Talaera provides a personalized online business English coaching to employees at multinational companies. The platform’s founders Anita Anthonj and Mel MacMahon started the company after recognizing that there’s a sore need for a personalized Business English training program in the global marketplace.
WOW24-7 helps Talaera manage its customer service providing 24/7 technical support. In this conversation, Anita and Mel talk about their experience with WOW24-7.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your company and what it does.
A: Talaera is an online platform that provides Business English training to non-native English-speaking professionals. We’re a 4-year-old company based in New York. We work with global companies to help their employees do better with English communication in their workplace. We have clients all over the globe, including in the U.S., the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
Q: What strategies do you use to maximize learner engagement in the studying process?
A: Our 1:1 training is tailored to the individual needs of each employee and applicable to the workplace so we can make a maximum impact. Even our group courses are adjusted to companies’ needs. Our learning materials are up to date to make sure that we discuss topics that are relevant in the 2021 workplace, for example, how to send an email during a pandemic. It’s really important to us to make sure that each moment spent engaging with our platform, teachers and resources is valuable to our learners.
Q: For what purpose did you hire WOW 24-7?
A: We aim to provide high quality, real-time customer support to our users. Although our team is distributed globally it was still difficult for us to reliably cover all time zones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So at some point, it made sense for us to look for a solution. Any type of video conferencing can potentially come with a variety of technical issues (for example, a learner’s microphone not working) and we wanted our learners to get help in real time. It was important to us to support our learners with an instant response during a lesson.
Q: Why did you choose WOW 24-7 as your support outsourcing partner?
A: To be honest it was the only company that offered to meet the SLA in less than 1 minute. There are other reasons too. The pricing is pretty competitive and the coverage was 24/7. But for us, the most important thing was the immediate response and follow-up time. It’s not ok just to respond within 60 seconds and then leave customers waiting for 5 minutes. We want the problem to be resolved within 3 or 4 minutes. And there was a belief that WOW24-7 would be able to meet that requirement.
Q: Did you have any difficulties in communicating with our agents?
A: We had a couple of problems early on. English is not a native language of Ukraine, but it is the language of most global businesses so all of our customers communicate in English. Initially, the level of English was good but not great. Because we’re an English language training platform it’s very important to us that everyone representing us communicate clearly. We enrolled our WOW support team in one of our customer service English training group courses and haven’t had many issues since. Communication is great across the board.
Q: Based on your experience, do you think it’s a good idea to outsource a customer support service?
A: If customer support is not your core confidence – yes. But you have to be very careful with how you outsource customer support because it is often the first interaction that a customer has with your company. One thing that we like about working with WOW24-7 is that there’ve been a lot of open ears. Whenever there is a request it’s just taken on immediately. It’s just amazing.
Also, we like that we have a consistent team working for us. They understand us and they’ve been very responsive to our needs. We asked them to do an English language and culture training program that was designed specifically for customer support and their ability to interact with customers was much better. The customer feedback that we got on our customer support (which is your customer support) was very good after that. The team has been extremely responsive and flexible all along.
Q: In what ways did WOW 24-7 help you improve your business?
A: The big thing for us is that they’ve allowed the rest of our team to reduce the pressure of responding rapidly to our customers. That’s helped us to be more effective as a team. Providing different layers between frontline support and more advanced technical support has also been helpful. We were providing good customer service before hiring WOW24-7. It’s just that now we’re able to focus on things other than just customer support.
Q: What do you like the most about working with WOW 24-7?
A: The fact that the team remains the same. Sometimes you might not know all the individuals of your outsourced customer support team. But we know the 5 or 6 people who work with us and there have only been one or two names that have come and gone in the last year. That allowed us to maintain a very tight relationship with them on Slack. Whenever agents don’t know exactly how to answer a question they got from a customer, they post a message on Slack and our engineer, product or marketing member provides them with an answer. Having that tight loop when we know the names of individuals who are answering questions allows us to guide the type of feedback that we wanted.
Some team members are more customer savvy than others. So since we know these individuals by name, we can work with them and play to their strengths. The WOW24-7 service feels like a very tailored solution. Working with WOW24-7 and having the same people has just been a fantastic experience. Everybody’s involved and so it doesn’t feel so anonymous. The team really has been very hands-on. It feels like they’re living the customer support that we’re asking of them. So that’s been really great.
Q: Are there any areas for improvement?
A: We would like to continue working on how to respond better in more tricky situations. These responses can vary from culture to culture and we think that there are ways to navigate some of these situations a little more elegantly than happens today, which is just a training thing. We had an instance just recently when one of your agents had a challenging customer. He did such an awesome job and was able to defuse the situation. So we think everybody can learn this skill.