Last week Lionbridge Technologies, a language translation and marketing services company, announced a broadening of its real-time translation platform Geofluent with an offering that brings automated multi-lingual, multi-channel support to the contact center. The SaaS tool integrates with contact center platforms and CRMs to automatically translate interactions across all communication channels, including virtual and agent assisted chat, email, social, and SMS as well as internal tools like knowledge bases. The Lionbridge Geofluent tool is built on years of expertise with manual labor-intensive translation services in 92 languages. Lionbridge is paying attention to carefully replicating cultural and human nuance within machine translation, since this will have a significant impact on the customer experience.
With these advancements in automation and self-service, it will only be a matter of time before tools like GeoFluent take on a greater role in augmenting agent assisted delivery, rounding out the “balanced” shore approach that most contact center BPOs take to delivering the tremendous task of delivering customer service in many languages for its global customers.
For example, UK-based gaming company PKR used Geofluent to mitigate its challenges of long wait times, dissatisfied customers and account cancellations. Gaming companies are exceptionally dependent on chat, using this channel to onboard customers and transition from free to paid accounts. However, PKR was finding it difficult to match foreign language demand with agent availability and recognized that the problem would only intensify as it sought to expand into new markets. Hiring multi-lingual agents or multiple native-speaking agents in each target country would be costly and difficult to attract and retain. In addition, it would be challenging to deliver 24/7 support as well as managing SLAs during peak times. PKR began using GeoFluent to deliver multi-lingual capabilities across French, Italian, German, Danish, Russian, and Spanish, and now the majority of non-English chats are now delivered using GeoFluent. Employing this solution to augment PKR’s labor force resulted in reduced labor costs by 30% (e.g., eliminated overtime costs to cover language gaps), decreased wait times by 35%, stabilized customer satisfaction ratings and created flexibility in shift structuring.
Geofluent is a prime example of using automation to empower talent; for example, routing an interaction the agent best equipped handle the issue, rather than just an agent who speaks the customer’s language.Geofluent can save time and effort once it is up and running, and a key element of it’s appeal is that it is “plug and play”—most companies can use APIs to connect to existing systems and be online after a couple of weeks spent on customization for brand and industry linguistics. Traditional contact center operators not investing in technology platforms may find this capability to be a “sneak attack” as they continue with labor-heavy offshore/nearshore language delivery instead of investing in more automation. It will be interesting to watch how tools such as Geofluent are adopted by the traditional contact center BPO industry—this should be a key target segment for Lionbridge’s Geofluent tool.
This type of offering could be a potential game-changer for contact center operations. Right now this seems to be most applicable to either agent assisted or virtual chats; there will be work to do to drive adoption in the other channels, as well as to mature the replication of human and cultural nuances. As most companies adopt channels piecemeal, and with the added complexity of connecting the appropriate back and front-end systems, most customer interaction efforts are a way off from being truly “omni-channel.” Maintaining a strong focus on the end goal – improving customer experience—will be critical for Lionbridge as it further develops and delivers this solution.
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