Multicultural Special Report: Shore Up Your Back-end
Having the right structure of database fields also is important. Data entry personnel may understand how to properly break down a traditional Hispanic name, but the database structure must accommodate the correct number of fields. This particularly is important if you plan to develop personalized direct marketing efforts.
• Setting up bilingual, inbound telemarketing. If you ask Hispanic customers to call your organization, tell them what number to call for a specific language. It can be frustrating for customers who expect to talk to a service rep in Spanish to find only English, or be put on hold until a Spanish-speaking service rep is available. Also, plan for longer telemarketing service calls. You need 25 percent more words in Spanish to say the same thing in English. The relationship-building factor also is important to Hispanics. They need to feel comfortable and build trust with the person on the other end of the phone.
• Accommodating longer pay cycles. Many Hispanics have solid incomes and good credit history. However, some Hispanics originate from countries where credit is not available, or is tracked differently than in the States. Therefore, the importance of making payments on or before the due date may need to be addressed. In addition, Hispanics tend to pay with cash rather than credit cards, so they may need extra time to secure full cash payments or money orders.
• Designing Spanish or bilingual billings. Many Hispanic households are multigenerational. Therefore, the person ordering the product may prefer Spanish, but the one paying for it may be more fluent in English. A bilingual billing format solves this problem. A challenge with bilingual payment requests is limited space. Generally payment stubs are small, so use space wisely. The larger, dominant font should be used for the primary language and a smaller font for the secondary language.