Switching Suppliers: Don’t let inertia be a threat to your business!

eSense Translations’ blog this week is inspired by a client, who has experienced a significant acceleration in success, following a recent switch of supplier. This led eSense Translations to question why clients are afraid of change. Why are they happy to accept mediocrity, or worse, instead of devoting just a little time and effort into change and then seeing many benefits across their business and career?


The case study is based around the use of language services, however the lessons that can be learnt from this situation can be applied to the use of any service. Therefore, following the description of the case, I would like to offer eSense Translations’ tips to get the most value out of your time and effort researching a change of provider and to help you ensure that no unnecessary risk is taken.


This blog is a little longer than normal, but we feel that describing a case study in this way really illustrates the wide-reaching benefits change can have.


Our team came across this client whilst on LinkedIn. He was working in one of the industries in which we specialise, so one of my colleagues gave him a call to see if translation services would be of interest. I don’t think the client meant to pick up the phone to be honest. He was waiting on a call regarding a project he was currently working on and was more than a little stressed about it. The conversation almost ended very quickly had he not dropped into the conversation that he was waiting on the delivery of a file that was being translated and it was over an hour and a half late. This opened the dialogue and it transpired that a big marketing project was due to go live that morning. The translation was the last piece in the puzzle on a project that had taken months of meetings across the country, drafting, editing, graphics work and so on. Many people were involved and a big budget had been set aside for the project to go live on this date. Being delayed by the translation being delivered was putting the whole project at risk, and ultimately this person’s job. The stress was understandable!


A couple of weeks later, my colleague called the client back. Fortunately, a rescue plan had recovered the situation, but now this guy wanted to talk. eSense Translations’ approach to new business is to aim to improve upon the service a client is already receiving. In listening to the clients needs and having the adaptability to offer a tailored service, this is how we look to achieve this goal.


With this client, obviously meeting deadlines was a huge priority and a current problem for them. Further discussion uncovered that quality was also an issue and often translations that were returned to them contained errors.


Our team at eSense Translations felt sure we could improve their service. We only work with sector specialist translators, who are experienced in the relevant industry sector and have a full understanding of technical terminology. eSense Translations also uses equally-qualified proofreaders and editors, who work on each and every one of our projects to ensure quality control. ISO-approved, internal project management processes have also been put in place to avoid late delivery to our clients. The responsibility we feel in getting these things right for our client, so that their job is made easier and their business is successful, drives our team in delivering top-quality work. With this information, the client decided to make the switch.


Two months later, eSense Translations have worked with this client on several projects, every one of them delivered on time. Their end client has been very satisfied with the work delivered, as they have been receiving an excelled response rate on their campaigns and as a result has sent more projects onto them. It was a win-win situation for all parties involved. The initial point of contact, the global campaign manager also was a lot less stressed, as everything was running smoothly and his work life balance improved significantly. However, due to the success seen, he has now received a promotion and has been transferred, bringing new challenges for him to overcome!


This case study really was an instance of right place, right time. The client had reached a point where a change had to be made and fortunately eSense Translations were there to make it happen.


However, many other clients we speak to haven’t quite reached the end of their tether in this way. They are mildly disgruntled. The language service they are receiving is okay. It is mediocre. Change would involve a bit of an upheaval. They would have to speak with new people, build new relationships and there is a feeling of inertia in wanting to do that, as it would involve stepping outside their comfort zone.


But as this case study illustrates, it is worth making the change. Do not accept mediocrity! If you are not receiving the service you were hoping for, change it. A little bit of time invested could prove to be very valuable.


This applies to other service industries too and our procurement tips can be used for a business in any industry looking to minimise the risk when switching suppliers.


1) Firstly, check your current terms of engagement. Are you tied in for any specific duration of time and will you face any fees if you switch early?


2) Speak to your new suppliers and find how they are able to improve upon the service you are currently receiving. What are they offering and how do they provide you with the assurance that they can deliver on these objectives? In provision of language services, a good quality supplier should be able to offer the following:


  • A dedicated project manager, who is your one point of contact and will communicate with you throughout the project
  • A full discussion of your project brief. Good quality language providers will want to communicate with you on your objectives for the project and how you want it to be delivered. Be concerned if a supplier takes your content and translates it without any understanding of your company, your target audience and your objectives for the project
  • Use of native translators: To accurately and appropriately translate the subtleties of a text, a translator should always translate into their native language
  • Use of specialist translators for your industry to ensure complete understanding of all terminology and accuracy in translation
  • Proofreading: all translations should be thoroughly proofread and edited to ensure accuracy and appropriate language use
  • Certification: A reputable translation agency should be able to certify your translations as required
  • The ability to adapt to your deadlines with resources in place to provide an industry-recognised fast turnaround service
  • Flexibility in your requirements e.g. formatting, file type, communication, invoicing


3) Look for quality-assured standards in the industry. For example, eSense Translations is an ISO-accredited language service provider, achieving awards for both quality standards (ISO 9001:2015) and translation services (ISO 17100:2015). With these proven best practice methods in place, we have the tools to succeed in our delivery of the best possible translation, transcription and interpreting services and are monitored to ensure we are implementing them correctly.


4) Check reviews. Which similar businesses does your new supplier work with? Are they satisfied with the service provision? If nothing is freely available online, don’t be afraid to ask your new supplier directly. A language provider or any other supplier with a good reputation will be more than happy to share reviews of their work.


5) For a long-term working relationship, it is normal protocol for a free trial to be given, so the supplier has the opportunity to demonstrate their process and service delivery.


6) Value: Price will always be a consideration, but the cheapest certainly doesn’t mean the best. Check out all the other points first to ensure you are not costing yourself more overall by receiving a poor-quality service.


Change can be uncomfortable because it means adapting, but equally inertia can be more detrimental to your business if you are settling for a mediocre service. Step out of your comfort and see what improvements can be made. It will benefit you in the long run.


By Lorna Paice

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