3 Reasons To Use Language Assessment Technology For Your Call Center

3 Reasons To Use Language Assessment Technology For Your Call Center

As a father of five children, one of the most exhilarating parts of fatherhood was watching their development, especially when they started to learn words and try to communicate. Watching them mimic sounds that they heard and find ways to signal what they wanted was awe-inspiring. Now, the flipside of this is the temper tantrums that also occurred during that phase, throwing fits because they were unable to communicate their needs. While children outgrow temper tantrums, the frustration behind not being heard and understood never dissipates.

Every contact center manager and global executive would agree that communication problems, especially those starting with language inadequacies, can cause tense situations. Call centers have historically been a breeding ground for these problems. Customers and representatives often struggle to understand each other—with or without language gaps. With more than 6,500 languages spoken worldwide, language can often be what gets in the way. But for onshore, offshore, and nearshore bilingual staffing, accurate language screening and assessments play a crucial role in recruiting, retention, and customer experience.

Closing the global communication gap

Today, the world is united under the banner of English. For better or worse, English has become the global standard of language, making it possible to communicate in even the most remote parts of the world. As geographic lines blur and the rise of technology allows companies to connect across time zones and countries, English is now the language of global business, innovation, and most contact centers. 

According to Gallup, three out of five firms cite contact centers as one of their leading sales and marketing platforms. The call center industry is growing exponentially and is expected to be worth $120 billion by 2025. But, while the industry is booming, there are many challenges call centers face today—like language assessment.

When the ability to understand and speak a language clearly is the top requirement for employment, a speaking ability assessment should be moved to the front of the applicant screening process. But many legacy systems have tenuous, slow processes based on human raters for this part of the process—and that leads to its own issues. Here are three reasons why language assessment technology should be used for call centers:

  1. Confidently certify language ability. Language screening seems like a small and simple step in the recruiting and training process, but, in my contact center experience, hiring managers often overlook its impact. With an adaptive testing platform that is available on demand, employers can get an accurate representation of a candidate’s abilities. AI and machine learning can actually make the results more precise. At Emmersion, we’ve had more than five million test-takers since the 1990s and that data helps our solution provide the best results based on language ability.
  2. Remove bias. Unconscious bias and discrimination can run rampant when humans are in the driver’s seat. Our brains developed these unconscious biases throughout evolution in order to protect us, but as we work toward a more diverse and equitable global economy, finding ways to fight these impetuses is crucial. In order to ensure that opportunities are based on proven ability, trusting artificial intelligence and automation to supplement makes sense. Decisions that aren’t based on personal preferences but rely on data set an even playing field for everyone.
  3. Hire and retain the best employees. Industry experts estimate it costs $3,000 to $5,000 to recruit a qualified contact center agent and another $3,000 to $5,000 to train the agent. When you also consider that by 2025, the global market for customer service agents is expected to reach more than 1.9 million employees (Kearney Consulting, 2017) , it’s clear that hiring the best talent is going to be expensive, but very important. Attracting and retaining employees can be challenging in such a competitive landscape. Language-qualified candidates are very desirable in the job market. Many employees may have multiple offers and being able to assess top performers early puts your business one step closer to filling a position.

The future workplace

Language ability directly influences customer satisfaction scores, which is key for contact centers. Customer satisfaction is based on communication, understanding, empathy, and problem-solving. Every consumer you talk to has a story about being on a call with a contact center agent without being able to understand what the agent is saying. The agent is also unable to understand the customer’s needs. Just as between my children and me, this breakdown is frustrating and unfruitful for everyone involved.

Being able to avoid all of this misunderstanding starts by setting employees and employers up for success with baseline language competency. It’s crucial that executives invest in tools to remain competitive in a growing economy, which includes language assessment technology. Emmersion brings together adaptive capabilities of AI with this growing economy to improve outcomes for all.