Panasonic translates customer service requests with AI

Stephanie Crets

Panasonic Corp. is a consumer brand that sells a variety of products – such as headphones, stereos, and cameras, as well as housewares and kitchen appliances – around the world. But its European headquarters has been inundated with requests for customer service – from customers speaking many different languages, says Bruce Swan, general manager of European customer service.

Panasonic’s customer service team, which focuses on helping customers configure products and answering questions about product features and functionality, found it difficult to keep track of all tickets in several different languages, in particular those from Dutch-speaking and Nordic countries. Customer service agents struggled to translate emails quickly while writing helpful responses in the same language. Because of this, Panasonic only responded to about 50% of customer service emails received in a 24-hour period, Swan says, without revealing the number of requests.

The electronics retailer admitted it needed help with email communications with its customers in the summer of 2019. It turned to artificial intelligence language provider Unbabel to help its customer service team. to better help customers who did not speak English. The retailer refused to share the cost of the investment.

“We needed written communication around a high level of trust that supported natural language processing and interpreted what customers were saying in a way that made sense,” says Swan.

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