87: Cross-cultural Support with Ulrike Pitzschke

87: Cross-cultural Support with Ulrike Pitzschke

Hilary Dudek leads a support team in central Europe, and provides support in 20 languages! Here she talks about how she figures out each customers’ expectations and responds to that.

I’d love your thoughts on this episode! Comment below, and like/love/share/support if you found this inspiring, thought-provoking, or useful!

Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 87 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is cross cultural support. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome back to the podcast today Ulrike Pitzschke. It’s lovely to have you back and you’re here today sat in the middle of Europe to talk about cross cultural support.

Ulrike Pitzschke 0:44
Yeah. Hi. Thanks for having me.

Charlotte Ward 0:46
So Ulrike. Currently, your team has to be quite the sort of cultural gymnasts, don’t they? I guess.

Ulrike Pitzschke 0:54
Yeah, that’s absolutely true. We have quite a few languages. caches, of course. And Yasuo already supports about 20 languages. So there’s a lot of multilingual topics and a lot of caches mixing in. And of course, I found that if an agent has the same cultural background as the user, it’s very helpful because they just not only speak the same language, but they also know how to deal with the customer in terms of how to approach them. For example, English speaking customers, they add, they’re really used to like that you hold their hand and take them through the process, be friendly and nice, even if they are not so nice. So it’s really about the attitude, which is super important. And obviously, you could be successful with de escalation if you do some more talking That’s what we found. And it’s completely different for German users, German users, usually, especially if they pay for something and something doesn’t work, then they usually just want to vent about it. So they’re really putting their emotions in it. And they really need to communicate how they are feeling. But they don’t expect you to like, get back and do some more talking and try to de escalate. They just want a solution for that problem. So yeah, they also have to feeling that their individual opinion is very important. And you just approach it accordingly. Yeah, so that’s basically the difference between English and German users.

Charlotte Ward 2:42
Yeah, yeah. I think I think as an English person, and as a German person, I think we’re allowed to sit here and I did say that right. But I think something you said a little bit earlier is absolutely true that if you have a shared cultural backdrop with your user data is the way it’s, it’s something that we actually used to see in call centres that were based overseas when that industry was really ramping up. And you were seeing attempts to train huge groups of people in another culture, attempting to enculturated things like an understanding of the local television soaps and things like that just to kind of, because actually, I think there is a recognition that this kind of backdrop, this cultural backdrop, it somehow promotes an empathy, doesn’t it between the two?

Ulrike Pitzschke 3:35
It does exactly. And that really makes it more likely that a conversation gets turned into something positive. If you have like the same, yeah, level of conversation, and I just found out actually when we hired our agent who speaks Italian and Spanish, and I just found a case she’s talking a lot, but that’s what the people want. So all the answers, we have Before probably we’re just way too straightforward for those groups of people and work very well for the Germans maybe, but maybe not so much for Italian, Spanish or English speaking people. And that’s also the reason why we are really looking for someone from France, because we’re still not 100% capable of dealing with French users. And then they also expect you to answer in French, even if they speak English, they don’t want you to answer in English, because they see it kind of as an offence, I think if you don’t speak their language, and that’s something we are currently working on. I’m trying to find someone who really understands this group of users, and really can help them in a way they would like it.

Charlotte Ward 4:49
One, one thing that has always concerned me I think, has always been a challenge is how you scale it because you could, you could hire someone in every geography you were in turned into support, but nobody has that kind of money to spare. And certainly not in support. We don’t have that kind of money to spare. If you have people who who can speak multiple languages, that’s one thing, but all of the other aspects that we talked about and the way that you talk to different customers, is it just a matter of educating your agents to recognise the customer type and behave in a certain way? Do you think?

Ulrike Pitzschke 5:24
Yeah, so that’s something we’re actually working on at the moment is like categorization of target groups, maybe how they are and how they expect you to work and how they expect you to answer. But maybe that helps a bit. But it’s easy to see that if you walk into a supermarket in Britain or in the US, you’re treated differently than in Germany. And that’s just something that basically reflects in support. I think, it’s really hard to just make it available theoretically and then ask the agents to do it on a daily basis.

Charlotte Ward 6:00
It’s quite difficult to measure as well, isn’t it? How do you measure the effectiveness of that? And how do you measure the effectiveness of the response you’re creating for that particular group? Mostly actually, the customer satisfaction. But more than that, I just sometimes I go through the tickets and just read what the agents replied and see, okay, that’s working very well. We’re always going to lag behind, we’re always going to be wanting to hire in the place where our customers are. We were selling to geographies, before we support those geographies, and so we’re always kind of lagging in our budgets and our hiring patterns. So I guess we’re always going to have to try and stretch those other cultures. That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/87 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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