An essential part of running a successful business is considering a customer's experience and keeping it top of mind in every process and decision along the business journey. By keeping your translation and interpreting clients' customer experience a top priority (or not!), you send a strong message to potential and current customers.
NewVoiceMedia paints a pretty convincing picture of what happens to businesses that provide poor customer service. In the United States, it is reported that around half of business lost is due to poor customer service and customers feeling underappreciated.
5 Reasons Why It's Important to Give Your T&I Customers an Excellent Customer Experience
1. A customer's experience can be a deciding factor between choosing you and another translator or interpreter.
People like to work with those they like, know and trust. That's why it's important to get the customer service aspect of your business in place from the start. A customer who reaches out to several translators for a potential project may very well decide to choose the one who gives them the best first impression and experience, instead of selecting another who is more qualified but less attentive to the customer's needs. Yes, qualifications are a vital part of providing professional services, but a customer's experience is equally important.
2. It's easier (and less expensive!) to market to and maintain existing clients than it is to market to and gain new ones.
Think about the customers you already serve. When was the last time you touched base with that client whose projects you really enjoy but who hasn't sent you any work in a few months? Perhaps it's time to send a friendly note with a reminder that you're available to help them whenever they need. Remember that marketing efforts should not be earmarked only for new clients. Customers who feel understood and appreciated are more likely to send you more projects in the future. If a customer has already had a great experience working with you, be proactive and continue the conversation by reaching out on a regular basis, even if just to say hello or to offer a word of congratulations for an achievement or milestone.
Customers who are happy with their experience are much more likely to refer you to those in their networks. Give your customers nothing but good things to say about their experience with you, and you'll find that your referrals will increase. After all, many of us can attest that more than half of our client lists are made up of clients referred to us.
For more on the topic of referrals and how to leverage them, check out How to Use Referrals to Grow Your Client List.
4. You can position yourself as the expert your client needs.
The more you get to know your clients, the more you will understand their pain points and goals. By doing so (and keeping a note of them), you can find new and creative ways to better serve your clients. One of my T&I Website Course students is thinking of offering a new service to her clients where she monitors and reports on her clients' competitors' social media posts. She knows that her customers do not speak French or have the bandwidth to monitor competitors in France. To help solve this issue for them, she has offered to provide monthly reports to her customers about new product launches, customer questions, etc. that appear on their social media channels. Genius! Not only does she provide translation services to her clients, but she also offers an additional, related service that furthers her position as the expert and professional they already know her to be.
5. You help the profession!
We are a group of professionals who are often seen as part of the gig economy. NO MORE! We need to up our game in the area of customer experience and show our professionalism from that very first conversation with a potential client until even after they've paid us for our services. I personally encourage you to do your part to further the profession and commit to not only giving an amazing customer experience to your customers, but as a boost to all our professional colleagues.
So, how do you get the translation/interpreting customer experience right?
Think back to the last amazing customer service experience you had. What did the brand do right in your eyes? Do you now feel like you will be a loyal customer for the long haul?
Now think about a brand that you thought was a good fit for something you needed, but the customer experience was awful or inconsistent. Did you look for another brand where you could spend your hard-earned money instead?
As professionals, we want our clients to feel reassured when working with us. We want to give them that amazing customer service experience.
So, how to get it right? Here are my five tips to provide an excellent customer experience to your translation/interpreting customers.
Show up for your clients from every touch point, start to finish. Don't leave them waiting for your responses and wondering if you received their emails. Even if you cannot respond in detail right away, it's important to acknowledge receipt of a customer's message. These days, even this small gesture can go a long way in building trust. After you finish an assignment for a customer, make sure to wrap up the project in a way that leaves them feeling appreciated.
For more on leaving a lasting first impression, check out Tips for Onboarding New T&I Clients.
Be consistent. Related to number 1 above, consistency from touchpoint to touchpoint is vital. If you provide a consistently excellent customer experience, clients won't even think about shopping around. But if you are inconsistent with clients, it's only a matter of time before they will be ready to move on. Put together a checklist or process that ensures you make it clear how much you enjoy working with your clients so that they never have to wonder. Then, stick to this process every single time. Consistency in messaging is truly important to get right. Make sure your marketing materials, including your website, reflect the same excellent customer experience.
Make sure your branding reflects your customer service experience. This is a bit of a follow-up to number 2 above. Do you offer an excellent customer experience to your clients, but your branding doesn't seem to match? Do clients and colleagues refer new customers to you, but your website is lacking any semblance of being up-to-date or user-friendly? Branding is a large part of a customer's experience. Make sure your marketing materials are a reflection of what it's like to work with you so that a new client immediately knows that you're the right fit for them.
Make a note of your own amazing customer experiences (as the customer) and find ways to implement a similar experience in your own business. If you recently had a great customer experience with a brand, make a note of it. What did the business do to make you feel appreciated or heard? How can you implement a similar approach with your customers in your own business? I tend to keep these kinds of notes in a "swipe file" on my computer. They come in handy when it's time to revitalize certain areas of my business and customers' experience.
For more on keeping "swipe files," check out Why You Need to Keep "Swipe Files" for Your T&I Business.
5. Be different! Part of a giving a stellar customer experience is being memorable. What makes you different? How can you infuse this into your customers' experience with you? Think of a few ways that you can give your clients more than what they ask for. This could be offering several updates along the way throughout the translation process, or it could be sending them a handwritten note or a small gift during a time of year when they least expect it. I personally prefer to send clients a New Year's gift instead of a Christmas or holiday gift. Whatever you choose to do to stand out, make sure it's "on brand" and a natural fit with your overall customer experience.
Now, tell us. What do you do to provide your clients with an outstanding customer experience? What would you like to implement in the future to make it even better?
If you're looking to update your website as part of your customer experience in 2020, consider taking my T&I Website Blueprint Course. A recent student said,
"Madalena's website course exceeded my expectations in terms of what I was able to accomplish! I'd been in a stuck place for a while with my client-facing website, and I was able to make a big impact on the design and copy by making just a few changes that I worked on in the course. I also appreciated Madalena's thoughtful and thorough feedback on the work I did."
Join the waitlist to find out when registration opens for the January 2020 session of this course.