Language Service Providers usually have a wide range of clients, and there are many ways to categorize them. Clients could be other LSPs/MLVs or end clients (from individual people through to business entities, institutions, and corporations). Depending on the revenue they bring, they could be categorized as small, big or even strategic. Some clients request services regularly, others only occasionally. Some submit smaller jobs and other bigger ones. But no matter the target category of clients, LSPs look for ways to communicate effectively with their clients. Effective – meaning not only clear and straightforward for both parties, but also showing your clients the real value of your service. This article presents several useful tips and tools to help make your communication effective in that respect.
Quote request form
One of the simplest, yet most often underestimated tools to communicate with your potential clients is a quote request form (QRF). When a client is looking for the right service provider, one of the first places they go is the provider’s website. Potential clients are not always eager to get in touch with salespeople, they often prefer to do the research themselves. That is why it’s not enough to provide them with just your telephone number, email address or a contact form.
A quote request form that you can embed in your website offers far more. You can use it not only to collect details about a potential job and request or obtain the files to be translated, but also to familiarize your client with the various services you offer and your areas of expertise. A good QRF is short and easy to fill out for your client, but at the same time provides your account or project managers with all the data they need to prepare the quote.
What’s more, XTRF’s QRF is integrated with the Home Portal. This means that when a new request is submitted, a quote is automatically created, with the most essential project and client data already entered. All you need to do is enter your estimate and share it with the client.
Professional email and document templates
Once initial contact has been established with your client, you can continue your communication using email and document templates. Standardized messages and documents always look professional. Since they are always the same in format, you are sure your clients get all the information they need. But the main advantage of using templates is that you save time on repetitive tasks. You can use email and document templates in your communication with clients at various stages in the workflow: sending a quote, confirming a project’s scope and deadline, sending deliverables and issuing an invoice.
Within the XTRF platform, email and document templates are populated with relevant project and client data automatically. They are fully customizable, in terms of both the layout and the content. They can be customized for each client or even sent in their native language. Although sent from the system, clients can reply by email, and their message will be sent to the appropriate recipient (typically, the project and/or account manager). Importantly, you can also deliver large files with the templates, as the deliverables, instead of being attached, are provided in a click-to-download link.
The Client Portal – ideal for end clients
Templates work well for both new and regular clients. The new ones receive a professional service, with clear and succinct communication. The regular ones, especially MLV clients, also value straightforward and to-the-point communication, because their priority is that your work is done well and on time. However, communicating through templates is not perceived all that well by your regular end clients. This is because, to them, your individual approach is key – they don’t like being treated as one of many.
A perfect solution to maintain effective communication with this type of client is to give them access to a portal through which they can communicate with you. The XTRF Platform’s Client Portal fulfills this need. Client contact people are granted access to their individual accounts. They log in using their own credentials. Not only can they request a quote or launch projects using the service names they know and are used to, but they can also see the history of their projects and their invoices. They can make themselves feel “at home” by using various widgets and reports (even custom ones) prepared specially for them.
It’s also worth noting that the Client Portal is available in several language variants. As well as making your clients feel unique, using the Client Portal makes your project managers’ lives easier. Requests are submitted in a standardized manner and, similar to the QRF, new projects and quotes are generated in the Home Portal with the basic data already entered.
Last but not least, if you are looking for an even more advanced means of communicating with your clients, you can consider using the XTRF Platform’s API. The wide range of REST-API commands available in XTRF gives you the ability to integrate with your clients’ platforms, portals, Content Management Systems or CAT tools. This may be a good investment when thinking of streamlining communication with your strategic clients. It can be particularly beneficial for high volume, high-frequency requests.