Home Language Testing and Certification How Language Ability Drives Better Customer Satisfaction

How Language Ability Drives Better Customer Satisfaction

by Emmersion
bilingual agent working happily

Have you ever made a customer service call that left you feeling frustrated, defeated, and no closer to solving your original problem? 

Let’s say you’re working from home, developing a presentation for an exciting new client. The pressure’s really on your shoulders to make a good impression, and it’s actually going well so far. 

Then, your internet connection dies. You try troubleshooting in every way you can think of, but nothing’s working—the issue must be on the provider’s end. The first thing you do is call the customer support line on their website. You have to explain the urgency of the situation and get a solution fast

Upset manager looking at his phone in the office

You finally get through to an agent, but your heart sinks when you realize you can hardly understand them. You try to muster up some patience and carefully explain your problem, but you’re stressed, and it’s hard to simplify your language enough for the agent. Clearly, they don’t have enough language ability to truly understand what you’re saying. 

You explain what you’ve tried, but you’re just not getting through to this person—they keep offering suggestions that don’t work for your system, and can’t seem to understand why you need a solution so fast. “If we could just understand each other!” you say to yourself in dismay. 

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been there at one point or another. Solving complex support issues with someone that you can’t communicate with effectively is exhausting, maddening, and, unfortunately, often a waste of time. Thinking back on experiences like this, it’s very clear to see that language ability directly affects customer satisfaction.

Frustrated bilingual call center agent on the phone

It’s the kind of experience no one wants to have, and one that you want to completely avoid for the clients you serve. When your agents can’t deliver a quality service, your CSAT scores go down, and it gets harder and harder to maintain your client base and win new accounts. 

Why is CSAT so important again?

Let’s do a quick review of why improving CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Scores) should be your top priority.  As you know, today’s biggest companies (and your biggest future clients) know that a customer’s experience is paramount. Industries are being flooded with more products and services than ever before. 

Happy call center agent in a video conference call

With so many options right at their fingertips, dissatisfied customers are all too happy to pivot their loyalty to whoever makes them the happiest. In fact, Gartner Research has found that 88% of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. And, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 68% of customers leave a brand because they’re upset with the treatment they’ve received.

Your clients know this, and they know that it’s 6-7 times cheaper to keep an existing customer than find a new one. One negative experience can lead to an avalanche of cost, since many exiters bring their friends and family with them. 

So, what are the best ways to get high CSAT scores from every client interaction?

Customers expect efficient communication 

When you consider all of the factors that go into making a great customer experience, the most important thing is always communication.

Call center agent giving thumbs up while on video conference call

When consumers give a low CSAT score, it’s directly related to how they felt about their buying experience about 70% of the time. To them, it matters much more that they were understood, treated well, and had an overall positive experience than if their problem was solved.

Consumers that were asked to rank important customer service skills said that answering questions quickly, understanding a problem without escalating it up the chain of command, being polite, and connecting with empathy are the most important to them. Clients agree, too— 33% say that efficiently answering questions is the most important agent skill. 

I can’t emphasize enough that communication is what makes the real difference for your CSAT scores and client happiness, and the foundation for delivering great communication is language ability.

Language makes all the difference

Let’s refer back to the story from above. The agent was definitely trained in how to help resolve internet issues. They had all of the knowledge and technical skills to fix the problem, but couldn’t be successful because of a language barrier.

Frustrated call center agent touching hands on her head

Language ability isn’t the only skill that makes up great communication. Agents need things like empathy, relatability, and listening competency, too. But even someone with the best empathy, relatability, and great listening skills in the world will fail in omnichannel global communication if they can’t speak the right language. 

Emmersion focuses on certifying the language ability of bilingual employees for a reason: Communication skills are important to your success, but language ability has to come first.


When contact centers and BPOs prioritize language ability as their first requirement for providing great service, their agents are more empowered to be successful at what they do, they have better interactions with customers, and all of that forward momentum is reflected in your CSAT scores. To win and retain great business, you need great service, and great service starts with certifying language ability.

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