Seven Secrets to getting what you pay for when purchasing transcription services!

data security, recorded statements, transcription services, transcription services company, verbatim transcription, work turnaroundsPurchasing Transcription Services:

When purchasing transcription services, do you ever wonder if you got what you really agreed upon?  It’s costly to go visit them at their place of business, although that is one of the very best ways to really get to know a vendor.  Better yet, a short notice visit really does the trick.

The question comes down to this: Is the reality you thought you were buying during the sales process the same “reality” you are living with day-to-day, month-to-month and year-to-year?  For example, does your transcription services company really do the following things they discussed during the selling process?  If they aren’t, here are a few secrets I’ve come to know and follow and even suggest to my own customers to follow.

  • Do they really have a quality assurance staff overseeing, grading, and tracking the quality of work the transcriptionists produce?  Or is the quality assurance “staff” the same person who sold you the account and in some cases answering the phone?  Secret #1 is asking for up-to-date reports of all their graded scores.  You should be able to see the scores being given by the 100% Review Team.  They may need to give you the report for the previous two weeks or even last month.  The key is seeing the report.
  • Secret #2 is CRITICAL!  If it takes longer than 15 minutes for the 100% Review Team reports to be made available to you, BEWARE! Don’t let them say they will have it to you tomorrow.  The Bible tells us the world was built in six days, don’t you think a report could be created in an hour (after their important “meeting”) or even overnight?  15 minutes, that’s it!  Make the request early in the day and possibly find out what their schedule is before asking so as to make sure they have the time to deliver it in the 15 minutes. Guess what, many of your vendors can’t produce reporting because they don’t live up to what they are selling!
  • If it’s verbatim transcription of recorded statements that you need, do they really know how to transcribe the recorded statements using verbatim style transcription?  Where did they learn it, and how uniform is their work?  Secret #3 is simply asking them what the number one challenge they face is when doing verbatim transcription.  They should have an answer that pops out of their mouth immediately.
  • Is the work turnaround time being fulfilled as promised?  Secret #4 is determining whether they are fulfilling their agreement and adding a Service Level Agreement surrounding work turnaround with financial penalties if they are meeting their obligations.
  • Secret #5 is pushing the tracking and reporting to the transcription services company.  When they send their invoice, they need to send their reports!  You can periodically check their reports so you don’t do all the heavy lifting.
  • When your transcription services company spoke to you about data security initially, did you feel alright?  Secret #6 is don’t rely on feelings!  This is a job for your IT/Security team to be involved in. Cover yourself so you know exactly what you have.  There are vendors working out of their houses, where even if digital transport security is fine, you don’t even know their physical security risk.  Be sure you are not going to end up on 20/20 with compromised data resulting in career suicide.
  • I’ve seen the procurement of transcription services decisions go from actual users involved with the services to procurement departments making the decisions.  There are benefits and drawbacks to both methods.  Regardless of which model you follow, Secret #7 is in the area of relationship-building.  Build relationships when possible and do not become connected to just one person in the transcription services company!  Visit your vendor when possible.  At the very least, speak to not only your customer services representative but also possibly the president or quality assurance personnel.  Know that without various people to fill the roles, and therefore the promises, they are probably not happening.

I would also add to all of the above that connecting personally with different parts of the transcription services vendor might generate additional ways to lower your costs or add value to your operation.  They may have ideas from other work they’ve done that you’ve not ever thought of in your company.