Steve Sullivan, Contact Centre Panel
Article by Steve Sullivan
Head of Regulatory Compliance
Contact Centre Panel

If you’re running a contact centre, especially one providing multilingual services, the dominant news themes of the past few years, Brexit, The ‘Great Resignation’ and War, have all compounded to make a challenging job even more difficult.

At the same time, Covid especially has driven significant growth in the demand for multilingual customer service as more and more firms have exploited to shift online to enter new overseas markets.

This is a trend which Contact Centre Panel has been acutely aware of over the past two years, both in the UK and globally. So, if you need to identify and recruit staff who can support customers in languages other than English what are the options available to you?

1) Employ people who are already here

Most multilingual contact centres are supporting European languages, so native language speakers originally from the EU are the most obvious candidates. EU residents who were in the UK by 2021 should have achieved Settled Status so can be employed just like any other resident. However, as nearly all contact centres are reporting massive recruitment and retention challenges, that’s far from easy.

2) Recruit new staff from the EU

This may help, but remember that to do so you will almost certainly have to take advantage of the Skilled Worker Visa Scheme which entails a lot of administration, being approved as an employer by the Home Office and meeting the minimum salary level of £25,600.

3) Recruit Remote Workers in the Country

With the widespread adoption of contact centre homeworking, employing foreign-language speakers to work for you remotely in their own country is now entirely technically feasible. However, the costs and complexity of doing so – especially if you don’t currently employ any staff outside of the EU – can be considerable.

4) Outsource

Outsourcing contact centre customer service isn’t always the right solution for every organisation. But as many of our clients have found, done the right way outsourcing can be a sustainable, affordable solution to the multilingual resourcing challenge.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of these options.

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