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Unbabel Eliminates Linguistic Challenges and Enables Seamless Customer Care for Panasonic

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“Unbabel empowers our customer care team to provide Panasonic customers in Europe with an in-depth understanding of their concerns and the means to communicate a response uniquely tailored to their needs. Now, we provide our customers with a unified and outstanding experience regardless of the language they speak.”

— Bruce Swan, European Customer Care General Manager

At a Glance 

With a strong presence in Europe, Panasonic knows the importance of providing value and consistent service to its customers across products, languages, and cultures without compromising on quality. Their focus has, therefore, firmly remained on establishing genuine rapport with their customers. However, contextual differences, linguistic obstacles, and disenfranchised stakeholders stood in the way of seamless and unified customer experience. To empower their agents with the language and translation support they needed to offer excellent email service, Panasonic turned to Unbabel. Unbabel helped Panasonic reduce costs of customer service operations in five languages (Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian) by 60%, while doubling service levels. After implementing Unbabel, the customer care team saw its overall service level performance improve by 100 percent.

About Panasonic Corporation

For over a century, Panasonic has been a household name, with its wide array of electric and electronic products: home appliances, car navigation systems, digital devices, computer peripherals, telecommunications, and industrial equipment, to name a few. As of 2021, Panasonic has acquired 15 other companies around the world, expanding its family of products and companies globally and across borders.

Company Highlights

  • Founded in 1918
  • 2.38 billion dollars (259.9 billion yen) in capital stock
  • 259,385 employees worldwide
  • 529 consolidated companies
  • 68.65 billion dollars (7,490.6 billion yen) in net sales

The Challenges

Panasonic is on a mission to transform its service delivery model from a transactional one into a more customer-centric approach. This requires an overhaul of how agents connect with customers: Rather than simply answering queries, the support team must now have meaningful conversations. This involves training the agents to help customers get the most from Panasonic’s array of products and to suggest Panasonic goods or services that would vastly improve end-user experience — in every language. 

Even if agents could be trained to respond empathetically to customer queries, the biggest obstacle to this vision was the sheer scope of their customer service operations. Panasonic’s European Customer Care team provides service in 23 languages to users in 24 European countries. Many frontline representatives in this team are based in Eastern Europe and are proficient in at least one language other than their native language. Even so, gaps in communication and linguistic barriers had a major impact on the quality of customer care. The Dutch language is particularly complex and nuanced, especially once different dialects or slang are introduced. With various language and cultural differences coloring their communication, it was not easy for the agents to build a natural connection with every customer.

To achieve their long-term goal of customer-centric service, Panasonic has had to prioritize building a culture around adding value to communication. Customer service must no longer be perceived as a cost center; it was an opportunity to drive value and build customer loyalty. And this strategy was not something that could be accomplished alone. It was crucial to bring key stakeholders and outsourcing partners together. And they also needed to be equipped with the right resources to become a unified task force — dedicated ambassadors of Panasonic — who could embody this new ideal of customer-first service. Building a team of agents based on their language skills or training native speakers in every European language was neither scalable nor cost-effective. What Panasonic needed was the flexibility to evaluate representatives based on their customer service skills. 

After extensive research and trying out several automated solutions, Panasonic’s European Customer Care decided that they needed something more than a simple translator: They needed a holistic language operations solution that combined machine as well as human intelligence for fast, accurate, and thoughtful results.

The Solution

With the focus shifting to providing seamless care and building authentic relationships with customers, Panasonic partnered with Unbabel to solve written communication challenges in several European languages and optimize email service delivery in specific countries.

An end-to-end language operations solution like Unbabel supports Panasonic’s translation requirements seamlessly and becomes their partner in offering excellent customer service. Unbabel’s robust AI algorithms coupled with a community of experienced human editors ensures that the translations are always delivered on time and with top-notch quality. And another of Panasonic’s greatest priorities is protecting customers’ data and privacy. In keeping with the expectations, Unbabel’s secure cloud-based solution passed every test.

The first major step in deployment was feeding a glossary of key terms, common phrases, product names, and acronyms into Unbabel’s translation engine. Unbabel’s community of translators also got a firm grasp of real-world customer communications through email samples. Rigorous user acceptance testing and trial emails rounded out the process. This helped with evaluating translation quality, revising the settings, and continuously training the algorithms. As expected, the Dutch language proved to be a challenge early on. However, with feedback from Panasonic’s internal agents, Unbabel tweaked the algorithms to vastly improve Dutch translations. The process, overall, was transparent and efficient.

Encouraged by Unbabel’s success in the Nordic countries, Panasonic soft-launched the service in Bulgaria, Poland, and the Czech Republic. The Unbabel team continues to refine and fine-tune translations in all eight languages. Plus, the comprehensive metrics in the Unbabel Portal — the platform where customers can access all their Unbabel-related insights — such as response times and word counts, help agents enhance communication and simplify their writing to make it easier for customers to understand.

With plans to explore real-time, live chat with Unbabel in the future, Panasonic credits its impressive customer experience metrics to its scalable pool of agents who could leave the complex translations to Unbabel and focus on what they do best: delight customers.

“Unbabel's team has helped us every step of the way. They were hyper-engaged throughout the process, full of energy and enthusiasm. My customer care team works fast. We operate at a very high level and embrace agile methodologies. Unbabel's team matched us step for step and continues to support us with the same level of intensity.”

— Bruce Swan, European Customer Care General Manager 

 

Unbabel’s Impact

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) has remained high since implementing Unbabel
  • Reduced costs of providing support in five languages (Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian) by 60%
  • Reduced costs of training reps in Sweden 
  • Doubled service levels
  • Saw the overall service level performance improve by 100 percent