Operational strategies refer to the methods companies use to reach their objectives. By developing operational strategies, a company can examine and implement effective and efficient systems for using resources, personnel and the work process. As a Language Service Provider, these strategies are very unique, and the tools you use to implement those strategies are as well. Below is a list of the most important operational strategies you should consider as a Language Service Provider, along with recommendations on how to implement those in your day-to-day operations.
First and foremost, the way your team collaborates needs to be as efficient as possible. Preferably, your team should be using a cloud-based platform so that everyone has access to the same up-to-date information. Cloud-based solutions also allow teams to work remotely, which has obviously become indispensable for companies in 2020. Also, by using a centralized platform, your team will have access to all relevant information in one single location. No need to jump from one tool to another. No need to go back-and-forth between your email inbox and the never-ending spreadsheets.
Secondly, your service delivery process needs to be efficient as well. Language service delivery comprises many different stakeholders (customers, translators, interpreters, consumers, administrators, onsite contacts, etc.). They all take part in the language service delivery process at some point, so it’s important to keep things moving. By allowing those stakeholders restricted and personalized access to your workflow, you can eliminate bottlenecks in the service delivery cycle, and decrease the amount of time that transpires between the service request and the final invoice.
More business shouldn’t necessarily mean more work! It’s important to operate your business through a tool that can automate your workflow, and perform actions in bulk. Scheduling assignments, sending out communications, processing invoices, generating reports… Use a system that can automate these processes. Being able to process many requests at the same time, from start to finish, is ultimately how you can truly grow as a company. If you use different systems, most likely lacking integration, then you will never be able to properly scale as a company. It’s important to make the right technological decisions as early as possible to get your business on the right track.
3) Customer (& Language Professional) Centric
Customer experience is paramount for any type of business. As a Language Service Provider, however, you are not only focusing on your customers’ experience, but also on your linguists’ experience. You want to give your customers and linguists direct access to your workflow, in a way that is relevant and intuitive to them. Your customers should be able to directly request language services, either through your platform, or through a form linking to your platform. They might also require white labeling, masking the branding of whatever technological tool you are using. Also, customers often have their own ways of doing things, so make sure the tool you are using has the flexibility to accommodate your customers’ workflow as well.
When it comes to your translators and interpreters, make sure their energy is mostly spent on providing the actual language service. This means making the tools they need to work with as intuitive as possible, and if necessary, providing them with step-by-step instructions on how to use those tools. Use a tool that allows your linguists to interact with your business in a way that is convenient to them. This means making sure your workflow is accessible via mobile as well as via browser. Also allow your linguists to choose how they provide their service: via browser, mobile app, or via traditional phone line (for OPI interpreters, for example). The tech you are using needs to be able to cover all these scenarios in order to guarantee an optimal experience for your customers, as well as your translators and interpreters.
4) Future Proof
As the language industry evolves, so should your business. The past year has shown that the language industry is definitely not immune to change. For example, due to COVID-19, en masse, interpreting service providers were forced to transition their business models from onsite to remote in a matter of weeks. The LSPs that were able to make this transition the fastest definitely came out ahead. Long story short, equip your business with tools that can help you navigate change and keep your company technologically up-to-date.
Apart from remote features and regular updates, partnering with the right technology provider will also ensure your data meets the necessary privacy and security requirements. As a Language Service Provider, you store a lot of sensitive information about your customers and contractors. The guidelines on how to protect that data change all the time. Experienced technology providers think about this all the time, so put your trust in them to bear the burden for you, and make sure your business always abides by the law, and is fully HIPAA-compliant.
If you’re an organization that provides interpretation services, Interpreter Intelligence can help. Moving your operations onto their interpreter platform will allow you and your team to work as efficiently as possible, to scale your business quickly, to make sure your stakeholders have an optimal experience, and to future-proof your business. Stop being busy and start being productive! Contact Interpreter Intelligence now to schedule a demo!
Any operational strategies you would like to add? Anything we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments!
This article was first published on Interpreter Intelligence blog.