WOWed in Translation

EL MONTE, Calif.—Math may be the universal language. But in the U-Haul universe, excellent customer service is a language we all speak. This is especially true with Inez Cervantes, general manager (GM) at U-Haul at Garvey Avenue, who went out of her way to help a customer who spoke very little English.

“The customer came in and wanted a quote on a hitch, but he didn’t speak much English,” Cervantes recalled. “He just pointed at what he was looking for. The customer had a friend on his cell phone who was trying to translate, but it was hard because the customer’s friend wasn’t present to see what we were talking about.”

Though she and the customer were frustrated with the communication barrier, Cervantes wasn’t willing to give up. She was determined to help the customer.

“I could tell the customer was getting frustrated, and to be honest, so was I,” Cervantes admitted. “But, I don’t like telling a customer ‘no.’ I try my hardest to help the customer and see them leave satisfied.”

U-Haul Team Member with Translation App
GM Inez Cervantes WOWed a customer who spoke very little English by using the iTranslate app on her iPhone.

Technology to the rescue

Cervantes remembered an app she heard about called iTranslate that helps with the translation of various languages. She downloaded the app on her iPhone and took her best guess at the language the customer was speaking.

“I guessed that he was speaking Chinese, so I selected that language in the app,” Cervantes mentioned. “He smiled and gave me a thumbs up. It was a huge relief. And he seemed surprised that I was able to find a way to help him.”

They both began speaking and typing into the iPhone, and the iTranslate app translated their conversation piece by piece.

“The app provides an audible translation, but even if he didn’t understand the audio, the words would show up on the screen in his language,” Cervantes described. “But, most importantly, the app was successful in helping me help the customer. He was able to purchase the hitch he was looking for and we installed it on his vehicle.”

iTranslate Translation App Screen Shot
The iTranslate app provides audio and visual translation in many languages.

Find a way

When it comes to helping customers, Cervantes knows that it’s always important to find a way to help. This time, the iTranslate app was that way. And it was such a huge success that Cervantes had the rest of her team download it as well.

“We get a lot of customers who don’t speak English well, so we’ve been able to use this app a lot since then,” Cervantes volunteered. “Now, we are able to help everyone and never have to turn anyone away because we can’t understand each other.

“I’m just happy the customer left satisfied,” Cervantes continued. “It feels good knowing I made his day a little easier. To me, all that matters is that customers leave happy and get what they want.”

Have you used a translation app to communicate before? What was your experience like?

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