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How Pinterest keeps a lean team and great international customer service with Unbabel

Pinterest launched in March 2010 and is now one of the biggest places on the web to save and discover ideas. Within the last six years it managed to grow the number of users (or rather Pinners) to an astounding 100 million monthly active Pinners. Pinterest is the world’s catalog of ideas where people save content from around the web to personalized boards, and discover more ideas from others with similar interests. With more than 75 billion Pins, Pinterest has ideas for all interests, including style, recipes, parenting and more.

It’s personal

Pinterest: Home to boards filled with idyllic wedding decorations, flawless red velvet cupcakes, and impeccable DIYs. Your life never looked so good as it does on Pinterest — or at least it gives you some great ideas on where to start.

Pinners know that Pinterest is all about the personal experience and creating a visual representation of their own intimate desires and preferences when envisioning a specific theme.

Given the intimate nature of its experience, Pinterest felt the need to localize its business. With that localization came the need to communicate with Pinners in different languages and the need to offer a customer experience which would reflect the platform’s personal experience with accuracy and speed.

It’s so frustrating when we have a simple question that takes hours or even days to get answered, so speed is understandably one crucial aspect that Pinterest didn’t want to give up. To maintain a personalized yet fast customer service, Pinterest is constantly working on ways to find the right balance between personalization and automation.

While the team uses templates for questions that are asked repeatedly to keep the service fast and efficient, sometimes it just doesn’t feel right to simply copy and paste an answer and send it back to a Pinner. To preserve a personal touch, the team is encouraged to add their own notes to complement their answers. Being able to answer support tickets in multiple languages makes the interaction even more personal — and answering with Unbabel’s integration for Zendesk makes it even faster.

Scaling with a lean team

One question immediately pops up: how can you offer amazing customer service in multiple languages without constantly hiring new multilingual people for your team?

Keeping on scaling while maintaining a lean Customer Service team is a big challenge, and it’s no different for Pinterest — especially when we realize that their platform is offered in 28 different languages. If you’re offering your service in 28 different languages, you need to have a Customer Service team that will communicate in them. But does it mean you need to have 28 different agents?

No. Even if you wanted and could grow your team, hiring one person for each language is not enough — it would mean that whenever that agent takes a few days off, Pinners who seek support in that language wouldn’t get the help they needed in the time they expected, resulting in very frustrated users.

There is also the opposite problem: having a big multilingual team while also having an unbalanced number of tickets for some languages — is it really worth hiring a Turkish agent when you only get 10 tickets a week in Turkish? Not really, right?

With Unbabel for Zendesk, Pinterest’s Customer Service team can scale without growing the number of agents on their team — this way they can find the right balance between accessibility and keeping the team lean.

All international tickets are answered by the team of 5 in-house agents who use Unbabel for Zendesk. Being able to simply hire amazing Customer Service agents without being restrained by the language factor helps Pinterest scale and improve customer satisfaction without growing the number of agents on their team.

Hiring excellent agents and not excellent translators helps Pinterest focus on the most important task at hand: helping Pinners and keeping Pinterest’s Customer Service in tip-top shape. And that’s what Pinterest does — Community Specialists in the Customer Service team go through weeks of training, learning how to answer all questions, rather than just specializing in certain types of tickets. This way, when a ticket arrives, someone who can help the Pinner is always available.

Why Unbabel?

The Pinterest team is busy with tickets — with 100 million monthly active Pinners, last quarter they answered tens of thousands of them. The priority is to automate the process as much as possible — this way the Pinners will be able to get the answers they need faster. But the team is also working on improving another important metric — quality.

Providing responses in a user’s native language definitely helps improve Customer Satisfaction levels across different languages. Another advantage of Unbabel for Zendesk app is how easy it is to use. Training new agents takes time, but showing them how to use the Unbabel app takes 5 minutes, so it’s not making the onboarding process of new agents more complicated, it’s actually making it easier.

Being able to scale and cover an international Customer Service is the key reason Pinterest decided to use Unbabel. Localization is a key ingredient to providing users with amazing, personalized experience, but it has to go beyond just translating the website; answering multilingual support tickets in users’ native languages can result in great levels of customer satisfation.

That’s why as Pinterest keeps growing in different markets, it’s constantly improving their multilingual customer service operations. No wonder the huge base of over 100 million monthly active Pinners keeps growing every day.

Even with a small customer service team, you can give your customers amazing care in their native language. This will help you build both trust and loyalty.

Discover how easy our AI-powered, human-refined solution can help you provide cost-effective multilingual customer support across your digital channels and request a demo today.

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