How to ensure you’re working with the best transcription provider

Using quality management systems to continuously improve transcription services

Official record transcripts need to be accurate, timely, and in the right format. Finding a provider that is ISO 9001 certified is a good place to start, but how do you ensure you’re working with the best transcription provider, who don’t just deliver a consistently high standard but continuously improve too?

Starting your search for the best transcription service provider should include verifying that they are ISO 9001 certified. ISO 9001 is an internationally recognised standard guaranteeing consistently high-quality goods or services. To become ISO 9001 certified, a supplier must show it has a robust quality management system in place.

Quality management systems for transcription services

So what is a quality management system? What is it designed to do, and what does it mean in practice when it comes to official record transcripts?

A good quality management system has two main aims:

  • First, it aims to make sure goods or services are the best they can be.
  • Second, and arguably more importantly, it aims to ensure those goods or services progress and advance.

Morag Van Niekerk, Appen’s Quality and Innovation Manager discussed the value of using quality management systems to continuously improve transcription services:

“This twin track approach is the heart of everything Appen does, allowing us to ensure both quality AND improvement through a cycle of service review and client feedback.”

How Appen ensures you’re working with the best transcription provider

For the best transcription provider, high quality goes beyond just accuracy, as timeliness is also key. Appen uses two core Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure performance – aiming for at least 98% accuracy in every transcript and to meet customer deadlines 100% of the time.

To make sure this happens, the company has put some specific measures in place including:

  • clear, agreed quality objectives
  • consistent, established working methods
  • an effective performance management system
  • robust training and development policies
  • rigorous monitoring processes built in at every stage
  • a strong quality audit system

Such rigorous processes yield results – over the last twelve months, Appen has completed more than 350,000 minutes of transcription, receiving no quality-related complaints and meeting both of the company’s core KPIs.

How Appen works to provide continuous improvement

With quality assured every time, how does a provider like Appen manage to fulfil the second part of a good quality management system – continuous improvement?

Putting in place some robust procedural measures is a good place to start. For example, encouraging transcribers and quality analysts to expand their skills and knowledge by taking part in professional development training. IT teams can also play a key role, by keeping track of technological advances and making sure staff always have the most up to date equipment.

But most important of all, according to Morag, is building and maintaining close relationships with clients, to get their feedback on the service and find out how they think it could be improved.

“We are constantly monitoring customer satisfaction, keeping in touch with clients during and after every job, carrying out customer surveys and maintaining a transparent complaints procedure,” she explains.

Appen’s frequent monitoring of customer satisfaction with its services shows it scores high marks from clients all over the world. Maintaining a robust quality management system is challenging, complex, and relentless. But done well, it ensures even high standards can only get better.

For more information on Appen’s quality systems and processes contact: enquiries.exeter@appen.com

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