Bilingualism is often required for jobs in call centres, but it is not limited to fluency in French and English. There are many positions for agents who are fluent in other languages. There’s enough to take advantage of your third language!
“Please note that this position requires fluency in Portuguese and English.” This is the kinds of job postings that Canadian call centres regularly post, always seeking customer service professionals who can express themselves in their customers’ native languages, from coast to coast. Do you speak Mandarin or Cantonese? Spanish? Arabic? Italian? German? All these languages (and many others) will be considered as an immense asset for a position of telephone customer service representative.
Linguistic diversity is growing across the country! Statistics Canada listed nearly 200 languages “spoken at home” in 2016 in Canada, including 22 languages spoken by more than 100,000 speakers (primarily Mandarin and Cantonese). So it’s normal, in this context, for companies to make efforts to offer their customer support services in as many languages as possible.
“It allows me to practice my Arabic a bit and keep my linguistic muscles active,” comments Inès, a Montrealer of Moroccan origin who speaks only French in her daily life outside work. “It’s a fun job that allows us to interact with people who are mostly caring,” she adds. “Contrary to popular belief, there are very few solicitation or outgoing calls made. We are rather there to answer incoming calls and respond to questions from customers. People are almost always friendly to us. And when we can talk to them in their native language they are really thrilled!”
People who speak Cantonese or Mandarin will mainly find work in call centres in the Vancouver and Toronto areas, while those who speak Arabic will find their feet in Montreal or Ottawa-Gatineau. In Edmonton and Calgary there are a high number of Tagalog (Filipino) speakers – agents who can speak this language are taken care of in Alberta!
Other languages are regularly requested, depending on the region as well as the international activities: call centres have no borders and your customers could very well be an another country than yourself!