Have you ever had an experience with a company that has stuck with you forever?
Have you made a simple inquiry only to get a non-professional, badly written, or rude response? Or no response at all? How did that experience leave you feeling about that company? Did you have a bad user experience?
A friend of mine recently had a similar experience with Dell. She was looking to buy a new laptop and sent a question through their online form. But the response she got was unprofessional; badly written, with no proper sign-off, formatting, nor email footer. It was a simple message which changed her otherwise indifferent opinion of Dell and its brand, to a negative one.
The user experience (UX), or customer experience, of a company, brand and service, can swing a person’s opinion very easily. As freelance translators our brand is important to attracting clients, but the experience we provide them is also key to keeping them.
User Experience is Important
It may seem like common sense but professional email layouts, correct English and timely response is incredibly important. Yet so many people fail at these.
Even on LinkedIn when engaging with other professionals these are important. So often I’ve encountered people who fail simple etiquette and it’s given me a negative image of them. Would you likely recommend someone (company or individual) if you’ve had a not so positive experience with them?
This is true even when your client is an agency. Giving them a good user experience (communicating, providing accurate and prompt translations etc.) will give you a boost in the company. Meaning the project manager will more likely choose you over someone who gave them a bad user experience.
But likewise if you work for an agency, a translator with a full schedule will less likely try to fit you in if you provide them with a bad user experience.
I’ve had emails from an agency that started “Dear : Talented Translators” and was less inclined to respond with my schedule (until the 3rd time they sent the same email). Then when I did tell them my schedule I got no response. I’m in a position now where I’m tempted to drop that agency.
The user experience isn’t limited to correspondences either, it’s how you engage with people on all public platforms. This is the key to user experience: engagement.
Engagement is a Part of User Experience
Engaging with people on social platforms, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.; sharing your knowledge, comments, thoughts, and engaging with other’s in topics you find interesting, is very important.
Engaging with others on social platforms increases the circle of people who are aware of you. The key is becoming more visible and creating positive engagements.
Being indifferent is just as bad as giving a bad user experience. Not engaging with others on any social platform leaves you missing out on a lot of opportunities. Who knows what a random connection can lead to. But how can you help others or they help you if no one know’s you’re there?
But likewise expecting people to help you just because you’re on social media is wrong! You’re not giving others a good experience, you’re expecting them to give you one.
I think it’s important to approach engagement with others with an attitudes “how can I help you?”, “what can I learn from you?”, and “can we be friends?”
It might seem weird to think “can we be friends” with someone you don’t know on Twitter, but I’ve found it to be an amazing humbling experience. Getting to know someone for them and not their connections or status etc., can lead to some interesting places that you can learn a lot from.
For example, I once came across a very rude and arrogant translator on Twitter who seemed to look down on any other translators. I instantly didn’t want to buy his books and wanted nothing to with him.
On the other hand I’ve made friends with a number of translators on Twitter who I highly respect. I engage with their posts, asking questions and giving opinions. This has led me to learning some great tips for translating and some amazing materials that these people have translated and created.
If you’re unsure of where to start regarding social media I strongly suggest Marketing Tips for Translators. They have lots of podcast episodes and written articles on using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as translators.
Key Points of User Experience and Engagement
- Timely response (don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today)
- Professional communication (formatting, tone, sign-off, etc.)
- Accurate and prompt translations
- Correct English (proof read emails before sending)
- Positive engagement on social media (share your’s and other’s knowledge)
As I said, these are common sense, yet people often forget them. But everyone makes mistakes and the best thing to do is learn from those mistakes (whether yours or others) so you can do better next time.
Have you had or given a particularly good or bad user experience? What did you learn from that experience?