Friday, May 24, 2013

Moments of Truth

There are several critical times during a customer’s relationship where a decision is made – by the customer – to continue or discontinue interacting with a company. Each industry has its own unique interactions.

We call these "moments of truth" and how a company interacts with the customers can significantly increase (or decrease) the long-term viability of that relationship. Identifying and anticipating those points of clarify is critical to maintain and grow that customer relationship.

Here are our Moments of Truth for our customers.  Do you know yours?

Our 5 Critical Customer Experiences - Moments of Truth

The "Make me look good" Moment - Precision you can count on...
That moment where we are able to help a client out by finding something that should be corrected in their source materials and that they may have missed themselves and it is critical to the project. This may be a typo, phrasing for clarification, formatting issues, etc. The "Make me look good" moment can also save the client on costs by finding issues that may have caused costly rework at the end.

This is often expressed by the client as "great catch!"

The "Make me feel important" Moment - Service you can count on...
Our clients know who their personal account manager is but can talk to anyone in our organization about their account and get answers and resolution. Whether you are a new customer, sporadic customer or frequent customer, our customer service is always the same.  We realize that each company and person has unique requirements and we provide customer service based on those unique needs.  No question is a stupid question.

This is often expressed by the client as "you treat me so good"

The "Show Me" Moment - People you can count on...
That moment where we can demonstrate our accountability for the accuracy of the work provided.
This may be during a client linguistic review process or during a non-conformity in a project. This is where the trust in LSI is challenged and we are able to retain or gain their trust though our processes and/or detailed analysis.

Language you can trust

This may be identified by clients in their own acknowledgement of their accountability in the process.
The "Dream Team" Moment - Passion you can count on...
That moment when our client can count on us to step in and become part of their team in a conference call, pre-project analysis, client meetings, etc. LSI recognizes that it is a privilege to be part of that team as well as the responsibility to share in the client's success.  There are key experiences that lead to this moment: Personal friendships may be formed, the individual client may become a champion for our services in their organization, or the client has experienced personal growth/learning because of our support.

This may be identified by clients in their description of us "partners" or as "a part of us"

The "Maturation" Moment - Language you can trust...
That moment when our collaboration with the client has caused a shift in the client's opinion and the client places priority on the processes around translation. The client understands the importance of the process vs. translation itself. In this sense, the client can be integral in moving the company towards the next maturation stage on the Global Communications Maturity Model.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Our experience with the localization maturity model

Our Global Communication Maturity Model - like the Localization Maturity Model (LMM) - shows a natural evolution of maturity of a buyer. We know that this growth will only happen if translation services become of an increasingly important strategic factor for growth.

Global Communications Maturity Model
Our research was predicated on the industry assessment that many organizations tend to overspend on translations as they grow. There is a clear opportunity for LSPs to provide additional customer service by focusing on 80% of translation buyers that are at the beginning 4 stages of maturity in the maturity model.

Why buyers fail to move up the maturity level
In our experience, these are some of the leading factors within the buying organization:
  • Lack of organizational support (translation is not deemed important enough)
  • Lack of time (inadequate job responsibility; no dedicated localization manager in house; unrealistic deadlines)
  • Lack of understanding (no insight into the cause/effect of their own processes on the translation process)
  • Lack of information sharing (buyer/vendor relationship structure; lack of proper follow-up
Without any intervention in this growth process, a buyer can lose its control over the costs of translation. (Tweet this!)

How LSPs fail to help buyers move up the maturity level
Barriers for LSPs to help buyers:
  • Lack of process (documented process to identify, analyze and implement process improvements on the buyer's side)
  • Lack of understanding of client process, goals and objectives (relationship)
  • Lack of vision (too much focus on the translation process)
These barriers are not easy to overcome, but they are necessary to maintain a relationship with their client as they grow into the next stage of maturity.

How LSPs can help buyers move up the maturity level
A collaborative effort between buyer and LSP, especially at the early stages of maturity, is essential to meaningful improvements (Tweet this!). This is where the balanced scorecard approach is an excellent tool to establish goals and objectives that not only address our responsibilities, but also looks at the buyer's responsibility to protect their goals and objectives in their own processes.

An LSP can help a buyer by reminding them of the impact of changing requirements and at the same time providing them with insight into improvements that are meaningful to the goals and objectives that the client has.

The ideal approach:
  1. Assessment of Maturity - We have developed an assessment tool (Global Communication Readiness Assessment) for buyers to get an understanding of their level of maturity. This tool is a great way to introduce buyers into thinking about their own processes and how it affects their outcomes
  2. Understanding Need - SWOT analysis - A documented approach to understand the goals and objectives of the buyer and find the gaps through a SWOT analysis.
  3. Discovery and Findings - In a collaborative effort, turn findings into priorities that you agree to work on.  
  4. Balanced Scorecard approach - An outcomes based agreement between the buyer and us establishes meaningful goals and objectives that are aligned with the findings of the SWOT analysis. Metrics are defined to measure the progress of each of these goals.
  5. Reporting on progress and continuous improvement - A quarterly report keeps track of progress and forms the basis of continuous improvement (see the Balanced Scorecard example).
But even when there is no time for this ideal approach, an LSP should be able to adapt and work on process improvements. The GCMM or Localization Maturity Model is an important asset to any LSP to continuously look for opportunities to extend their knowledge to the buyer in order to help them move.

We'll look more into that assessment tool for LSPs in following posts.

Monday, May 6, 2013

How your LSP can move you up the Localization Maturity Model (LMM)

We're very keen to learn that one of the industry's leading research organizations, Common Sense Advisory, has continued to support their Localization Maturity Model that they initiated in 2006, with further publications on this subject. The model is directed towards buyers of translation and localization services and LSPs (Language Service Providers) and provides an indication of the level of maturity an organization has in handling their localization efforts and how they can effectively move up the maturity ladder.

Most organizations will have to rely on a qualified LSP (Language Service Provider) to help in that process as the translation process is usually not handled internally.

Our history with the Maturity Model concept

The LMM was introduced in 2006 as an adaptation of the exiting Capability Maturity Model that was modeled after the software industry. The LSP world took notice of this evolution, but at the time it was more of a concept than a comprehensive approach towards localization maturity.

An example of an objective and metrics
In 2007, we took the challenge to create our own structure around the Maturity Model concept. Our eyes were on creating a Maturity Model for our clients (the buyer) along with objectives, metrics and leading KPI's to help our clients grow and mature as they move up the Maturity Ladder. As our clients' translation needs grew , we witnessed greater risk to overspend due to process inefficiencies on the buyer's side and we wanted to mitigate that risk.
Our organization spent over 400 man-hours since 2007 developing this model. We took into account industry standards, industry research and our own experience in managing translation projects for clients at various stages of the maturity model to come up with a comprehensive process management system for our clients. It has helped us greatly in understanding how we can contribute to our client's processes.

Example of our scorecard
In 2008, we were quite ahead of the curve in having a comprehensive process management system for our clients in identifying gaps in their processes at their stage of maturation (based on the buyer's growth and risk/reward analysis) on the Maturity Model that we coined the Global Communications Maturity Model (GCMM).  The model became a great tool for us to communicate with the client on individual goals.

We developed an assessment tool, the Global Communication Readiness Audit, based on 4 dimensions. Strategic Readiness,  Organizational Readiness, Content Readiness and Design Readiness. This provided buyers with a scorecard of where they could find themselves on the GCMM and clear objectives and metrics to find improvements

A new platform for a strategic Buyer/Vendor relationship

Balanced Scorecard with actual client
In 2009, we took the model a step further by creating an outcomes based Balanced Scorecard approach for our clients. We had a good model to identify gaps in the process, but we needed a platform of collaboration in order to commit to the process improvement process that aligned with the objectives of our client, the buyer. The Balanced Scorecard approach was highlighted in the HBR as a method to move a client/vendor relationship (strategic or non-strategic) to a collaborative strategic partnership with objectives and outcomes and provisions for responsibility and accountability on both sides. Our model already address the objectives, outcomes and responsibilities, but the Balanced Scorecard approach became a framework to the benefit of our clients.

Now, our GCMM in combination with our Balanced Scorecard approach is the unique process that we bring to the table as an LSP. When a buyer is seeking a more comprehensive approach to managing their localization process, our approach provides a committed relationship that looks at their corporate objectives and we tie those in with our objectives and metrics that we have in place to move them up the maturity model.

We'll post more about the Maturity Model in subsequent blog posts that addresses the pitfalls of implementing a Maturity Model and advice on how buyers and LSPs can collaborate to mitigate risk, manage expectations and strive for continuous improvement.