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Leading with Korean: Helping Her Community with Bilingual Customer Service


A friend told Grace Lee about the language line at Charter Communications, a cable company, and she decided to apply to work as a Korean Customer Service Representative. Grace now troubleshoots product issues by phone for Korean speakers in her community, many of whom don’t speak English even though they have lived in the United States for years.

In order to best serve this group, she takes into account both linguistic and cultural factors: She sometimes pronounces English words with a Korean accent so that customers can recognize the sounds for technical terms or materials which may seem simple but can be difficult to understand for speakers with limited proficiency over the phone. Sensitive to callers’ needs, she also maintains a soft tone, as if she were in Korea, to match customers’ cultural expectations and comfort level.

She is happy to use her Korean on the job because she loves to make a difference. Her bilingual communication skills help everyone—both her company and her customers. She notes:

“I just like to help people. That’s number one for me. […] I can definitely see that they’re so appreciative that they can communicate with us and they need us. […] I feel that all the time when I’m talking to them.”

Motivated by Grace’s drive to help her community and her ability to apply that knowledge at her job? Wondering what career path Korean skills might send you down? Check out our Lead with Korean page to discover additional profiles of Korean speakers, scholarship opportunities, study abroad blogs, videos, and more.

Or are you aspiring to join the customer service professionals helping people across the country each day in a wide variety of languages? Watch Sarah’s video about serving her community with Spanish.