How to Serve ESL Customers

Although English is the official language of America, we continue to hear and be influenced by a multitude of languages. In the DFW Metroplex, a significant number of your customers may speak English as their second language (ESL) – or may not speak English at all. Here’s how you can accommodate their needs.

Add Bilingual Signage

The simplest accommodation is to add signage in a second (or even third) language. Change your signage, flyers, and other print pieces to include two or three languages depending on your business’s customer base.

Use Graphics

Use pictures or universal signage for restrooms, open and close signage, and store or aisle markers. Also, when creating flyers or door hangers, use graphics that can be easily understood, and always use the same logo and color palette to ensure customers recognize your business. 

Group Like Items Together

If there are items ESL speakers prefer, group those items together. It’s now common in grocery stores to have a “Hispanic” or “Asian” aisle with common cultural foods. Other items could include specific brands of drinks, laundry and dish detergent, phones, or bill paying services.

Prepare to Accept Cash

Many ESL speakers are simply more comfortable paying with cash. Make sure your cash registers can make change for large bills. Also, ensure the total amount owed is easy to see, rather than relying on an associate to give the total verbally.

These simple steps will make a significant difference to your ESL customer base. By recognizing and accommodating their needs, you’ll earn their loyalty and likely gain new customers, too.

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