supply vs demand

Demand vs Supply – A Constant Battle

Clear, Concise, and Cogent.  Three C’s that should be at the top of any conversation that any customer support executive has with any client – big, medium or small.  What’s this got to do with demand and supply, you might wonder.


Let me explain in layman terms.  To begin with, here’s a rhetorical question.  What do you think are the most important things when speaking to a potential customer for the first time?

  1. Set the scene.
  2. Roll out the verbal red carpet.
  3. Engage in an engaging conversation.
  4. Identify customer’s pain points.
  5. Provide clear-cut solutions.
  6. Goal setting and reassuring.

Piquing their curiosity, holding their interest, making them agree, and………… clinching the deal!  From the time man started walking on two legs, that’s how it’s been done to turn curious parties into happy clients.

All in one word — promises.  That all-encompassing, all-conquering, invaluable tool for infatuating a customer, making him go blind in love and trust, and open his wallet ready to forgo his hard-earned money, all before any real demonstration of your unseen superpowers.

Throw promises at your customers dime a dozen, keep bombarding them with wonderful images of your incredible skills, and what do you get in return from them?  Trust, faith, loyalty.  Trust on delivery of promises.  Faith on business reputation.  Loyalty from just mere words spoken and exchanged, with an e-mail or two added here and there for the sake of reassurance.

In the field of transcription and content management, this has been the norm since time immemorial.  However, once deals are clinched, contracts are signed and the ink goes dry, up comes the little matter of execution.  And isn’t that a different ballgame altogether!  Okay, now let us just hold this thought for a moment and talk about workflow patterns.

Transcription orders can largely be classified into 3 buckets based on the client’s needs and the frequency of available work — one-time, occasional, and regular.  Companies that are out there delving into all kinds of transcription would have noticed work orders and contracts coming in quite regularly for medical transcription, with more often than not accounts or projects needing 24-hour deadlines, every day, day in and day out, 5 or even 6 days a week.

Even quite a lot of legal transcription work would fall into a similar category as above, though unannounced spurts or slumps in work volume are much more pronounced in the litigation industry than the healthcare industry.  However, given the traditional, hierarchical structure of law firms and how time-conscious the attorneys themselves are, such fluctuations in documentation needs are occasional and can be mostly handled by an efficient team, provided the transcribers are constantly aware and anxious about client’s needs and also have the added benefit of past experiences to anticipate work pattern inconsistencies.

General transcription though is one tough nut to crack.  Such work orders usually fall into the ‘one-time’ or ‘occasional’ buckets, which means managements need to have a team constantly on standby in order to tap into this segment and be able to grab opportunities.  Easier said than done, simply because the project scope cannot be defined in advance until the last minute when the work order finally comes in.  No advance info on size and timelines of work order, hence no way to prepare and allocate resources and be ready.  Companies have to be nimble enough to deploy transcriptionists at a moment’s notice to execute GT work orders, but at the same time cannot expect long-term deployment.

As a result of this, there will most probably be some redundancy and benching of transcribers assigned to GT workflow.  Depending on how good the individual’s core competencies are, they can be redeployed to do legal or medical transcription projects whenever GT work orders have dried up.  However, there’s an innate risk in moving around resources.  This risk is about maintaining quality levels commensurate with the core LT/ MT team’s service delivery and as per client’s expectations.

Routine and familiarity play prominent roles in determining how quickly a cross-trained transcriber adapts to new accounts, new projects and brings oneself up to speed.  If managements are sensitive and recognize this fact and are able to identify the perfect resource at the perfect time for deployment and redeployment, it would do them a world of good in satisfying customer needs while at the same time retaining talent.

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