Faster response time is more important than ever in translation industry. In my recent post, I explained that our translation clients expect a quick reply to their requests 24/7. If we can meet their expectations, this makes things much easier for them and for us as well. This post provides two examples of how long contact hours add value to relationships.
Example 1: Urgent Translation Projects
Because of the time difference, it’s not uncommon for our overseas clients to send a translation project at 2AM (our time) and expect a quick confirmation that we’ll deliver by 10PM. Imagine such client who wants to go home with the peace of mind that we’ll take care of the project. However, there’s nobody at our end to confirm availability. The client waits for several hours, getting nervous and toying with the idea of contacting another translator. When the client finally goes home, he/she feels restless because we didn’t get back. Next, I wake up, receive the project, and reply with a quote. But because the rate I quoted is higher than our lowest rate, I’m not sure the client will readily accept it. I have to receive the client’s confirmation before we start translating. The client confirms the quote at 4PM only. While it’s morning at his or her location, it’s already evening at our place! At this late hour, we either have to find resources to translate the project during the evening or ask the client to extend the deadline. Neither of these options is a good business practice.
Compared with these two options, does answering the client immediately at 2AM in the first place really seem a bad idea? I’d rather take a few minutes to respond right away during the night than spend a lot of time worrying about this project while I’m waiting for the client’s confirmation during the next day. Not only will it save time, but it will also prevent frustration at both ends.
Example 2: Small Requests Related to Previous Jobs
These are quick requests like translating something that’s missing or confirming a particular translation is correct. Because they are so small, a client understandably wants a quick answer. Waiting until the next day is often not an option. Something small could be detaining a big complex project. When I receive this type of requests outside of our normal business hours, I do my best to respond right away. Clients always appreciate this, especially when they’re aware of the time difference and are hoping for the best, but are actually preparing for the worst—waiting until the next day.
Translation Buyers’ Benefits
The positive feedback I get from clients when I am available at odd hours makes me certain I’m doing the right thing. My clients have the peace of mind that I will do my best to confirm a project at almost any time of the day, without making them chase me with additional emails or phone calls. And they know I can accommodate small requests quickly, without making them wait for a response to something so simple too long.
You can find another simple tip for making your clients a little bit happier in our post about charging a low rate for additional translations. Do you agree that my response strategy is a good way to make things easier for your clients?