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Spanish Language Contact Center Solution Trends: Impact of Growing Hispanic Population in U.S.


TMCnews Featured Article

May 16, 2011

Spanish Language Contact Center Solution Trends: Impact of Growing Hispanic Population in U.S.

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As the Spanish-speaking Hispanic population in the U.S. grows, opportunities are opening up in the outsourced services market. That’s because companies using call centers to provide customer service must increasingly take language and culture into consideration, in order to provide a high level of Spanish language contact center solutions.

In a recent TMCnet video interview, Michael Curry, chief of business development at Conexion One, explored why his company is experiencing growth in business from its main customer base: the U.S. Spanish-speaking marketplace.

Curry explained that every sector from housing to IT that is failing in the U.S., overall is actually growing in the Hispanic community.

Conexion One is capitalizing on that with a full range of Spanish-language, inbound and outbound contact center services, including voice, SMS text, chat and e-mail. The key, he said, is that it’s not just about Spanish, but also about the intersection between English and Spanish.

He noted that the average bilingual person in the U.S. tends to use the language “split” in call center menu systems at least 50 percent of the time, and often a single call switches back and forth between English and Spanish. Customers in this category view the language split as a tool that helps them get the service they need.

For example, it is well known in the Hispanic community that choosing the Spanish option often leads to faster connections with live agents. Yet, once the customer is in, they might look for a way to switch back to Spanish for the sake of easier communication—especially if technical concepts are involved.

There’s also a phenomenon of Hispanic customers, 70 percent being from Mexico, shopping around for an agent with a familiar dialect. 

“It’s all about the dialect and the cultural attitude that goes along with that,” Curry noted. “If you’re a company in Atlanta servicing local customers, you wouldn’t hire a call center out of New York City. The dialect makes the call. Mexican dialect Spanish is more cordial, kind of like Southern English. The dialect makes the call.”

Another local factor in this market is the demographics of customers calling in to contact centers in California and Texas: most choose the Spanish option. This is driving call center business back to the Americas, since finding Spanish-speaking agents in the Philippines and India has proven unfeasible.

For Conexion One, Mexico has proven to be a successful market.

“We run two 3,100 seat capacity call centers down in Mexico,” Curry said. “One is in Mexico City near the airport. Since 90 percent of people in Mexico City don’t own a car,

we strategically placed the facility to be accessible via major transportation hubs.”

In the past few years, General Motors (News - Alert) has become Conexion One’s biggest customer. The other Mexico call center is located at GM’s facility in Toluca. At this call center, warranty support and other services is provided in Spanish. 

Conexion One is an innovator in another area, too: customized call center software. The system it developed, which provides a unified desktop look and feel for agents and helps them stay one step ahead of calls, is widely recognized as a leader in the industry. So much so, in fact, that the company is now working to commercialize the software.

Watch the full video interview for more about growth of Hispanic population in the U.S. and how this is affecting the contact center market.

Mae Kowalke is a TMCnet contributor. She is Manager of Stories at Neundorfer, Inc., a cleantech company in Northeast Ohio. She has more than 10 years experience in journalism, marketing and communications, and has a passion for new tech gadgets. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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