Monthly Archives: March 2012

7 Mistakes to Avoid for Customer Satisfaction

I recently made a complaint to a company about something they printed for us. It took them 10 weeks to resolve the matter and I had to send them 6 reminders during that time asking for update. Eventually I called the company’s managing director and made an additional complaint about the way my complaint was being handled. Although the issue was resolved amicably in the end, there is no doubt that my complaint was not handled very efficiently.

I was surprised that this reputable company has dealt with my complaint so inefficiently. And I was determined to have something positive to come out of this experience. If anything just to ensure that none of our customers have to go through a similar experience.

Therefore I am writing this for our company and other translation providers who would love to put their customers first.

Feedback vs. Complaint

After all, is there a much difference between feedback and a complaint? Isn’t this similar to glass half-full/half-empty syndrome? The majority of customers who do not complain about services they are unhappy with, almost always take their business elsewhere. According to statistics, it is not a bad thing to receive a complaint. If the complaint is resolved promptly, customers may continue using the same service provider. When the customer does indeed complain, the service provider has an opportunity to correct the problem, and as a result can maintain a positive business relationship.

Asking for feedback is only a start because we need to know what to do if there is a negative feedback – let’s call it complaint for the purpose of this article. It is important that we have a complaint procedure in place. But most importantly raising awareness in the company about the below mistakes will equip us with the right mindset. I very much hope that you are reading this article to prevent a future customer complaint rather then handling one right now.

Here are the 7 mistakes to avoid if your customer complains about the translation you have provided:

#1 – Putting the complaint to the bottom of your to-do list

Delaying to deal with the complaint will not make the issue go away: it will only complicate it further and will be very frustrating for the customer. Also, the longer the matter is left unresolved, the more difficult it is to find a productive solution. Dealing with the issue promptly will lead to a positive solution, which is after all what the customer came to you for in the first place.

#2 – Automatically assume that complaint is for getting a discount

Assuming that the complaint is only made with the intention of receiving a discount or not paying for the service at all can lead you to form a very cynical view of your customers. In the long run this will be counter-productive, and will stop you looking at the complaint objectively. If this assumption is in place then you will take a defensive stance from the very beginning.

The other extreme is offering a discount as soon as your customer complains. This will stop you from getting to the bottom of the matter and would not prevent future mistakes.

#3 – Not listening to your customer or not understanding the complaint

Merely paying lip service to the customer and nodding your head with sympathy will not enable you to understand the reason of the complaint: it will stop you from finding a beneficial win/win resolution to the matter. It will only temporarily pacify your client and gain you some time.

Understanding your customer’s need will enable you to find the perfect solution.

#4 – Blaming someone else

Immediately trying to find excuses and/or blaming another person involved in the project is a sure way to annoy your customer and can destroy your customer’s confidence in the company. An even worse approach would be trying to blame the client for the problems: this is a very destructive approach and will definitely make your customers go elsewhere.

This approach can also create a ‘blame culture’ in the company and will destroy trust among colleagues. And it soon can be the first port of call used to ‘resolve’ customer complaints.

#5 – Not recording the complaint

It is essential that complaints are recorded in order to ensure that the same mistakes do not keep occurring. Every service provider, whether they are a company or a freelancer needs to have a complaint procedure and part of it should be definitely keeping records of complaints. This is a good sign that you are not afraid of dealing with issues.

#6 – Not learning from your mistakes

Despite your endeavours and good will, there was a problem and you managed to resolve it, but no lessons were recorded. If this is the case it is likely that nothing has been learnt from the mistake. It is essential to learn from your mistakes in order not to repeat them.

Learning from your own mistakes is important but learning from others’ mistakes is even better.

#7 – Not resolving the issue to your customer’s satisfaction

Only finding a part solution and dealing with the matter half-heartedly is the wrong way to handle complaints. Total dedication in resolving the matter to your customer’s satisfaction will not go unnoticed and will encourage them to come back to you again and again.

Let’s remember that keeping an existing client happy costs a lot less than finding new clients.

If you would like to discuss any of the above or find out how I can help you or your company, please contact me by email or call +44 (0)1245 216930.


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The 7 Packaging Design Mistakes to Avoid for Global Success

Packaging plays an important role in the consumer’s decision to make a purchase or not.

For this reason, companies spend a lot of time and money on their packaging. Getting the packaging right for any product is absolutely essential in order to get the customer’s attention. However, unintentionally getting it wrong can result in painful consequences. Time and money can be saved by simply putting a planning stage in place which will help avoiding the mistakes listed below.

#1 – Colours on the packaging clash with the local culture

Using the wrong colour for the target country can be disastrous for an otherwise good product. For example, some colours are associated with death in some cultures or certain colours may have a religious significance. Packaging colours need to be chosen carefully and should be neutral when possible in order to keep costs down.

#2 – Choosing photographs unwisely

Photographs can help tremendously to increase a product’s appeal.  However, if the photos or graphics used are not in line with the target country’s traditions or consumer expectations, photos that were meant to help can be a problem for your marketing campaign. Therefore, photos and graphics need to be taken into account at the design stage when it is cheaper to resolve any issues that are identified.

#3 – Making the typesetting process unnecessarily complicated

It makes sense to get as many different languages as possible onto the same packaging. This will save time and money. But, different languages, particularly right to left languages, require different skills and resources in order to get the information right.

Using a translation company equipped with a typesetting studio can be a simple and effective solution. They can make sure that all of the languages appear correctly on your packaging.

#4 – Assuming that existing packaging will work in any country

Different countries may have different packaging requirements and restrictions. Therefore, packaging designed for your domestic market that complies with the local regulations may require modification for other countries. The relative costs and time required to do this needs to be taken into account at the planning stage.

Failing to conform to the target country’s regulations may result in delays and, in some cases, in product recalls.

#5 – Not briefing the designer about your international marketing angle

If your designer is not aware of your overseas requirements, they will not design the original artwork with an international mind-set. Using text integrated into graphics will mean extra cost and time as the graphic needs to be localised for each language.

For example, trying to avoid text going over double page spreads or complex graphic shapes with text running around them, will make right to left language formatting, such as Arabic and Hebrew, very easy since the direction of pages needs to be mirrored for these languages.

#6 – Not allocating enough space for text

Text for some languages will take up more space than English text. For example, a German translation will contain approximately 20% more characters than English. If there is not enough space, then a small size type may have to be used, or the design may need to be modified.

#7 – Using product names with adverse meanings in other languages

A global brand name check should be the first step before deciding on the product name and packaging slogan. Make sure that the brand name and product taglines do not have any adverse meanings in different languages.

This may sound difficult, but actually any reputable translation company can carry out a multilingual brand name check and provide a cost effective and painless solution to meet your needs.

None of the above mistakes need to occur. Forward planning and working with the right translation company can help you overcome all of the above pitfalls before they become major issues for your product.

We are here to help our customers and provide them with support and information so that they can carry out their activities without costly delays and product recalls.

If you have any questions regarding to any of the above or would like to discuss your project, please contact me by email or call +44 (0)1245 216930.

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Why some translation providers hate doing test translations?

Some translators spend a lot energy and time about resisting test translations. I found this quite fascinating. Why pick on doing test translations so much? Why take it so personally?

There are some other translation related issues that really bug me and should occupy other translation professionals instead of this? Some of these matters are; lack of appreciating the value of translations, using machine translation for corporate communications etc etc. Some of these are burning matters for the future of our profession too.

But somehow, being asked to do a free test translation can fire up so much frustration where as simply replying ‘thanks but no thanks’ would suffice for all parties and one one would necessarily be offended.

Lets focus on promoting the value translations can add to any business looking for overseas growth. Translation is about communicating to potential customers in their native language and the image and the credibility of the business. And poor translations can damage a business’s reputation whether they are small or large.

I am very passionate about translations as a means of global communication and the value we can add to any business.

Lets talk about this more often. Happy translating…

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