One of the most commons questions that gets thrown at me is: what do you do for a living? A hundred things come to mind before I give them the obvious answer: we provide transcription service to our customers.
However, many of things we do for our customers are left unsaid. There are things that we do that are never mentioned to anyone. Sometimes it seems as if we ourselves tend to forget that we do those things for our customers.
Some of the things we do for customers are directly related to working on their’s requests. That said, there are a lot of things that we do for our customer’s benefits that don’t make us any money and often take an incredible amount of time and effort.
Since some of these things we do for customers are hardly ever mentioned, I thought it’s a good idea to write down those things to remind myself as much as others.
Transcription is an art
Transcribing audio recordings and transposing them to written text is an art. One needs excellent typing skill, writing skill and a fair amount of tolerance to sit for long hours typing on a computer. Not everybody can do transcription. It is more than typing. It is more then creating documents. It is all about the content and integrity of the content. It is the accurate interpretation of recorded voice and representing thoughts and instructions in written form
Transcription has health risks
There are a number of health risks associated with transcription. After I complained of frequent headaches, I was told by my physician that it’s because of the long hours I spend in front of the computer as a transcriber. I was referred to an ophthalmologist who immediately advised me to use an anti-glare, anti-UV glasses.
Also, anyone who does a lot of typing is also prone to problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries. Another problem that comes with constant use of headphones is that they affect your hearing eventually. There are also health hazards associated with sitting long hours in front of a computer. Also, sitting for hours together as opposed to moving around has its own health risks and hazards.
We work 24/7
So you work 9 to 5? Lucky you! As a transcription service provider, I am on-call 24/7. As soon as there’s an inquiry, I rush to my computer whether it’s 2 a.m. or 11 p.m. I just cannot leave an inquiry unanswered until the “office hours”. I love attending to my customers’ questions and inquiries as soon as possible. However, all these activities and time spent on them are not billable.
Customer care services
Sometimes I will be going back and forth with a prospect for hours together. This happens when, for example, a prospect asks about our transcription services for her forthcoming interviews. Spending a couple of hours answering to queries is an almost daily activity that doesn’t always translate to dollars. However, this is a crucial part of our service and it’s the most effective way people learn about our services and how we work. That said, these activities are not billable or claimable.
Time Zone Difference
Because of the difference is our time zones, we usually got contacted by our customers and prospects between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. This is what you might call “overtime” in the corporate world. However, as a freelance/business owner you spend as much time as needed to win over prospects and to satisfy your paying customers.
Managing customers and their work takes time, obviously and these are things you cannot bill a customer for. We only bill our customers for the total length of their recordings. We don’t charge for project management or customer relations. I usually spend around 2-3 hours daily in managing projects, making sure transcribers are working on the right projects and delivering their transcripts on time.
Invoicing and Payment
Usually for ad hoc customers we charge upfront, invoicing has to be done immediately before their project begins. However, there are our regular customers that are invoiced on a monthly basis. Invoicing and collecting payments tend to take at least 1-2 hours daily plus a day at the end of the month. These are services that are non-billable.
As you will realize by now, if not before, we do a lot of work and spend a lot of time that are not paid or billable. There are also health risks that are associated with rigorous typing or being in front of a glaring screen for hours every day, or just sitting for hours rather than moving around. While there are also ways to manage these risks, they are nonetheless risks that all transcribers face.
Also, this is not a post to complain to our customers. It is simply a post about what we do to help you and how committed we are to providing you a seamless experience.