Unbabel provides real-time, AI-driven multilingual support for live customer service agents

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Recent studies reveal that more than two-thirds (69%) of global consumers believe it’s extremely or very important that brands offer an end-to-end customer experience in their native language. A multilingual end-to-end customer experience starts from the first touchpoint in the buying journey — a translated website, for example — to even after the product is sold — like customer service in their native tongue. 

However, this is just an added complexity for contact centers: it’s already daunting to deal with the major infrastructure and large head count required to keep a customer service center running, and if they wish for 24/7 coverage on a particular language, they’d need at least four people who spoke that particular language to cover shifts (which doesn’t account for any time off). 

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To address this issue, San Francisco, California-based Unbabel offers an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered language operations (langops) platform that helps businesses deliver a multilingual customer experience (CX) at scale. “Unbabel is building a language operations platform that helps every team across a company easily interact with customers in any language. We combine advanced artificial intelligence with human editors, for fast, efficient, high-quality translations that get smarter over time,” Vasco Pedro, Unbabel’s cofounder and CEO, told VentureBeat.  

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Unbabel focuses on omnichannel and mobile-first solutions to remain at the forefront of multilingual CX. The company partners with industry-leading CRMs such as Zendesk to offer high-quality multilingual integrations for multiple channels like chat, support and help centers — enabling companies to reach customers by any through channel they prefer. 

Some of Unbabel’s new integrations offer translations for consolidated views of all customer conversations – whether sent via social media, email, FB Messenger or WhatsApp – delivering consistent, omnichannel customer service in any language, with no disruptions to the agent workflow.

Unbabel uses a hybrid translation approach that combines AI with human editors, who ensure quality and who consistently work to update translation algorithms unique to a market’s or country’s language preferences, providing nuanced translations to all users at scale. 

Backed by $91 million in total funding, Unbabel works with global brands such as Booking.com, Nestle, Panasonic, Patagonia, UPS and more. 

Integrating conversational AI with multilingual customer service

Most recently, Unbabel announced a new partnership with Ada, a conversational AI platform that delivers hyper-personalized and automated customer support. This new partnership expands Ada’s offering, providing multilingual assistance to live agents and even more language capabilities to Ada-powered chatbots.

“We know that industry-leading brands look to differentiate from the competition by providing their customers with a VIP-level customer experience. However, with the state of the market today, brands are being tasked with doing this all while driving down bottom-line costs,” said Pedro. “The introduction of AI-driven solutions is one of the best ways for companies to increase efficiencies to walk this fine line. Ada is the industry leader in chatbots and conversational-AI solutions, and the value prop they deliver on meshes perfectly with what we are driving at Unbabel.”

Through complex automation, Ada’s chatbots help customers resolve their incidents faster and primarily without live-agent intervention. This deflection drives down cost while improving customer service experience. To the same tune, in the more complicated cases that need help from a live agent, Unbabel’s langops platform removes language barriers from the service equation. Rather than needing to hire agents based on language capabilities, brands leverage Unbabel to have English-speaking agents help customers in any language. 

Customers are able to have high-quality experiences in their native language, while brands can deliver without high hiring costs and worrying about occupancy/efficiency challenges. All customer interactions, whether handled by chatbots or live agents, take place in the same chat window, without the customer having to navigate to a different website or social channel. 

Together Unbabel and Ada aim to deliver on that value proposition of maintaining high-quality customer service experience while reducing costs through new efficiencies.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to expand our services with those who align with our shared vision, and Ada was a perfect fit,” said Pedro. “Together, we will help enterprises lower their costs and increase flexibility at an economic time when it matters most. We’re also empowering organizations to deepen their understanding of just how good their customer conversations are by reporting on the quality of every single translation.”

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