Assisting Customers with Language Barriers

Always keep the following points in mind when dealing with Customers that do not understand English.
• Ideally, find another staff member who is fluent in the customer’s language and may act as an interpreter.
• Keep your normal procedures in mind, make the customer welcome with a smile, use non-verbal communications to help the customer or find out their needs. (Draw diagrams, refer to maps or signs)
• Use body language. For example, use gestures, pointing, shaking or nodding of the head etc.
• Even people with no English know a word or two. Use the few words know to assist them.
• Speak in English, otherwise the encounter is unnaturally silent. Also, your voice itself conveys a meaning, e.g. your voice rises when asking a question.