The Philly311 Show Sneak Peek: Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs in Customer Service

Above is a sneak peek from the newest episode of The Philly311 Show, airing tomorrow. In this episode, I sit down with Jennifer Rodriquez, the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs. Jennifer speaks about the services her offices provides to Philadelphia’s non-English speaking community including in-person translation, document translation, and the training of City employees to better meet the needs of a multicultural customer base.

Diversity is an important topic for customer service executives. How can you provide excellent customer service to a diverse customer base speaking a wide-range of languages? The answer is more complex than simply outsourcing a translation service.

When planning to provide customer service across cultures it’s important to not to treat every customer in the “same” way but to treat every customer in an “equal” way. This means that Non-English customers (or culturally diverse customers) should not feel inconvenienced when engaging with your organization; they also should not feel as if your organization is being inconvenienced by serving them.

While there are many outstanding technical solutions to serve a multicultural customer base, treating every customer equally also hinges on internal training. Are you training your employees on the nuisances of multicultural communication or are you training to simply transfer to a translation service? Language aside, different cultures communicate in different ways (i.e. tone of voice; volume; etc.) If your employees are trained on multicultural communication, they might not become multicultural experts but they will at least be cognisant of the endless differences that exist. With this knowledge, your employees can be more sympathetic, patient, and prepared when dealing with customers of a different cultures.

The Philly311 Show airs on Philadelphia’s Channel 64 at 7:00pm on Monday/Wednesday/Sunday and 7:00am on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday. The episodes can also be found on the Philly311 YouTube channel.

0a87dc88be2bd3c4377aed9a2380550eRosetta Carrington Lue is the Chief Customer Service Officer and Senior Advisor to the City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director. Follow Rosetta on Twitter @Rosettalue or visit her blog at

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