When you hire a Language Service Provider (LSP) for a complex product like website localization in a distant country or movie subtitling for several new language markets, strong customer support is a given necessity. Isn’t it? Direct, effective service is essential because everything you need from an LSP is about service – they are not in the business of selling physical objects. But what form does LSP interaction and support usually take? Single Point of Contact service is the option recommended by the US Department of Commerce.*
On their website, the US Department of Commerce gives tips for hiring a translation company, and they emphasize that your LSP choice can make or break your success in a foreign country. The Department lists six major company features to make sure you are getting from any LSP you consider hiring:
- General company credibility
- Qualified translators (not merely ‘bilingual speakers’)
- Verified Quality Control procedures
- Capacity to thoroughly localize for specific cultures
- Professional certifications like meeting ISO standards
- Single Point of Contact service
Each of these is important, and you should ask potential Language Service Providers about all six, according to the US Department of Commerce. For now, we’ll focus on the Single Point of Contact service (SPOC) because this one may not be as reliably common as it should be, given how effective it is. Most of us have had the experience of checking in with a company we have hired or signed up with only to be shunted from one unknown person on the other end of the communication to the next, each of whom requests our information again, asks the same questions, seems incapable of cleanly solving our issue, and so the dialog seems to go, in circles.
This benefits no one. Customers can become deeply frustrated with haphazard service – so frustrated that even a decent final product may not make up for the sense of hassle. But employees, too, can become agitated by the lack of organization and their own role in the tangle of problems. And if two or three employees are attempting to work on a problem without knowledge of the others’ efforts, that cost in terms of time, money, and irritation adds up quickly. SPOC management that takes care of a client through every stage of their relationship with a company eliminates these stressors and results in a strong sense that a company knows what it’s doing and prioritizes their clients’ satisfaction.
Skrivanek has mastered Single Point of Contact service because it has worked extremely well for our clients, our staff, and our linguists and specialists. From the early years of Skrivanek’s globalization it was a natural way to guarantee that we were doing what we said we would, and not wasting anyone’s time or money. SPOC service for our clients makes optimal use of our resources even as it ensures that life is easier for our clients. Here’s how it works.
1. Your first connection at Skrivanek will be your Account Manager (AM). This is a knowledgeable member of our sales team who assures from start to finish that proper care is taken of you and your materials. The AM will explain how we work, what services we offer, how we quote our projects, and how payment and delivery are handled. They make sure they fully understand your project and that you always have opportunities to share any details or questions, from the start and at any time thereafter.
2. The AM introduces you to your Project Manager but remains available to you for the life of the project and beyond.
3. The Project Manager (PM) is sometimes part of the first conversation when your project is discussed in detail for the purpose of developing accurate cost and time estimates. It is the PM who assesses every part of your project and brings together the resources and talent that it requires for high quality fulfillment. This individual has vast experience with the nuts and bolts of translation, and an in-depth knowledge of Skrivanek’s linguistic and technical resources.
4. While the project is underway, the PM is in daily contact with the AM, passing questions and project updates on to the AM who communicates with the client. Sometimes the PM directly communicates with the client when that is most efficient.
Complex situations are a natural part of any multi-faceted project that requires coordinating professionals in various parts of the world. Problems arise. Unexpected questions require answers. With Single Point of Contact service the problems and questions are not the client’s to anticipate or manage. You, the client, will not have to track down someone to listen or respond – everything is being handled by your Skrivanek Account Manager.
The US Department of Commerce warns that they cannot overstate the importance of excellent translation when embarking on international business projects. At Skrivanek we know the truth of this firsthand from the clients we have served. Single Point of Contact service is one of the most effective tools we offer for your success.
* What to Consider When Hiring a Translation Service, by Katerina Betterton: https://www.uschamber.com/co/run/human-resources/hire-a-translation-service
J. V. McShulskis