We started Unbabel in 2013 with the goal of making the world a place without language barriers. A place where everyone could understand and be understood. In any language. Anywhere in the world.
As we developed the technology and product, we realized that depending on where you were born, and the languages you spoke, the level of customer service available to you differed vastly — from 24/7 support in your own native language to complete unavailability.
This is what we started referring to as the customer service gap. We fundamentally believe that everyone in the world should have access to the same level of customer service, and even though language is a key component of that service, we quickly realized that there was a large set of elements that need to be addressed in order to reduce this customer service gap.
Serving the customer can’t be the last item on an operational wishlist — it should be at the heart of every business’ value proposition, with customer-centric product development, marketing, operations, and sales. Every employee should be able to put themselves in the customers’ shoes, to understand their needs and challenges, deliver products and services that enable scalability and operational efficiency, and engage in conversations that are meaningful to them.
At Unbabel, we believe this is the definition of customer centricity. And to reduce the customer service gap, it is vital that companies across the world embrace a customer-centric perspective and focus on the different aspects of the customer journey, its impact on their customers, and their experiences across the globe.
A new chapter
As we tried to find the right platform to talk about this problem, and to learn from the best people in the world how to excel in customer centricity, we came to the conclusion that the kind of forum we were looking for didn’t exist.
So we decided to be part of the solution. We want to create the space where the global discussion on customer centricity can move forward.
We started out with two core beliefs.
The first is that business insights are only useful in the broader context of human interactions and emotional life. Everyone deserves a good customer experience, no matter where they live, or the languages they speak. We rely on technology to provide the best possible customer experience, but there’s no integration for empathy, no API for increasing emotional intelligence, and certainly no substitute for high quality conversation.
The second is that people aren’t one-dimensional beings, and no area of knowledge operates independently. It’s not uncommon for a developer to be interested in how the Editorial Team manages content, or for Sales people to be curious about how design can be used to problem solve. Customer centricity is a reflection of that cross-functionality.
We started with the Customer Centric newsletter, a special bulletin with hand-picked content, business insights, and a dollop of whimsy, covering both applied issues, such as dealing with peak seasons or introducing thoughtful automation in the organization, and more complex, human issues: humor’s role in customer service, bias, the future of AI. We were exploring anything and everything that would bring us a bit closer to understanding what it means to be a customer-centric business. And people became interested. Really interested.
Customer Centric was growing before our eyes. We wanted to leave our comfort zone — to explore new formats, bring in new perspectives, and create more content that is every bit as practicable as it is emotionally engaging and intellectually ambitious.
We’re following the newsletter with the Customer Centric Podcast, a channel where we will explore what it means to be a customer centric business, and bring humanity back to the customer experience, one conversation at a time.
And now — thirty-one newsletters, thousands of subscribers, and seven months later — we’re announcing something completely different.
Introducing the Customer Centric Conference
It’s my absolute pleasure to announce that, on June 6, we’re gathering 100 of the fiercest customer advocates in Lisbon’s historic center to celebrate the ideas, technology, and the people who are changing the customer experience at its core. The first edition of the Customer Centric Conference — CCC, for short — will give attendees the chance to network with a community of like-minded peers, and spend a full day participating in panels, discussions, workshops, and sessions on cutting edge trends that will provide insights into building a memorable, responsive and operationally efficient customer experience.
Bringing together ideas and people, the best of digital and analog, human and machine, CCC ’19 is a meeting of the brightest minds in customer service who want to break down barriers so that everyone across the world has access to great support.
Where customer experience meets Lisbon’s traditional festivities
We’re hosting the first edition of the Customer Centric Conference in Suspenso, a converted centuries-old foundry in the heart of Lisbon, overlooking the Tagus river.
The place embodies the unexpected affinities at the heart of our mission, blending the traditional with the industrial, history with innovation.
But it’s not just about the place — it’s about the time of year, too. Once a year, throughout the month of June, Lisbon celebrates Santos Populares, the city’s most iconic celebration.
The celebration sees Lisbon transform into a city of parades and dances, adorned with colorful streamers and tinsels. Fresh sardines and strips of pork are grilled street-side, with the scent of manjericos wafting from window sills and markets. The city comes to life with the medley of sights, sounds, aromas, as the season marches towards the longest, brightest days of the year.
We’ll recreate the neighborhood feel with great conversation over local food, drink, and music, so you can experience Lisbon’s most cherished tradition. But we don’t want to ruin the surprise just yet. In the following weeks, we’ll let you in on all the details. In the meantime, you can register and find all the information at customercentric.unbabel.com.
We hope we can count on you.
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