At Babbel, our endgame is getting people to have conversations with other people, in a new language. There are fantastic folks here making that possible. In our “Behind The Scenes” series, we sit down with them to provide a glimpse into who makes it all work, what they do, and where their heads are at.
This round we’re talking to Valentina Pelos, Senior Customer Service Consultant.
What’s your role at Babbel? What do you do on a typical day?
I’m a Senior Customer Service Consultant for the Italian team. My main responsibility is to reply to user requests in my native language via email, phone and on social media platforms aligning constantly with my team. We all work together very closely in order to stay on top of things in Customer Service, and this is why I often give other teams a hand by replying to users in different languages outside of my own.
I also collaborate with CRM for upcoming subscription offers and with Product in regards to the Wishboard where I monitor and engage with users who request new features, courses and languages.
Where are you from and which languages do you speak?
I’m Italian and grew up in a little town in Northern Italy until I finished high school. After my graduation I came straight to Berlin to get some work experience and finally learn German, which I had taken for five years in school without much success. I fell in love with the German grammar, as it’s a complicated but well structured syntax with its melodic sounds (I know it sounds crazy!). So I decided to take on a Bachelor degree in historical linguistics with a focus on Germanic studies to better understand the development of this beautiful language.
Considering that I tend to fall in love with any language I start learning, I only speak Italian, English and German fluently. I haven’t given up completely on Czech yet and would still like to improve my Dutch. In the past years, I’ve been indulging in a new passion though, German sign language.
This is a pretty international workplace. How does that influence your work?
Working at Babbel gives me the precious chance to practice my languages and come in contact with so many different cultures on a daily basis. Customer Service is the perfect example of this microcosm: we are quite international ourselves and deal with users’ requests from all over the world. One always learns new things and this exchange is so fulfilling and motivating that it only boosts my work!
You have been at Babbel for over three years now. Talk to us about your experience here
I started in Customer Service actually in 2012 as a freelancer while studying and practicing other jobs. After that I was employed as a working student and the rest is history! I have always loved the special and collegial atmosphere we have in our department which makes working in Customer Service at Babbel a unique experience. I have known many of my colleagues for years and we have seen each other grow and develop. It really feels like a family away from home with an international touch. The people I engage with on a daily basis are obviously a key factor but I also enjoy the work we do because we have the opportunity to help users find their way to learn a new language successfully. It’s really rewarding being able to share your passion about languages with others and being of assistance in the process. I still love every bit of this job!
Can you give us some insight into how the Customer Service team ensures that all international learners receive an answer to their request?
Customer Service is made up of 75 amazing supporters devoted to help our users with their daily requests. Our department is set up in 8 different language teams based on the display languages offered at Babbel. Accordingly we provide customer service in the following languages: English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Swedish and Polish. Additionally, we have our own payment, technical and social media teams who are in close contact with the other departments at Babbel. The different internal support levels and the interdepartmental collaboration are the essential elements that enable us to promptly react to any rising issues or new features, and communicate this to our users.
What are some of the most frequently asked requests/questions you receive in the customer service department?
Uh! How much time do you have?! Well, we cover everything from payment related questions to technical issues. We also provide a certain guidance through the product by suggesting specific Babbel courses and referring users to our podcasts, magazine articles and the live AMA sessions on Facebook of the past months, and so much more. In one short sentence I would simply say: we do our best to give any user who gets in touch with us a precise and helpful answer.
What challenges are you most animated by?
Working in Customer Service is never boring or monotonous because we need to keep up to date with all the developments at Babbel, be it new features, courses or even issues. I’m really proud to say that we know the product through and through, but this is also the fruit of continuous learning, training and testing.
I also feel that our work encapsulates one of the mottos at Babbel aiming at “making the complicated simple”. We need to find the right balance to convey certain matters in the most accessible and effective way possible to all of our users. This can be particularly tricky if we lose touch with the people we are trying to help by expecting them to understand our savvy know-how.
I would say our work will always be challenging because technology and Babbel evolve and we need to keep up with that. Besides, it wouldn’t be any fun if there were no challenges in life.
Since we are now all working from home, how have you adjusted to this situation? Do you have any tips to share for WFH productivity?
Needless to say it was a very difficult time, but what helped me these past months was to find a balance between a certain must-do routine (avoid sleeping in, work and walk my dog, for example) and the leisure do-what-makes-you-happy things (like cooking and more cooking, baking and more baking or watching movies). Spending time with my family here in Berlin and staying connected with my family in Italy was of enormous importance and I found it a privilege to spend so much time with my dear ones.
Learning and working from home in this new reality became a shared experience for us with our users. This unique situation brought a fill of unprecedented requests and challenges for Customer Service. Although stressful, it gave me the opportunity to reflect upon my priorities and find a better systemic and stable approach for the future as well: work hard but take some breaks in between and don’t lose touch with your friends and colleagues. And to keep your spirits high, a healthy amount of wine and fried food can also be good!
Want to work with Valentina? Her team is currently hiring for a Customer Service Team Lead!