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What if language wasn’t a barrier for customer support?

By Vasco Pedro, Co-founder and CEO of Unbabel

Last updated September 21, 2021

This is a guest post from Unbabel, an app that provides multilingual support through ticket translation. You can learn more about how to use Unbabel Translate with Zendesk here.

We know that language has always been a challenge for customer support. Let’s say you speak English and Spanish fluently and a ticket comes in through Zendesk from a customer in Russia who only speaks Russian.

You may turn to Google Translate but we all know that’s going to sound like a robot took over your computer and mess up with your sacred customer satisfaction rate. In the meantime, the clock’s ticking and the customer is waiting.

If only you could eliminate the language barrier…

Well, thanks to artificial intelligence, language will no longer be an insurmountable obstacle. The conversations around AI are often about what it might do to us, but it’s better instead to think about what it can do for you.

Let artificial intelligence handle the translation

In customer support, the possibilities are endless. Chatbots, AI-assisted human agents, automated translations, etc. No wonder that nearly 8 out of 10 businesses have already implemented or are planning to adopt AI as a customer service solution by 2020, according to a study by Oracle.

So can artificial intelligence really eliminate the language barrier? Will we be able to understand each other even if we don’t speak the same language?

The answer is yes, and it’s already here. Today, for example, you can seamlessly translate an email in just a few minutes thanks to machine translation and human reviewed content. The machine does its job while humans review it to make sure no mistakes are being made. In other words, it’s like having the best of both worlds, the speed and ease of machine translation and the quality of human translation.

This brings us enormous benefits, including speed and quality. Just to give you an idea, a typical human translator can process approximately 300 to 400 words per hour but now, thanks to artificial intelligence, that same human translator can process approximately 1,200 to 1,400 words per hour.

Cut down on lengthy response times

Imagine what that can do for your customer satisfaction (CSAT) rate. You can not only talk to your customers in their own native language, which increases satisfaction up to 72% according to a survey from the the International Customer Management Institute, but also reply much faster than before.

Skyscanner, for example, used to have a first-time response average of 17 hours and a customer satisfaction rating of around 75%. After using Unbabel Translate for Zendesk, an AI-powered, human refined translation approach, Skyscanner decreased its first-time response average from 17 hours to just 5 hours, and increased its customer satisfaction rating from 75% to 92%.

This solves the issue of multilingual customer support, turning a very complex process into a simple one. Companies will no longer have to turn to unscalable customer support solutions such as hiring native agents to match all the languages of their customers, or having offices in different countries to support those languages. Customer support agents will no longer take hours to translate and reply to messages, and will be able to focus on what really matters: providing the best possible customer experience.

This guest post was written by Vasco Pedro, Unbabel’s co-founder and CEO.

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