Among the questions we receive when first contacted by a prospective translation client are:
1) How much will it cost?
2) When will it be done?
Occasionally we get:
3) Please tell us about your translators and your process (from more discerning clients).
Naturally questions number 1 and 2 are important, although alone the questions imply that translation services are generic, one translator as well suited as the next, and one translation process about as good as another.
So our challenge is to differentiate our services and try to ensure clients understand that translation services are not a commodity (i.e., differentiated only by price, etc.). Usually we do this in a variety of ways including:
a) Explaining our translation process and describing the experience of our translators to foster some level of understanding (as much as the client wants)
b) Being responsive to client requests. We prepare and return quotes promptly. If there’s a question about a delivered translation we respond as soon as possible and stay with the client until their questions or concerns are resolved.
c) Ensuring that we provide good value to our clients in terms of competitive pricing and favorable project schedules.
These are among the things that occur to me at this moment. Other suggestions?