Language is the number one reason why customer service organizations can’t maintain message consistency. That’s one of the insights provided in machine translation provider Unbabel’s 2021 customer service market research report. Released February 21st, the survey gathered information from customer service experts at 200 food and beverage, retail, consumer packaged goods (CPG), tech, and financial services companies in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany.
Roughly 88% of those surveyed had purchased translation in the past with most “cobbling together a mix of native speakers, outsourcing, and [artificial intelligence] AI-powered translation tools,” according to the report, with more purchasing experience among the British and American — versus German — respondents. Around 40% of those polled across all three countries had hired in-house in-language support agents to handle their companies’ multilingual customer service needs.
As an MT provider, Unbabel’s survey focused more heavily on technology, sharing that nearly 79% of respondents find artificial intelligence (AI) powered solutions very or extremely valuable. The report did not provide similar data for human translation or for machine translation + post-editing (MT+PE).
In a related presentation not included in the publicized results, Unbabel revealed what these buyers need on a much more detailed level. From a translation management system, customer service execs said they most need the ability to add new languages for translation; to deliver completed translation across new channels such as email, chat, and social media; to customize translation to match corporate branding, templates, and scripts; to manage “different linguistic use cases;” and to manage their own pool of translators. Self-serve was most important in the United States. Across all three countries, MT was most important for live chat as opposed to other source material.
In buying all translation software, American respondents noted speed as the most important feature, the British require data security, and German executives said personalization — a feature the Americans listed last.