Thursday, September 28, 2017

Still Using the Same Old LSP for Your Call Center?

Man jumping with green letter "p" for Pros, woman smiling with letter "c" for Cons.

So you've decided to list the pros and cons of sticking with the same Language Service Provider (LSP) for your call center.

It's not a pretty topic, but as you know, when things go wrong in the call center, it's bad for the brand, for you, and for everyone else who calls expecting superior services.

As an LSP customer, you should occasionally shop around and research other vendors. The pace of development and technology is different than it was even 5 years ago. Some Language Service Providers have grown, some have been bought out, and some have misunderstood your value as a client and partner.

So here you go, a couple pros vs. cons with tools to ensure your current, or potentially new, LSP is a fit for your quality and response-time metrics.

Pro - You know and understand the relationship.

The service appears to work when needed and you know how and when to expect the bill.

Con - You don't know what you don't know. 

Without a comparison or a benchmark, it is hard to discern performance issues or missed opportunities when you have been using the same workflow and processes. Customer service, its approach, and resolution techniques are changing as fast as technology development. You should have an expectation in customer-resolution and answer metrics. For example, a 99% customer resolution streak and accessing a Spanish interpreter within 19 seconds should now be your standard.

Pro - You love their cheap per-minute rate. 

You’re using a low-price interpretation service because it keeps the fees low and since you don’t speak the second language, you are unaware of any problems that may exist.

Con - You're not figuring in the total cost of cheap interpretation.

You pay a low price but may incur high costs if the interpretation service your customers receive is of substandard quality. Which, over time, will cause measurable impact and damage to your customer’s engagement and credibility of your company. You can lower your overall costs by using an LSP that consistently delivers a measurable quality in service.

It's important to understand that your LSP choice has a direct impact on your risk management. When you decide to review other LSPs, here are additional questions you should be asking:

  • “Tell me about your recruitment efforts for potential projects.”
  • What’s the process you go through to staff assignments?”
  • How will my calls impact your total call capacity?
  • What is your implementation process for new accounts?
  • “How quickly can you implement?”
These questions are an excellent indicator of the quality you can expect from the LSP.

Finally, hiring an LSP is like any other service. Ask for references that are applicable to your business, e.g. financial services, medical, or legal.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Helping Healthcare Facilities Quickly Resolve ACA Requirements

Our goal at CTS LanguageLink is to educate entities such as yours on how and why you should be using multilingual services from a reputable language service provider.

Are you up-to-date on the Affordable Care Act’s Section 1557?

It addresses meaningful access for individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

"The Section 1557 final rule applies to any health program or activity, any part of which receives funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), such as hospitals that accept Medicare or doctors who receive Medicaid payments; the Health Insurance Marketplaces and issuers that participate in those Marketplaces; and any health program that HHS itself administers."

Healthcare entities need multilingual services to support the ACA's accessibility requirements. Solving communication dilemmas caused by language barriers should not be handled by untrained individuals.

The following people should not serve as healthcare interpreters: patient's family or friends, children under 18 years old, other patients or visitors, or untrained volunteers.

While these individuals may be proficient in both the source and target languages needed in the interpretation session, they may not be able to separate the gravity of the information to be communicated from the feelings they may have for the patient. They are typically not trained in the profession, which can lead to poor patient care, missed information and details, or in extreme cases, even death. 

As a healthcare facility, it is vital to provide appropriate communication techniques that comply with the law and provide your LEP patients the best care possible.

Finally, having language interpretation materials on display and readily accessible to your office employees assists engagement with patients/clients/customers. Displaying language interpretation content and information in your patient's/client's/customer's language, presents a setting in their terms that overwhelmingly improves the relationship and communicates a path to success.

You know healthcare, we know languages. Learn more about how we can better assist you.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

7 Reasons Schools Partner with Language Service Providers

You are a Kindergarten teacher getting ready to start another year of the hardest and most fulfilling job anyone has on the face of the earth. You have been teaching Kindergarten for more than 15 years and can instantly adjust for the shy kids, the crazy kids, the attention-starved kids, the smart kids, and the kids who need extra help. Are you ready for the kids that do not speak English? Are you ready to work and talk with their parents?

Now, it is freshman orientation and a room full of parents and future students are crammed into the hot gym to listen to the principal, counselors, and senior student body talk about how great freshman year is going to be. You have this amazing presentation to excite the kids, alleviate parent concerns and make sure the kids know where to go on their first day. The faculty is pumped and just as nervous as the freshman for school to start. You walk out onto the gym floor with your slide show loaded, ready to start the year off with a bang. Looking around the room you are excited at the diversity of the various ethnic backgrounds. Will they be able to understand your English-only presentation?

Here are 7 reasons you should work with a language services provider for communication with parents and students who do not speak English fluently.

1. Legal Requirements

Any communication of information about programs, services or activities, provided by the school to English-speaking parents, must also be presented in a language that can be understood by parents with limited English proficiency.

“Where the inability to speak and understand the English language excludes national origin minority group children from effective participation in the educational program offered by a school district, the district must take affirmative steps to rectify the language deficiency in order to open its instructional program to these students."

2. Immediate Access

All great language service providers are able to connect you to a phone interpreter in 30 seconds or less. We know schools move fast and accidents occur at any moment, so timing and access should never be compromised. This requires access 24x7x365, which allows you to cover sporting events, after-school activities, and teachers who work tirelessly into the evening.

3. Language Availability

An individual school or district is rarely able to cover all languages on their own. Even the top eleven most commonly reported languages (according to the US Dept. of Education) is an exciting list of diverse languages. Often, schools struggle to service languages of lesser diffusion, such as Hmong, Arabic, Tagalog, or Haitian Creole. Knowing your student body’s language demography is important, so you can effectively review a potential language service provider’s list of supported languages.
Table 1. Eleven most commonly reported home languages of English language learner (ELL) students: School year 2014–15

4. Pay as You Go

Budgets are mulled over across districts and schools. One of the great advantages of Over-the-Phone interpretation (OPI) services is that you are only charged for the services you use. Also, many language service providers have usage portals and should be able to separate the invoice by departments/schools in the district for billing purposes. You can leverage the usage information from the portal to assist in budget allocation for the next quarter, and then roll it up for end-of-year totals.

5. Prevent Miscommunication

Some schools suggest enlisting “older” children to interpret. You can understand how unprofessional this decision is. Since it’s also illegal, it can pose a huge legal risk to the school and its administration.

Using qualified interpreters ensures professionalism is maintained, providing unbiased communication between the school and non-English speaking students and parents.
Batman pun for batmobile

6. Student Success

Reaching out to parents in their native language will not only generate their support, but will likely increase academic achievement. For example, in certain families, field trips to the zoo are seen as an extravagance and not a necessity. When teachers or school officials send home (translated) permission slips, it may help to include a flyer that explains the inherent value of the trip, translated into the language of the family.
Smiling young Asian boy in baseball hat holding school project

7. Trusted Partnership  

Language Services Providers work with the schools to provide services that make sense. CTS LanguageLink knows that education is not only YOUR job, but it’s also OURS! You are encouraged to create your own program and we will use our 25+ years of experience to work with you to augment your program with proven, time-tested services.

Fast forward to today, the valedictorian, unable to speak English when starting Kindergarten and now graduating with straight As, is preparing to give the speech of a lifetime. His or Her entire family is there to watch and listen to the speech. But you have no worries about any of the non-English speaking family members attending. You are prepared. You have secured CTS LanguageLink’s services, and you are confident that all will be able to understand the speech in their native language.

Schools can take advantage of NASPO contract prices, for over-the-phone interpretation by signing up.