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Value and Service over Price Tags

After reading a recent blog post by Will Melton entitled "I cost more, but I'm worth it," we feel even more strongly about our policy on customer service and going the extra mile for clients. Will mentions that he knows he doesn't have the lowest prices in town, and he's ok with that. And why not? He knows that he sells his services at a high value and offers something that any customer is looking for: more bang for your buck. We like to think that we offer the same as a Language Service Provider. Last week a client wrote to us to say that he would have a document ready to send us on a Thursday afternoon and would need it back on the following Friday morning. As it turns out, we didn't hear from him that Thursday afternoon and simply thought it wasn't ready yet. On Friday morning, around 10:30 am, we received a frantic email from him saying that he was sick the day before and someone else was supposed to have sent over the document. He asked if we could have it back to him ASAP.

Of course, this was not the best-case scenario for us. He seemed pretty upset that he was behind on his own deadline, and as a company that would rather not take a project than be late on a deadline, we understand that. So, we rearranged a few things in our schedules and took the project. We had it back to him within three and a half hours.

It was good to know that not only were we able to meet the last-minute needs of a client, but hopefully we helped him to have a smoother afternoon. That's not to say that we can always help someone out of a bind, but hopefully our clients know that if they need something at the last minute, they can ask and we will try our best to meet their needs.

To us, this is a good example of what Will mentioned in his blog. Sure, you might lose a few customers to other providers who are offering similar services for less, but can you say that they offer the same customer service or bang for the buck? It's all about the value.

Pay attention to customer service from both ends of the spectrum...

This weekend will be the official kickoff for holiday shopping. Black Friday is known to be a chaotic, hair-pulling mess of eager shoppers and overworked salespeople. That said, what can we expect to see as far as customer service is concerned this weekend and in the weeks leading up to the holidays? Surely there will be lots of good deals and discounts galore, but what about return policies? Will the lines be outrageous? Well, of course. Will the salespeople be patient and kind by the time we reach the front of the line? Here's hoping...

It seems like we always notice when customer service is REALLY good or REALLY bad. So, what about the in-between? Personally, when we walk into a retail store and the salesperson comes up immediately to rattle off the fifteen types of sales going on and wants to know what we're looking for, we get totally turned off to shopping there. On the other hand, when we walk in and are totally ignored, we feel the same way. So, how much attention is the right amount?

We found this article to be particularly helpful in dealing with clients, "8 Rules for Good Customer Service". One's customer service skills should always be evaluated and and procedures reassessed to ensure optimal quality services. Sometimes customers don't want to hear about all the deals going on. They just want to get what they need and get back to work (or home). Other times, they need more help in making a selection. The best way that we've found to know which is best for each client is to listen to him/her. Usually when people want something, they'll tell you.

Take, for example, the blog post from Translation Times recently, "Think of Yourself as a Customer." An international client wanted to pay a deposit for services via PayPal. However, the Jenner sister who was communicating with the customer via email, told the client that their company did not use PayPal and could deposit the money into one of their company accounts. They quickly reconsidered, rectified the situation, and accommodated the client's original request. THAT is customer service.

Clients remember those experiences that were great and those that really weren't that great. So, take a few pointers from the Jenners at Twin Translations. If something is going to cost you just a little more, and it's something you put down as a business expense, should it be a big deal? Probably not.

Pay attention to customer service when you go shopping in the coming weeks. See if there's something that you notice that you can apply to the business you do.