The importance of good “supplier service”

It is no news to you, I am sure, how important it is for a company or service to have good customer service. The best companies always pay the utmost attention to the people they hire for these positions and usually monitor them on a daily basis to make sure they behave nicely to customers (sometimes even in a scary, Big Brother sort of way).

However, it recently dawned on me how important it is to provide good, personalized, friendly services to the supplier – and that is something many companies, including some of the biggest and most famous ones, often neglect.

Being a freelance translator and having worked with a few companies I was really surprised by the difference in their project managers’ attitude towards me. Some of them would treat me in the best possible way, always addressing me in the friendliest way and apologizing when they had to push me too much about a project, while others would talk like robots, not even bothering to ask me how I am when I picked up the phone. What I was even more surprised with, though, was the impact this has on me and on my level of engagement with each company.

Unfortunately, some companies think that the only way to “make” people work for them and deliver a high-quality product is bullying them. Even if you are the most conscientious and hard-working supplier ever, even if you have agreed to help them when there was nobody else to assign a project to, meaning you would have to stay up all night to finish it, they will still treat you like rubbish if you make even the smallest mistake. And that’s not all; what I find even more annoying is when project managers I have worked with for years talk to me as if they met me only yesterday.

Professionalism should not be a synonym of cold and unfriendly behaviour. I enjoy it much more when people call me about a project and take a few minutes to ask me if it is a good time for me, ask me how I am doing and then whether I can undertake it or not. Always offering and never ordering me to do something. Believe me, this really helps you want to work with them more. This is what attracts good professionals to these companies and makes them want to do more and more things for them. Suppliers –freelancers in this case- feel appreciated, talk to others about this company, create a good image in the freelancer community therefore helping it attract even more good, talented people.

I have often observed that short-sightedness is one of the worst things that can happen to a company. Being strict and relentless with somebody doesn’t make them work harder. If anything, it makes them more reluctant to work with you and do their best to please you, because you have never done anything to please them.

Translation companies should not forget that in most cases they owe their existence to freelancers. If they keep that in mind while dealing with them it just might make them a bit –or a lot- more successful.

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