How to Sound Natural When Supporting Customers Outside Your Native Language

cross-cultural communication skills customer support across languages global customer service

When you're supporting customers outside your native language, feeling uncomfortable and fear you don't sound natural is normal. But, with a few simple tips, you can become more confident and communicate naturally.


  • Practice speaking the language as much as possible. The more you speak your customer's language, the more comfortable you'll become, and the easier it will be to find the right words. Talking with co-workers, friends, or recording yourself and listening to it is an excellent way to practice.
  • It's also essential to listen carefully to how native speakers speak and try to imitate their intonation, rhythm, and stress patterns. You can watch TV shows or listen to podcasts to improve your listening skills and get familiar with rhythms and sayings.
  • Speak slowly and enunciate your words.
  • Avoid using slang or idioms that may be unfamiliar to the customer.
  • Use short, simple sentences and avoid using complex sentence structures.
  • Repeat or rephrase what the customer says to confirm understanding.
  • Use visual aids, such as diagrams or screenshots, to help explain difficult concepts.


Don't be discouraged if you struggle to communicate with customers in their native language. 


Remember that practice makes perfect, and resources are available to help you improve your language skills. 


Consider enrolling in language training programs or seeking feedback from colleagues or supervisors. You can break the language barrier and provide excellent customer service with dedication and effort.


For more help supporting customers across languages, check out my LinkedIn Learning Course, Customer Service: How to Deliver Support Across Languages.

When and how to hand off a customer from Customer Service: How to Deliver Support Across Languages by Myra Golden

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