication has come a long way and like hands said, babblefish (and a ton of other places) are great starting points.

It is easier via support ticket than it is over the phone thats for sure.
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  Post #7 (permalink)   06-05-2009, 09:28 PM
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I took some French and Spanish in school, but I am still far from fluent with either, although I do try to make the most out of what I do have, and usually that has been enough for me. Also I have been learning some German in my free time, and I should get back to working on French and Spanish again too
 
 
 


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  Post #8 (permalink)   06-08-2009, 08:56 PM
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It can be very challenging at times. We utilize a translation service (human) so if a customer wishes to call we have the ability to conference a translator in on the call. While nothing beats having someone translate a foreign language to you it can get expensive. Thankfully I suppose, 90% of our support requests are made from email/live support in which case Google translate is invaluable.
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  Post #9 (permalink)   06-12-2009, 12:39 PM
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Have had clients create tickets and speak spanish in one part and english in another. If there is something you can not understand, thankfully there are a lot of services online that can translate for you. However English does take you pretty far nowadays most of clients are able to speak clear enough to understand.

Some tickets you can tell that English isn't the primary language, but generally you can get an idea what is being said.
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  Post #10 (permalink)   06-12-2009, 05:00 PM
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It is not a big problem..I do my best to talk to them and if that is not working out that well I use a program that translate my words and his words so we can both understand each other a little better.
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  Post #11 (permalink)   06-12-2009, 05:13 PM
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I don't mean to toot our own horn here, but we have customers in over a hundred countries and it has always been a real issue. We just added multi-language support to SmarterTrack (customer service software) that can automatically translate Live Chats back and forth.

So if a Portugese native speaker selects that language when he starts a Live Chat, he can type in Portugese and our agent side "sees" the Live Chat in both Portugese with the English translation below it. And the customer "sees" the response written in English with Portugese below it in real time. This has helped a LOT.

The Online Help auto translates into dozens of languages too.

<<MOD NOTE: Edited for self-promotion.>>

Be well,
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  Post #12 (permalink)   06-14-2009, 08:59 AM
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Time is golden. ?If you take your time with the customer and their should be no issue. We also as Jeff has said now have built in software to help translate. But, I think every customer is different and there will always be one wher eyou will have no clue what they are saying... Better to move on than to site and waste time with them.
 
 
 


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  Post #13 (permalink)   06-14-2009, 09:52 AM
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Not really ipodman...becuase I don't handle support tickets that much (staff takes care of that) I normally have a lot of free time, so it is easy for me to deal with lots of clients who need a lot of help, or you can't understand them, or what ever the reason may be. But, if your low on staff and this person doesnt pay much each month and has a lot of needs then sure, let him/her go.. But, that client will refer more people than anyone else you may host..As he will tell everyone how helpful your company is.
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  Post #14 (permalink)   06-14-2009, 01:28 PM
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We have many client's who come on Live Chat and simply use Google Translator to talk to us, it seems to be OK.

 
 
 


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  Post #15 (permalink)   07-02-2009, 06:44 PM
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Using online translators can have bad consequences though. Always run the results it gives you back through the translator to english again to see if it messed up your sentence.
 
 
 
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