89: Cross-cultural Support with Simone Secci

89: Cross-cultural Support with Simone Secci

Simone Secci shares how what he has learned from the movies: that “adaptation” is a far more meaningful approach to dealing with a global customer base than just relying on “translation”.


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, welcome to Episode 89 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. Simone Secci, it’s lovely to have you back. The topic for this week is cross cultural support. And I would love to spend the next five or six minutes talking to you about how we help customers, all parts of the globe.

Simone Secci 0:48
Thank you. It’s nice to be back. The easiest response to that is that we help them by speaking that language right but also that can mean different things. For example, the media industry, reference to two translation of a language into another, for example, with subtitles with equally adaptation. And so adaptation means, you know, also adapting all the cultural reference from a language to another, which is a very different process. And I think that when we, you know, when we support customers, we have to do a little bit of prep work and adapting customers from different countries to get into that mindset of thinking, what their context is, and in especially if we are talking to them in sort of like a lingua franca like a language that we both speak but but will not need they have in their language, you know, so in my case will be for example, you know, English is my second language. And if I’m talking to a Swedish person in English, for us, it’s both like a conductor, but it’s not our culture. And so what is the implication there, right.

Charlotte Ward 1:57
I think that’s a really interesting word to use right at the start. This that it is an adaptation and the actual language translation slash adaptation. You’re absolutely right is only part of this, isn’t it? We can attempt the multilingual aspect of support directly, but there is so much more adaptation we need to do. Beyond finding that common language. There’s also a lot of cultural adaptation. and linguistically, we’re talking about some sense of like, idiom and things like that, but we are. So yeah, we are also and I think you’re absolutely right. Talking about understanding the customer context, which is really a huge part of this, isn’t it?

Simone Secci 2:39
Yeah, for sure. And I think my Saigon experience in support fro though I went from support in person when I was working in tourism, dealing with people from all different places in the world and locals and so you have this stark contrast between people that live in a city and they expect you to understand no Like the backhoe, you know, the palm of your hand. And people from like, from other places that just, you know, are looking for directions and understanding how to get where they want to get all and you get a sense of another aspect of this expectation. Right. And so this is another interesting subject about what we were talking about before, what these expectations of of service in different cultures,

Charlotte Ward 3:28
do you think those expectations are mostly derived from the customer context? Or are they actually analyse driven or is that are the layers of complexity there

Simone Secci 3:40
are several layers of complexity. And so when I transition from the person support to the to the written support, and it becomes a little bit more complex, you don’t have the same clothes you have when you have somebody in front of you. And so you have to learn to read through read between the lines and to get elements from the context that you get from you know, an email within an Help Desk and some you know, and you and you start to look for clues like the to understand what that person is from you look for all these clues and then if you have a little bit of an open understanding of different languages without knowing them, you know that some languages have a formal way to address people. So, there is a level of their they come into place when people what what are people expecting from an interaction that derive from all this layering of interactions that they have in their life and their culture, and then they come to you and they bring in this baggage with them this this, you know, cultural upbringing. I think you’re right, though, I think

Charlotte Ward 4:56
we’re quite lucky in support that customers approach First, and those initial communications can give us a lot of clues as to how we should communicate with that customer on a very individual level.

Simone Secci 5:10
Yes, absolutely. It’s very similar to when you’re, when you’re learning a language and you you’re mimicking, what the the other person that you having a conversation with, is, is doing or saying, because you you’re not familiar with that language. So you’re trying to imitate that other person. And I think it’s a very good exercise to try to, to mimic and imitate the tone and and the motion and, and, you know, the point of view of customer and also brings you to a place of empathy from a cultural perspective or linguistic perspective, you’re pro champion. That way, you know, because you, you’re looking at what the context is, what the expectation is based on what you wear, you know about the culture we’ve put together, what are the elements that we that we have a little bit of experience.

Charlotte Ward 6:00
Right, we do. And I think you’re right that it’s actually I hadn’t really drawn that parallel before, but that responding to customers from different walks of life, different cultures, different languages, is really a huge act of empathy. And I think that’s the biggest thing is it’s a big effort in understanding and understanding what you can extract from any communication and, and actually, actually, I think we have to try and step away from the, the stereotypes that we’ve grown up with, right and I think we have to make that a very individual acts of understanding. That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/89 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai


A little disclaimer about the podcast, blog interviews and articles on this site: the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text and podcast belong solely to the author or interviewee, and not necessarily to any employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.