How to Improve Call Center English

| Monday, March 29, 2010
Call center employees whose native language is not English must learn to effectively comprehend the language for the ear. Instructional software and speech language pathologists help language users to listen actively and communicate clearly with customers halfway around the world. Grammar, usage, intonation, accent and business vocabulary are important elements in the learning process.
  1. Step 1
    Assess the communication needs of employees at your call center by testing their proficiency in English. English Language Testing System (ELTS) assessments for employees are jointly conducted at more than 500 locations in 120 countries by the British Council, IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. Tests are also conducted by regional language associations in most countries. For example, the All India English Language Testing Authority (AIELTA) develops and administers tests that evaluate the functional abilities of English speakers.
  2. Step 2
    Purchase an English language instruction software designed for call center employees. A wide array of language software is available on the Internet and at leading bookstores worldwide. Next, create training sessions designed around the software targeted at developing specific skill sets, ranging from active listening and reading comprehension to accent and pronunciation.
  3. Step 3
    Recruit part-time or full-time instructors certified in teaching English as a second language. Have them design a customized training program that meets the specific requirements of your call center by integrating relevant business language. Encourage individual coaching sessions that address each employee's unique requirements, such as focusing on pronunciation, intonation, grammar or vocabulary.
  4. Step 4
    Hire speech language pathologists to help modify accents.
  5. Step 5
    Promote reading related to your call center's business. Examples include IT support services and financial services such as credit card billing and banking support.
  6. Step 6
    Instill self-learning by distributing pocketbooks on common English business phrases and idioms. Or suggest the use of the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.
  7. Step 7
    Create an environment of immersion. Have your human resources division collaborate with instructors to develop in-house games that impart lessons in a fun way. Come up with creative ideas such as a Hollywood movie night to deepen the learning experience, or have a Scrabble competition where participants focus on just business words.
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