5 common myths that SMEs believe about overseas service providers

Here are five myths that overseas service providers are happy to perpetuate.

Work is just as accurate 

Historically, the accuracy of transcription provided by individuals who are not specialist legal typists, or do not have English as a first language, is poor. A large number of the transcriptions returned will contain grammatical errors, geographical inaccuracies and an obvious failure to understand English legal terminology.

Returned work will require additional work to improve the accuracy of the transcription before it can be used; a factor rarely taken into account when costs are being compared. 

Work is returned more quickly 

This simply isn’t true. We’ve seen companies using software which integrates easily with any IT system and apps turning any smartphone into a digital dictation machine, offering access to a large pool of UK-based typists. Huge resources ensure clients often find work is delivered faster than when they use an internal solution with finite resources. The average turnaround time is just 45 minutes for a standard dictation of up to ten minutes, including checking by the quality assurance team.

No safety concerns

Typists can be granted remote access to client systems, ensuring sensitive data never leaves their servers, removing doubts over potential security breaches. Businesses outsourcing sensitive work should look for service providers that are ISO 27001:2013 certified – the international standard for information security management.

Work being outsourced is likely to include data covered by the Data Protection Act. Any breach is the responsibility of the business that outsourced the work, so it’s essential that businesses check the level of security provided, looking at the encryption used for sending and receiving work; the storage of finished documents; the location of the typists; etc.

To comply entirely with the Act, businesses should ensure work is undertaken within the European Economic Area (EEA) or countries that offer levels of data protection that satisfy the ICO. 

We get a dedicated team

Where appropriate, outsourcing service providers in the UK will also provide dedicated teams, trained in the methods of a particular business and understanding of its ethos. This co-sourcing approach, offers a dedicated team of typists to undertake day to day typing or overflow work from the in-house resources, for agreed contracted hours – co-sourcing offers clients all the benefits of outsourcing, but with greater control and guaranteed service levels.

It’s cheaper overseas

Cost appears the key reason for sending work overseas and is another myth overseas competitors are happy to repeat. We can compete directly on the cost per minute for transcription, but having dispelled the other top myths, is the service from overseas really cheaper?

Once inaccuracies in a returned document have been corrected, or taken hours to come through, and the security concerns have been considered, does the cost versus risk argument stack up?

Improving efficiency and profitability is essential for every business, but those still struggling with the overheads associated with large in-house support services, should be comparing their costs to those offered by UK-based outsourcing service providers, rather than looking at the minimal differences in cost between the UK and overseas service providers.

Because we live in the digital age, the world continues to get smaller, but once you look at the services offered abroad and take into account all the myths discussed above, should we still be exporting jobs and work abroad, risking further damage to the UK balance of payments?

Most of the work will not just be done as well in the UK, but faster, to a higher standard, more cost-effectively and with less risk of security being compromised, whilst providing jobs and security to workers in the UK, looking for a better work-life balance.

Maxine Park is co-founder of DictateNow.

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