Multilingual Hubs – When Two Heads Are Not Better Than One

The phrase ‘two heads are better than one’ is commonly accepted in the context of collaborative working and idea sharing, but when it comes to maintaining service consistency and reducing costs in a multilingual contact centre environment, the fewer heads the better. And Netflix’s recent announcement that it would be creating 400 multilingual roles in its customer contact centre in the Netherlands is evidence that multilingual ‘heads’ are highly prized.

Leading global customer experience provider, Webhelp, has invested heavily in a robust solution to meet the language, cost and service challenges of its clients. To do this, Webhelp has augmented its portfolio of single language sites by creating multilingual hubs in strategic locations as part of a transformational approach to delivering outstanding customer service it terms ‘Bestshoring’.

Determining the right multilingual strategy – whether that means full service, service consolidation or shifting to digital channels for example – becomes that much easier when established locations and skilled teams are available and ready to speak the customer’s language. Bestshoring leverages Webhelp’s customer management expertise and infrastructure to deliver high quality multilingual, multichannel conversations that maximise cost efficiency and deliver scalability and flexibility.

Matthieu Bouin, director of strategy and new lines of business at Webhelp, said: “As more and more businesses have an international customer base, the ability to offer round the clock consistent customer experiences in the language and channel of the customer’s choice is becoming increasingly important. Much is made of the need to communicate with customers via the channel of their choice. Webhelp takes that one step further and offers the ability to communicate with customers via the channel and in the language of their choice, backed up by the inherent benefits of our robust operational footprint.”

Webhelp employs almost 2,000 multilingual advisors in hubs in Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic and can offer clients a consistent level of service across a range of different languages.

Athens, Enschede, Lisbon, Stuttgart, Bucharest and Prague were chosen by Webhelp because of a sustainable supply of people with exceptional language skills, combined with a strong work ethic and customer service orientation. In addition, these attractive cities offer excellent infrastructure, local and economic support, and strong transportation links.

From each multilingual hub, Webhelp can handle up to 23 languages depending on the location. The languages currently available are: French, English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Arabic, Danish, Norwegian, Italian, Finnish, Turkish, Polish, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Czech, Croatian/Bosnian/Serbian, Hungarian, Greek, Romanian, Slovak, Hebrew, and Lebanese. These languages can all be delivered across multiple channels including voice, email, videoconferencing, social, chat, forums, back office and self-service.

The actual Bestshoring ‘fit’ for clients depends on the scale and nature of customer demand. If the customer base is large, but most or all of them speak the same language and are located in the same country, one site where one language is spoken could also be an ideal solution, rather than a multilingual hub. This location can be on-, near-, or offshore, depending on factors such as cost, cultural considerations and interaction complexity. Webhelp has a large number of single language sites to cater for native language speaking requirements and therefore these tend to be based in the country where the language is most widely spoken; for instance, French from Rabat, English from Glasgow or South Africa, and German from Dortmund.

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK said: “The quality, scalability, flexibility, resilience and cost benefits of a Bestshoring strategy for our clients are clear and proven. But our people benefit too. Gone are the days when a job as a contact centre advisor wasn’t considered a viable career option. We are proud to offer educated and qualified people rewarding, long-term careers and the ability to use their language skills to deliver great customer experiences. In addition to promotion opportunities, one of the benefits of Webhelp’s global footprint is that our people can make location choices too. We are delivering so many languages from so many different hubs that this opens up possibilities for our people to travel, experience new cultures, and even to relocate.”

It’s time to forget the outdated practices of offshoring as a means of offering cheaper customer experiences – far too often at the expense of customer satisfaction. A well-tailored Bestshoring solution allows organisations to reap cost benefits while increasing levels of customer satisfaction through delivering consistent levels of service and native, or near native, language skills across multiple channels.

To read our white paper on the subject click here