I refinanced my home a couple of years ago and from start to finish, I never met my loan officer. This was a very important financial decision involving a mortgage close to half a million dollars. I’m thinking that 20 years ago, I may have wanted a face to face consultation with my loan officer to weigh the options of my refinance transaction. That would have been the traditional way of doing business then. So what changed? Most of the information I needed was online. I did not need to drive around town and talk to several banks to get the same information I got on the internet. 30 minutes of online research was equivalent to driving around town and spending half a day garnering the same data. I’ve done my full research online and when I was ready, my loan officer confirmed all the terms and started the application process. Every piece of information I needed to make an informed decision was fully explained to me on our phone conversations and supporting documents were exchanged via email. In fact most documents were sent via PDF avoiding the mail altogether. My refinance closed with favorable terms and I was pleased with the overall experience. Doing business with someone I never met turned out to be a positive experience for me. I am also a big fan of outsourcing and have had a chance to use Elance, Odesk and Fiverr for various projects. Again, I have never met any of the service providers yet my general experience have been productive and positive. There were a few negative experiences and I’ll tell you how to learn from that mistake.
As a professional translation agency with an international market, we never get to meet a majority of our clients. Yet they have stayed loyal for years and we have several repeat business from customers we’ve never met face to face.
Here are 4 tips to help you gain a positive experience when dealing with an online provider you may never meet.
1. Check their Reputation. How long have they been in business? Are they affiliated with professional organizations in their industry? Are there any complaints with BBB (Better Business Bureau)? Are there bad reviews about their service? Yelp or online review postings could be a helpful resource. Are they listed with Dunn and Bradstreet? Do they have a DUNS number? Do they have references that can vouch for the quality of their work?
2. Interview them. Prepare a list of questions to verify if they are knowledgeable about your specific project. Do they instill confidence that they can undertake your assignment? Do they have the right people to competently fulfill the job per your requirements?
3. Response Time. How quickly do they respond to your queries? Do they return your call or emails within 24 hours? Can they accommodate your rush projects? Are they consistent with their response time and delivery? Can they meet your deadlines and expectations?
4. Test them. Give them a small project to see how they perform. Remember that talk is cheap. Deeds are precious. This is the best measuring stick if they are at par with your expectations. Your risk is mitigated by starting small.
My biggest mistake that led to several negative experiences has been going with the cheapest service providers. I have done this a few times thinking that I am saving money but at the end, it’s the same story. It cost me more. The quality is inferior. The delivery time is unreliable and communication has been mediocre. Finding good quality people at a fair price is always a challenge. Excellence is not cheap.
Always do your due diligence when doing business with someone you may never meet. You may stumble upon a great Translation and Interpreting Service provider that can be your long term partner in success.