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10 ways to save money and provide a better service to your Non English speaking customers (30 Nov 07)

Including how a £2 phone socket saved one organisation thousands of pounds and hours and hours of valuable interpreting budget

1. Make sure your staff know which questions to ask

When non-English speakers arrive at busy reception areas staff can sometimes get frustrated as queues can quickly build up if they are not able to help them quickly.

Staff need to know which questions they have to ask when a non-English speaking customer arrives at the counter:

Questions such as these:

Once staff know what the customer wants, if they canít deal with them straightaway, they can be put into a holding area so that queues donít build up.

This way non-English speakers are more likely to get the help they want and it keeps queues down for everybody. Staff also feel more confident, because they know which questions to ask and in what order.

2. Make it easy for the customer to identify their language to staff

Keep it simple. Have large easy-to-see visual displays in reception areas, listing languages so customers can quickly identify their language to staff. This saves everybody time and effort.

Use welcome posters, Language Identification Cards and desk cards to let the customer know that interpreting is available.

3. Try using 2 handsets connected to one phone socket

I am sure you recognise the situation where a non-English speaker uses your reception phone to talk to an interpreter. Usually what happens is

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