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    • [Part 1] From Nine to 96 Departments Spanning CS, Translation, Finance, and More! Aiming to Become a 「Team of Professionals」 - The Past and Future of 「Service Operation」 at LINE Fukuoka

    [Part 1] From Nine to 96 Departments Spanning CS, Translation, Finance, and More! Aiming to Become a 「Team of Professionals」 - The Past and Future of 「Service Operation」 at LINE Fukuoka

    [Part 1] From Nine to 96 Departments Spanning CS, Translation, Finance, and More! Aiming to Become a 「Team of Professionals」 - The Past and Future of 「Service Operation」 at LINE Fukuoka サムネイル画像

    [Notice] Effective October 1, 2023, LINE Fukuoka has changed its company name to LY Communications. Articles published on or before September 30, 2023 were written with our former company name.

    LINE Fukuoka celebrates its 7th anniversary on November 18, 2020.

    LINE Fukuoka was originally established as LINE's second domestic base in order to "support the LINE service from Fukuoka, and cultivate it together with Fukuoka residents."
    Compared to when it was founded in 2013, LINE Fukuoka now employs six times as many employees and has 14 times as many departments. The roles we carry out have also expanded. To celebrate our seventh anniversary, we will be re-introducing you to the functions that we currently serve.
    We also sat down with several department leaders to ask them how things have changed over the last seven years, as well as what challenges they plan to take on in the future! We will be bringing you their interviews in a series of seven installments.

    In Part 1, we talked with leaders whose departments account for "service operation", the largest role that LINE Fukuoka plays. Over the course of a two-part interview, we asked these leaders whose departments cover a broad range of work (including customer care, monitoring, localization, and reviews) about their "past" and "future."

    This time we sat down with:
    Rapid Organizational Growth Accompanying Service Growth: Becoming a Team of Experts in Each Occupation and Field

    ― Service operation work that was initially handled in just nine places (one Department, two Teams, and six Parts) has expanded in both scale and variety over seven years. Currently, it encompasses 96 organizations (eight Departments, 32 Teams, and 56 Parts).
    Note: As of November 2020

    Matsuyama: To tell the truth, it feels like we've been frantically trying to keep up with service growth and expansion in the past seven years. While we've had to get creative as the number and scale of services has expanded, our number one priority has been to not cause any incidents or betray people's expectations.

    Nonaka: I agree. In order to continue to meet our users' needs that come along with service growth and expansion, we've all had to continually polish our expertise in our work. There have been cases where we've increased occupational expertise (such as with our localization), and cases that required expertise in a field (like with finance). We've also striven to optimize our organization accordingly.

    Matsuyama: When services are continually and rapidly being released, it's tough for project planners to perfectly design all the way down to operational aspects that are required as soon as a service is available, such as customer support (CS), reviews, or monitoring. But those aspects are critical in order for a service to continue.

    At first, LINE Fukuoka's service operation departments were a unit that "executed things exactly as planners designed," but since our creation, we've built a knowledge base through repeated hands-on experience. We've recently been able to leverage that knowledge, and can now take on planning as operation professionals from the conception of new services.

    Nakano: Whether or not you understand what's going on on-site has an impact on planning accuracy, doesn't it? Sometimes we also don't recognize that the things we do out of habit are our value and strengths.

    Matsuyama: Which is exactly why the "LFK Value Award" system was created in 2016. I think those awards function as an opportunity for us to recognize and understand our value and strengths by telling people about them through award entry sheets and presentations.

    Looking back, we're doing a lot of things now that I don't think we could have done seven years ago. These aren't things that I usually pay attention to, and we still have a long way to go, but we're definitely evolving.

    Customer Care Capable of Pursuing the Best Customer Experience Possible by Streamlining Work

    ― One of LINE Fukuoka's "original" roles is Customer Care, which handles inquiries from customers. What kind of changes has the department experienced over the last seven years?

    Matsuyama: First of all, we've evolved in a lot of ways from a work efficiency perspective. As our services rapidly grew, we faced the important issue of "swiftly responding to inquiries," which is directly linked to customer satisfaction.

    To be honest, at first, we handled some things through sheer effort, but we've worked to improve the rate at which users can solve their own issues by expanding help pages and introducing systems that automatically display advice for users based on what they enter when filling out an inquiry form.

    Shigenobu: Most recently, we've been working with the Global Operation Department to improve systems so we can manage inquiries more efficiently. We're also working with the Data Labs department to analyze past trends and predict incoming inquiries.

    For example, inquiries temporarily increase at certain times (like when a new iPhone is released), but those predictions have become more accurate based on the experience that we've accumulated. Now we're utilizing those projections, and are preparing effectively.

    Matsuyama: By streamlining, we can now properly take on the challenge of providing a "better customer experience", which is what we've always wanted to pursue.

    ― The Customer Experience (CX) Team was also created in 2017 to pursue a better customer experience.

    Matsuyama: As our services continued to grow, we were swamped with providing support on-site, so aspects like training were not being done uniformly at a team level.

    Alongside streamlining, I had always wanted to create teams that could appropriately allocate time to searching for "what we can do to increase LINE service users' satisfaction" and work towards those answers. In 2017, we created the CX Team (which delves into the customer experience) and the Workforce Management (WFM) Team, which explores effective talent placement based on data.

    ― The WFM Team will make an appearance in "Part 2" when we continue on to discussing the Value Management Center. The team is currently taking on streamlining work for not only Customer Care but the service operation departments as a whole.

    Matsuyama: Right. Things didn't work ideally from the start for the CX Team, either; they first started by arranging training systems and quality maintenance measures for each of the sites they worked at.

    But now, I feel that the team has reached the level it was aiming for when it was established. The team plans surveys and considers specific measures from the perspective of "What can we do to keep people using LINE services for a long time?"

    Positive feedback from users is posted in the Customer Care Department office. It serves as an opportunity to think about what good customer service is.

    ― The places for you to put your understanding of users and knowledge to use is growing. You are also currently taking on store reviews for LINE MUSIC, and handling support for service's official Twitter accounts.

    Matsuyama: In the customer service industry, that's called "active support." It isn't rare, but it's something that we're able to offer precisely because we've accumulated knowledge of our users. I think we would have struggled to accomplish the same thing seven years ago.

    Shigenobu: Recently, we've been working together with business departments to answer the question "what do we need to do for people to keep using LINE MUSIC after their free trial ends?"

    When we connected the dots as to why people were ending their subscription after the free trial period was over, we saw a lot of cases where users responded "I don't know how to use it," or "I wasn't aware of LINE MUSIC's core features." These are questions that might be answered by making new pages that show how to use the service and explain its features.

    In that way, we're utilizing the user knowledge we've collected, and challenging ourselves in something that's closer to marketing. It's one way that Customer Care contributes to business profits, and I personally think that's how CS should operate.

    Matsuyama: In the future, the key point will become what we can do to increase satisfaction in LINE users, not just "responding to what comes in."

    Shigenobu: I feel like we can still do more to utilize the feedback we get.

    At this stage for LINE services, building loyalty is crucial to ensuring that people will continue using them in the future. For Customer Care as well, "quality support" alone isn't enough. I want us to become a department that understands our services and users, and considers how to contribute to those users from a marketing perspective as well.
    Opportunities to share accumulated knowledge outside the company are increasing as well. Mr. Matsuyama took the stage at CCFes #6 in 2019.

    From the "CS Department Translation Teams" to the "LINE Services Localization Department"

    ― The current Localization Department split off from the CS translation teams.

    Matsuyama: In the early days just after the company was established, we handled inquiries from LINE users all over the world, not just Japan. After that, offices were set up in Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia so that each country could handle its own customer service and LINE Fukuoka could specialize in Japanese customers.

    On the other hand, because we were providing support globally, LINE Fukuoka had assembled a team of translators for multiple languages, so we took on translation for help pages in each of our services, and localization for LINE Games.

    Harada: The translation skills for CS and the skills required for translating help pages or games are actually quite different.

    In CS, you can communicate directly with the customer, so if you have a certain level of language skills, you can reach the goal through communication. On the other hand, help pages and games are things that "you don't know who will see."

    For someone to understand or enjoy something through one-way communication, the translator needs to have a higher skill level. Turning the product that we had ("language as a communication tool") into "language itself" was a big evolution for us.

    And for game translation, there's the added difficulty of "translating without seeing a completed game." The translator has to use their imagination, and understand the game's story as a whole.

    On top of that, it's not as simple as translating the words. I feel that translators' ability to "localize" expressions based on a country's culture so that users can enjoy it is cultivated through their work. This is true for help pages as well, because easy to understand expressions are different for each language, so "localization" skills are crucial. 
    For localization, understanding each country's culture and the project background is absolutely essential. When localizing the puzzle game "LINE: Doraemon Park", our translators read through the original manga to understand the story's world.

    ― In addition to an increase in the number of supported service help pages and game titles that need to be translated, the scope of the organization has grown. From being a "part of CS," these teams now make up the independent "LINE services Localization Department" and currently supervise comic translation as well as the translation of LINE service UIs.

    Matsuyama: Our Localization Department is different from a standard translation agency. One of its vital aspects is the fact that our translators can localize with an understanding of the essence of LINE services.

    Harada: I agree. There are a lot of LINE services, so it's tough to suddenly translate something for a service you don't understand. I think it's rare for a company to have this many in-house translators, but LINE is a company that creates services at an intense pace, so it's important to have translators with a deep understanding of our services.

    Recently, the number of not only things like help pages that people "look at when they have a problem," but also service-related blog posts and promotional materials that we're translating has increased. In the future, I think we'll need "the ability to attract users" instead of just "user-friendliness."

    Each and every member of the Localization Department is a professional translator. I want to collaborate with each office, and show them the value of that clearly.

    2019忘年会_201109 (1)
    The 2019 Localization Dept. year-end party. The department has about 50 members, and provide support for eight languages.

    Establishing Credibility and Evolving as a "Financial Organization"

    ― The Fintech Operation Department (which is in charge of CS, reviews, and monitoring for our financial services) was also born from LINE Pay CS.

    Nonaka: From a financial service security standpoint and due to the characteristics of the industry, we decided that we needed a specialized department, and became an independent department in 2018.

    Mr. Yamanan, who originally worked in the financial industry, has taken on the role of Department Head so that we can build credibility as a financial organization.

    ― Mr. Yamanan, you've built your career in finance in banks, insurance, and virtual currency markets. What impression did you have of the Fintech Operation Department when you first joined in 2019?

    Yamanan: I felt that it was meeting more of the requirements for a financial organization than I thought it would. I didn't expect the department to be this "financial," so I was a little surprised. However, I also got the impression that it was "depending on the business department" for risk management and security policy.

    Operations departments have their own management systems that they need. Our industry deals with a lot of business (such as fund transfers) where the structure changes at a dizzying pace, so I think it's important for the department with the strongest grasp on what our work is to accurately control the risks.

    ― What kind of steps have you taken this year?

    Yamanan: I'm working on managing hidden risks, not just the risks that are apparent. We've visualized the hidden risk for each business as a score, and by taking measures early, we're working to prevent accidents before they happen.

    On top of that, we're also working on multi-skill development for our team members. The Fintech Operation Department deals with multiple services including LINE Pay, LINE Insurance, and BITMAX, so we're also creating a system that helps us assign people fluidly when we're facing a lot of temporary work, such as during a promotion.

    I hope that engaging in other financial business will lead to our members gaining know-how in the field, learning the work flow, and expanding their careers, all while preventing excessive overtime.

    ― How would you like the department to evolve going forward?

    Yamanan: I believe that cross-use strategy will accelerate even more for financial services, but we can't offer a high standard of CX if work quality and solutions differ for each service. I plan for our department as a whole to mutually complement our knowledge and methods in various businesses, and make our management more sophisticated utilizing our advantage of scale.

    We're also strengthening things on the tech front. From automation to introducing robotic process automation (RPA), there's still more to do with the knowledge we gain from within the group. I'd like to utilize RPA for simple work so that our members can take on highly complex tasks and polish their skills (such as tuning our automated support system) for using and updating the technology that we introduce.
    Screenshot from a department-wide Fintech Operation meeting. The department does team-building exercises, aiming to gain credibility as a "financial organization."

    This concludes "Part 1" of our series, which was a look at Customer Care and the two departments born from it. In "Part 2," we'll sit down with departments in charge of monitoring, strategic business operations, review/sales, and crossing organizational boundaries in an effort to optimize the value of "service operation" as a whole.

    We hope that you'll take the time to read our next post as well!

    7th Anniversary Project - Discussing the Past Seven Years and the Future of LINE Fukuoka [Seven posts in total]

    You can also follow us on social media to get regular updates about career opportunities and the initiatives LINE Fukuoka is undertaking!

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