Many of our conversations surround metrics and data. For many years we have tracked everything from client feedback, employee and contractor feedback, to detailed feedback on every project. It’s an amazing system and network of data that rolls in thanks to excellent process design and amazing systems. At any moment, we can tell a client what linguist translated which word of that 800-page instruction manual in 2012. We can tell you what the proofreader thought of the work of that translator and if our quality assurance team found anything wrong with the work of the proofreader and the translator. We can tell you if the client had any feedback. If a client asked us for a different word choice, etc. We know if a project manager made a mistake if setting up a project and know if the error was small or big. We know if the Account Manager setup the client information correctly, etc. All this data rolls into statistics that essentially tell us how we are doing with following our processes. Internally, we refer to these statistics as measurements how much a person cares for their role in the process.
With all that data, we have meetings that summarize and review the highlights and lowlights, successes and areas of improvement. Continual improvement is the goal. And, as a result, many of our conversations focus on where we can do better. It’s almost like the poor kid who gets his report card and has all A’s except one B, sometimes focus on the one B more than the other A’s. Not great to do, but it happens.
Well, in a recent meeting as we were discussing our performance on recently delivered projects. The client feedback we received simply forced us to focus on that positive side. The Account Manager excitedly shared with the team, “I got two Wow’s in one day!” His excitement stopped us in our tracks. I knew immediately I would be writing an article about this, but we all wanted to know more. He explained that we had delivered a particularly difficult project to a larger client that he had been concerned about. The client has been a longtime translation client but hadn’t used many of our other services. They came to the account manager with a project that included translation, graphic design, voiceover, sound engineering, video editing and a couple other smaller moving parts. The Account Manager had ensured the client that we do all of these things as well as we do translation and that all would be handled. The goal of the project was to simply return to the client, the video in a different language. The team went to work and delivered the project slightly ahead of schedule. The Account Manager said that he checked the work prior to deliver and was proud of what our collective teams had done and delivered it to the client.
The response? “Wow! Impressive.” What more could an Account Manager want? What more could anyone want than to impress a client we love working with?
As soon as the Account Manager finished with his summary, he said,“but that’s not all. Right before this meeting, I received a one-word email from another client right after I delivered their project.” What was that one word? “Wow!”
Looking at that particular project, it reminded me of the quote from The Patriot. “Aim small. Miss small.” While the data showed that there were smaller internal things that could have gone better on these projects, we accomplished everything that was important for the clients. We delivered on-time or a little ahead of time. The quality was exceptional and something of which we were proud. Perfection in our eyes? No. Perfection in the client’s eyes? Yes or at least very close.
This feedback reminded us why we like our jobs and why we feel we are making the world a better place. Service industries are great places to stand out if you deliver what you say you will deliver. If you can deliver a little more and a little better than you said you could, then you can really enjoy the hard work and the impact you are having.
To our Operations teams, Account Management, Accounting, Quality Assurance, Resource Management and everyone else who helps us protect the interests of our clients. I have one thing to say.