Global technology brand saves 51% in multilingual support with Unbabel

August 2, 2021


Providing exceptional customer service experiences across a range of languages is essential for a global enterprise company, but it can also be a major hurdle. That’s where Unbabel—the AI-powered translation solution built with Azure and connected with Dynamics 365 Customer Service—comes in. After finding success enabling fast-growing companies’ international expansion, Unbabel was ready to enter the enterprise market. Investment from M12 provided the support needed to break into the big time. Now, Unbabel is a critical tool for this global tech brand’s customer service team, currently handling 100% of the volume in 76 service lines.

About this Global Tech Brand

Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Alen, it quickly rose to dominate the personal computer market with Windows. Since the 1990s it has increased its portfolio and product offering to cover a wide range of consumer and enterprise software for desktops, laptops, tabs, gadgets, and servers. This brand is one of the most valuable publicly traded companies in the world, having reached the trillion-dollar market cap.

At a glance

  • 75 million customers
  • 143 billion USD revenue in 2020
  • Present in 211 countries

The challenge

Partnering to innovate customer service

By combining human intelligence with domain-adapted neural machine translation, Unbabel provides customer service agents with near real-time human-quality translations of written customer content. Unbabel initially worked with fast-growing smaller companies, but more established enterprise companies had many of the same challenges at a much larger scale. How could a small startup from Portugal move into the global enterprise market?

In 2018, Unbabel received investment from M12 and began working with the portfolio development team to facilitate this transition. “M12 took a dedicated business development approach in working with us,” says Edmund Ovington, Unbabel’s VP of Global Alliances. “M12 essentially became an extension of our team. With the capital it provided, we were able to grow, but most importantly, it opened a lot of doors for us.”

One of those doors led straight to a meeting room and a deal with the company’s own Customer Service and Support (CSS) team. Unbabel initially helped the CSS team deliver support for Office 365 to Chinese speakers via email and chat, and by September 2019, it was translating seven different languages across four lines of business for this global tech brand. Fast-forward to 2020, and Unbabel usage has expanded beyond the initial business case, currently handling 100% of the volume for email and chat in 76 language/product/scenario combinations.

Consistent quality support in every language

Before partnering with Unbabel, this global tech brand worked with several call centers around the globe that provided native-speaking customer agents. These global locations enabled the brand to cover many languages across different time zones, but the quality suffered and they felt they could improve the service provided to their customers.

Therefore, they wanted to evolve their solution.

The company’s main concern was to enable customers and vendors to self-serve while still delivering an amazing experience with speed, quality, and accuracy. The costs of hiring and training native speakers for all service lines meant that quality of service was widely inconsistent across languages.

Artificial and human intelligence, side by side

With Unbabel, the CSS team can support customers in any language and still stay focused on delivering expert service. This allows them to build more effective support networks and recruit for service experience and domain expertise instead of their language fluency. In addition, the CSS team can move away from costly, location-specific support centers towards a center of excellence model of streamlined teams of knowledgeable experts using Unbabel to support customers globally.

Their customers have already noticed the difference. The CSS team’s customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores for issue resolution rates improved measurably once the team deployed Unbabel.

“We’re utilizing English-speaking advocates in strategic hubs who are experts in their product and query-type to handle customers in Non-English languages.”

– Vincent O’Brien, EMEA Support Delivery Manager

After a successful pilot, they moved forward with full deployment of Unbabel across twelve of the company’s most common languages, including five major European languages and Chinese, Japanese and Russian.

“We have successfully served customers in more than 76 varying product/language/scenario type combinations, and we’re yet to see one we haven’t passed,” says Vincent O’Brien.

The solution

More languages equals more flexibility

That versatility has translated into vastly more agile operations, with support advocates using Unbabel to seamlessly cover language gaps during service peaks.

It’s been an empowering experience for support advocates, who can now extend the range of their expertise. With more senior advocates working across language markets, this global tech brand has met, and even exceeded the performance of native CS agents.

“Additionally, we’re utilizing English-speaking advocates in strategic hubs who are experts in their product and query-type to handle customers in Non-English languages,” says Vincent O’Brien.

The Unbabel effect

  • Outperformed the business case by 51%. During this year, they supported 496k customers via Unbabel.
  • Using Unbabel to support email and chat communications, in 4 query types, 7 consumer product lines, and 10 languages.
  • Handled customers across 76 LOB/Language/Scenario combinations, among which 55 combinations were 100% handled via Unbabel.
  • In some lines of business, the CSAT results were better than the historic native performance and better than MLGCS targets.

About the Author

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Content Team

Unbabel’s Content Team is responsible for showcasing Unbabel’s continuous growth and incredible pool of in-house experts. It delivers Unbabel’s unique brand across channels and produces accessible, compelling content on translation, localization, language, tech, CS, marketing, and more.