AT&T: Language Matters in Sales, Customer Care

Nine percent of the U.S. population is not spending up to its potential according to new research from AT&T and Language Line Services. And addressing users in their native language can make all the difference: 27.6 million consumers’ worth of difference.

Thats because many people have trouble with the English language, are underserved and offer great sales potential, according to the report, which says that businesses in telecommunications, financial services, utilities and insurance that offer customer service in the native language of the consumer will be the biggest winners as the stalled economy begins to move in 2011.”

Hewlett Packard, for example, saw an 85 percent sales increase from a targeted multicultural campaign. To wit, the AT&T and Language Line study said U.S. Latino purchasing power will reach $1.3 trillion by the year 2014. The combined buying power of the Latino, Black, Asian and Native American communities is already more than $1.5 trillion. One in every six Americans (46.9 million) in the country is Latino.

However, 40 percent of companies say they don’t understand the financial value of multicultural groups to their bottom lines, said Louis Provenzano, president and COO of Language Line Services.

He added that buyers speak one of 170 different languages and dialects in the U.S., and that providing integrated, in-language services throughout the sales, fulfillment and customer service process, organizations can enjoy a significant competitive advantage and can foster loyalty. Every 19 seconds, another immigrant enters the country with limited ability to speak English, according to the report.

The U.S. immigrant population is expected to double from 25 million to 50 million between 2000 and 2050 and reverse the minority status. Some of those immigrants will be good wage earners. Sixty percent of Asian Americans earn an annual income of $60,000 or higher, and 44 percent over the age of 25 have college degrees. The projected 2014 buying power of Asian Americans is $697 billion.

Asian buying power also has the second-fastest projected rate of growth, slightly behind that of Latino purchasing clout.

Multicultural marketing now enables organizations to reach the 23 percent of Hispanic households and 30 percent of Asian households across the nation that were previously considered linguistically isolated.

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