Guest Blog: How Springer Nature expanded local language support to 24/7 Customer Service in 11 Languages

February 3, 2021

For more than 175 years, publisher Springer Nature has supported the world’s academic community by facilitating the creation and consumption of high quality significant research. From researchers and editors to academic societies, institutional librarians and institutions globally, our work involves all cornerstones of the academic ecosystem. It is one in which we are committed to serving effectively, consistently, sustainably and efficiently, ensuring that we continue to provide the services and tools needed to best support the dissemination and publication of high-quality research.  

As our engagement with a global audience has grown, we have adapted to ensure that we place effective strategies to meet the company’s growing multi-language requirements. One aspect of this has been our work with Unbabel.

The existing Customer Service (CS) team consisted primarily of English-language speakers at the 24/7 business process outsourcing (BPO) operation and native speakers in regional teams offering support in four languages during working hours. As we expanded our services, we increasingly wanted to leverage both the in-house teams and agents at Springer Nature’s BPO operations to ensure that we continued to provide world-class, around-the-clock support in all the required languages.

Our team considered tackling the challenge by recruiting more native-language speakers while also researching best-in-class translation services. Ultimately, it was Unbabel’s unique ability to seamlessly integrate with the company’s ticketing solution – while providing a mix of human translation and machine learning – that promised to take CS operations to the next level most efficiently.

We were particularly interested in the near real-time use of human translators that could combine quality with fast service-level agreements (SLAs). We looked at competitors but didn’t find another convincing combination of integration and quality that matched our needs so well.

Seamless Adoption & Expansion

Springer Nature typically handles approximately 40,000 tickets per month, 30 percent of which require more than one exchange with a customer. Success is measured through customer feedback, customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score (NPS), speed of response, overall ticket lifecycle, and the extent to which the Level 1 teams are able to resolve tickets successfully without needing to escalate to another team.

Before adopting Unbabel’s AI-powered language operations solution, we could only offer 24/7 email availability and responsiveness in English. After integrating Unbabel, we can now support our communities with 24/7 email availability in 11 languages. Just as significant as the addition of new languages, the service has enabled us to leverage the existing teams around the world to deepen our coverage of the languages we originally supported.

Happy Community, Happy Teams

When adopting a translation service, often the best feedback is no feedback. Customers should notice the quality of service in their native language, rather than the quality of the translation, and CS teams should be able to seamlessly integrate the new system without disruption.

As we hoped, the Unbabel integration was a non-event for customers and agents alike. Initially, there was skepticism about the quality levels that could be achieved, but quickly-growing confidence once Unbabel had been integrated into the workflow. And aside from occasional impressed comments, customers have been equally able to focus on the service itself.

Next, our team is continually working to improve their service, utilizing even more of Unbabel’s offerings. After looking to Unbabel’s mix of human editors and machine translation to translate Springer Nature’s predominantly English online support portal into German, we continue to build out our multi-language self-service offerings. Simultaneously, we hope that  Unbabel can help us to expand beyond email with live chat and messaging offerings in multiple languages.

Ultimately, Unbabel has enhanced service levels for our customers, increasing support and efficiency for our regional teams at the same time.

Want to learn more about how other organizations serve their global customer base with Unbabel? Read our Case Studies

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