Last month I was in Greece with some clients. We visited the office in Athens and took a look around at what the team there is doing. It’s an impressive centre that recently won a major award from the Best Place To Work Institute, but what was most impressive to everyone on the tour was the diverse nature of the team.
Athens is one of our Multilingual Euro Hubs – a customer service centre where we collect together many different language capabilities. This is great for customers in Europe as they can go to a single customer service team and get all the various languages they need in one place, rather than needing to operate several centres all over Europe.
I think the most questions came when we were in a Norwegian speaking area. An entire team of agents was busy talking to customers in Norway in Norwegian in a contact centre with a view over the sights of ancient Athens. This was repeated a number of times with various teams operating in various languages.
Eventually one of the guests asked how it’s possible to recruit so many foreign language speakers in Greece. It was a good question as our multilingual hub in Athens serves customers in 35 different languages. That’s also across multiple channels on social media, not just voice calls.
The truth is that people go to the jobs. If we need people in Athens with fluent Norwegian or German speaking skills then it may be possible to find a few local people, but not many. Mostly what happens is that people in these countries apply remotely for the job in Greece. Working in the sun in Greece at one of the best places to work in the entire country draws people from across Europe and it allows us to service customers in dozens of languages with native speakers all from one location.
We have a few other hubs around Europe, such as in Lisbon and Maastricht, but it was really interesting to see how the visitors to Athens reacted. Many of them were nodding in agreement with the agents who had moved from their home country searching for a great job opportunity in a fantastic location.
Creating a multilingual hub demonstrates something important in my opinion as we normally think of global business meaning tasks can be sent around the work to people. Sometimes the people come to the tasks. In this case, a fantastic mix of people from all over Europe are serving clients in 35 languages all from a single location and winning awards too – that’s quite an achievement.
If you have a question on multilingual hubs please leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.
Photo by Valoism licensed under Creative Commons.