29% of businesses stated they have lost customers for not providing multilingual support, making the creation of a global support team key to business growth and success. Perhaps nobody understands this better than PayPal.
With 435 million worldwide users and counting, providing every single customer with multilingual service became a monumental task. From localizing its marketing efforts to being able to provide support in any language, PayPal’s journey to a carefully crafted global strategy involved a lot of lessons along the way.
To garner more insights, Josh Taylor, Director of Servicing Strategy at PayPal, and Violeta Swart, Webinar Host at Unbabel, came together to discuss what he’s learned from his experiences at PayPal and how other business leaders can approach customer service for global customers – allowing businesses to globally scale their support teams.
To further explore Josh’s tips and tricks on creating a global support team, we’ve pulled the highlights from the webinar, “Customer Heroes: PayPal’s Blueprint for Creating a Global Support Team” below.
Let’s dive in.
Choosing The Best Partner & Markets for Your Goals
Deciding which markets to enter and how best to support them can be a daunting choice, especially as a company goes global. On top of that, businesses must choose the right partners to help achieve these goals.
“I’ve been at PayPal ten years now, and so when we first started we had a significant number of partners and a lot of sites,” Josh shared. “We used to have 13 partners on the customer services side, and we had over 30 sites. Part of the strategy was to essentially rationalize some of that – we wanted to be in charge of our own destiny.”
To take control of that destiny, Josh encourages companies to truly analyze where they currently are, what partners they have, and how those partners are operating, then think about where the company wants its future to go and how those partners can help you get there.
In order to properly analyze the market and figure out where they can best fit in, “[PayPal] does a global RFP every three years in terms of our full customer service set,” Josh shared. “We see if there’s anything going really well, then we look at potentially where we can grow with a partner or use a new partner if things are not going so well. There are a lot more opportunities in terms of what we can do on the virtual side of things, which is what we’re definitely starting to leverage these days.”
Once a business has the right partners and has determined where they want to enter the market, Josh encourages leaders to turn to their websites.
According to Josh, “Language ability is key. We’ve worked in customer services and that’s one of the main things,” he stated. “And there are some idiosyncrasies in that. So for example, if you’re looking at the English language, what we look at is not just the possibilities of English in that country, but also is English taught in the schools in the country. If you’re looking at something like Guatemala where there are language schools but English isn’t taught in the actual school system versus something like Ghana, where English is taught in the school system. That obviously gives you a much bigger pipeline of opportunities as the schools progress.”
Beyond just language ability, Josh suggested that companies analyze everything from the economy of the country, exchange rates, inflation, dialect, and unemployment rates. Ultimately, Josh stated, this serves to determine, “What’s the overall cost for us doing this?”
Achieving Success in New Regions & Choosing the Right Vendors
Finding the right location and the right partner is key but achieving success is the name of the game.
“We look at a new partner as a much bigger piece of work and a much bigger investment than a site, to be honest,” Josh told Violeta. “We look at the tenure and the experience of the team and we look at account management.”
And while these requirements and qualifications are key, Josh shares that sometimes a cultural fit can be even more important and better guide a company to success.
“At the end of the day, you can go through all of the stats and all of the pricing and everything like that, but the key thing I think that we find internally as a group is ‘Could you work with this partner?’ Is it someone that gives you that warm feeling? That if times get tough and you start going through any issues, you can have an honest conversation and have a true partnership?
“What we’re seeing at the moment and saying to our partners is ‘Let’s keep working as a partnership,’” he continued. “‘Let’s keep working together and keep doing what you’re doing and keep basically performing.’ That’s key. And the best partners are the ones that completely understand that and we’ll work towards that.”
Multilingual customer service designed to meet a customer where they are is vital to business growth and success. According to a survey from CSA, 75% of consumers indicated they would become repeat customers if a brand offers multilingual customer care. Beyond hiring a talented and well-versed support team, Josh encourages businesses to focus on partners who take full advantage of digital tools and keeps up with the latest in technology.
“For example, Unbabel allows us to do lots of different languages in written languages from lower-cost locations that allow you that flexibility that was never there before,” Josh shared. “And there are new solutions coming out all the time. There are a lot of opportunities from the technology side. And we’re seeing this from the partners now.”