Panasonic Corp. is a consumer brand manufacture that sells a variety of products—such as headphones, stereos and cameras, as well as home goods and kitchen appliances—around the world. But its European headquarters was inundated with customer service requests—from customers who spoke many different languages, says Bruce Swan, European customer care general manager

Panasonic’s customer care service team, which focuses on helping customers set up products and answering questions about product features and functionalities, found it challenging to keep up with all the tickets in several different languages, particularly from those in Dutch and Nordic-speaking countries. Customer service agents struggled to translate emails quickly while also crafting helpful responses back in the same language. Across Europe, Panasonic answered over 90% of customer’s emails within 24 hours; the exceptions being Nordics and Dutch, which were at about 50%, says Swan.

The electronics retailer recognized it needed help for its email communications with customers in summer 2019. It tapped artificial intelligence language vendor Unbabel to help its customer service team better assist customers who didn’t speak English. The retailer declined to share the cost of the investment.

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

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