Client retention for freelance translators

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By Maria Eugenia Padron

Getting clients for your business is hard. However, many people forget how hard it is to keep those clients you get. You may have spent a lot of time and money into getting new clients, but if after providing services to them only once, they leave, that leaves you will a lot of resources being used to keep new clients coming in, when they could be used to improve your services or financial situation if the clients you already had would return for more.

Therefore, how can we possibly achieve this and get clients to stay with us after having provided them our services?
First, we have to provide our clients ways to contact us if they want to request our services again. Let them feel welcome and that we’re open to receiving them again and to listen to any requests they might have. We have to give them our business card with our email address, phone number and even web page, if we have one. It’s also very efficient for them to subscribe to our emails or any social media we might have, as well as to send them a “thank you” message after giving them our services. This way, we can have more contact with the client after they receive our services, and they will feel we care about them and want to work with them again.
So, we have to keep the following in mind:

Business card
Phone number
Social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.)
Youtube channel (if applicable)
Webpages etc

It’s of key importance to always leave our clients with ways to contact us and to keep communicating with them as well. It’s not enough to just let them know about them, but we have to continuously keep these up to date, uploading quality content, and to design them to be as clear, simple, and accessible as possible. Having a social media account that never gets news posts or has updated information, as well as a having a website that’s difficult to navigate, are big obstacles that entrepreneurs face when they wish to retain clients. A lot of clients can be lost because of these issues, even if they’re only technical and have nothing to do with the translator’s services or skills. It’s important to keep this in mind and give some of our time to managing these as we see fit. Maybe we wish to publish quotes in the languages we can translate on in Twitter daily, or we wish to send an email weekly or monthly to our clients with information about our services.

Another key thing to consider is that the more they use our services, we could give them special offers or discounts. This way, loyal clients will grow to like our services not only because of their quality, but because they show that we are grateful for their loyalty. This way, they will find it more beneficial to stay with us (lower price, more services provided, etc.) as well.

Nonetheless, the most efficient way to do keep our clients is by building up the quality and the reputation of our services. If these are of great quality, pricing, and are accredited, the clients won’t doubt to come back to us if they need more of our services. This is due to that the most frequent reasons why a client will not come back is because they look for a better quality service, a cheaper one, or a more accredited one.

We can become accredited by studying a degree or masters in the area, by doing a certification, or a test that proves our skill in translation. There are some that can be regionally based and you can find these in your country or region. But there are others that can be internationally recognised, like the ATA certification. Remember, these are not certifications to prove your proficiency in a language, but your translation skills with it, which is something really different. Therefore, even if just taking the exams might prove a cheaper way to become accredited (and not to pay for a formal education in an university or translation school), I would still recommend to read a lot about different translation techniques and theories, as well as to have a great amount of practice before taking certification exams for translating.

Therefore, we should look foward to study and become accredited in some way as translators, and to always looking up new techniques and improving constantly throughout all of our career. We’ll keep on providing quality translation services, since we’ll adapt to new techniques and technologies, as well as changes in the language. We have to do so while considering the clients and how we communicate with them, to show them that we’re are grateful and available to provide our services, letting them different ways to contact us to ask us questions and receive information as they desire. This way, we will be able to have a considerable client retention rate.

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