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New research shows that businesses are seeing the benefits of using the Welsh language

An overwhelming majority of businesses in Wales say that using the Welsh language is a way of attracting customers and adding value to their product or service. Here are the findings of a new research published by the Welsh Language Commissioner.
An independent research company was commissioned to ask large businesses and SMEs in Wales about their attitudes towards using the Welsh language, and a significant majority said that the language is beneficial to them:
  • 76% agree strongly or partially agree that using Welsh attracts customers
  • 82% agree strongly or partially agree that using Welsh adds value to a product or service
  • 80% agree strongly or partially agree that using Welsh is important to the ethos of the business.
  • 84% agree strongly or partially agree that using Welsh enhances the business brand.
The Welsh Language Commissioner has an experienced team of staff who work across Wales to provide practical support and assistance to businesses and charities to develop their Welsh language provision.
Gethin Edwards leads the team’s work. He said: “Research we have published in the past shows that Welsh and non-Welsh speaking customers across Wales value businesses using the Welsh language. This new research shows that businesses themselves also see the benefits of doing so.
“What is encouraging is that the research reports the opinion of many businesses we are yet to work with, therefore shows that there is a growing appetite to use Welsh as a commercial tool and to stand out in competitive markets.”
Two of the many companies the team have helped to introduce the Welsh language are Lidl and Santander. In these cases, the relationship was established after shortcomings in their Welsh language services became appartent, through complaints from customers and through the Commissioner’s research. The initial contact led to action plans to increase the use of Welsh.
Gareth Davies, Lidl’s Regional Director, Wales said: “We are incredibly proud to be part of the communities that we operate in, and are continuously exploring opportunities to enhance our customers’ shopping experience. We know, both through cutomer feedback and the invaluable work of the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Hybu Team, that our customers want to see the Welsh language more prominently placed in our stores. This is why we have conducted a full rollout of new bilingual signage across all Lidl stores in Wales, which we’re pleased to confirm is now complete.”
Santander is another business that has recently set out to introduce the language to its activities. With the support of the Commissioner’s Hybu Team, the bank has installed software on its cash-machines that remembers language choice, thus enabling people to have a Welsh language service by default. They are also encouraging employees to learn Welsh phrases and vocabulary that relate to banking services to enable them to support customers in Welsh. Christian Dalton, Santander’s Regional Manager in south Wales, said: “The Welsh language is one of the treasures of Wales and is part of what defines Wales as a nation. It is important that we at Santander reflect the customers we serve by enabling colleagues from our Welsh branches to learn and speak Welsh for the benefit of our customers and the local community.”
There will be an opportunity to hear more about the research, the work of the Hybu team and the response of businesses they have worked with in a special event in San Marino, Cardiff Bay, 3pm on Thursday 9 August 2018.

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