” Mayday, Mayday, Emergency Situation! It has to be done: Yesterday! We all know the importance of deadlines and – in some cases – the stress they can cause to both customers and translators. However, I am not 100% convinced most really know how to handle them effectively: by limiting the amount of damage they can really cause. What damage? What about losing a customer? Sacrificing quality? Losing a sense of politeness and cordiality?
I have a motto I would like to share with you: “never say no, impossible or are you kidding me?” Deal with your own personal stress later, but never in front of your customers or colleagues. How to handle emergency situations correctly?
Customer: “I have a huge emergency!”
You (thinking to yourself): Great, what it is now? I’m already fully booked!
You (how you should answer): “Oh… what type of emergency and how can I help you?” Customer: “I have this big presentation on slides that must be translated by Friday (2 days from now).”
You (thinking to yourself): What the heck does he think I am? An automated translation factory? I already have so much to finish and so many deadlines… he’s crazy!
You (how you should answer): “Let’s take a look at the file you sent me. Wow… 10,000 words in 2 days.
That’s a lot, but don’t worry, I’ll help you.” How will you ever manage? You have to learn that part of growing a business includes delegating to others. I know… delegating, such a foreign word in some European countries. It’s always about the “there is no one better than me” concept, or quite oppositely the “what if someone is actually better than me?” Who cares! Your customers really don’t care how you get the job done as long as it gets done… and well too of course! Most of them already trust you and didn’t or won’t take the time to find someone else because you have already earned and won their loyalty. However, if you want to continue on growing, you have to start building a network of colleagues that can help you from time to time. It’s the only way. One of you simply isn’t enough to deal with the customers you’ve found. Without delegating, there is only you… and only you means losing customers, stressing and being close to a physical and mental breakdown.
Customers do not like to hear the word “NO”, they call on you so that you can provide them with a “solution” to their dilemma. This truly is the only recipe to managing emergency situations successfully… without risking overdosing on coffee and cigarettes. Do not risk losing your customers over an ill temper (your initial thoughts) or the lack of resources. Start building yourself a network of colleagues you can trust to help you overcome your customers’ emergencies. A customer is king and when a king calls on you, you should always be ready to bow and serve without exceptions. So, next time you encounter a “Mayday” type of situation, start acting like the responsible control tower you are and say “What emergency situation? Don’t worry, we’ll help you every step of the way! You are in good hands… in the right hands!” Stress free because you are no longer alone!