How Improving Transcription Speed Can Scale Your Business

André Bastié
André Bastié
Posted in Transcription
7 min read
How Improving Transcription Speed Can Scale Your Business

Explore ways to speed up transcription – optimizing workflows, reducing costs, and delighting customers as you do so.

The transcription of audio and video files is important for many businesses. For some – such as legal or medical firms who need complete records of formal meetings – it can play a very central role. For others, it may be more auxiliary, supporting particular functions at certain times: transcribing focus groups about a product, for example.

However it’s used, transcription tends to be onerous and time-consuming work. A general rule of thumb is about 4:1 – that is, it takes four hours to transcribe just one hour of audio. It’s unsurprising, then, that turning transcriptions around can often act as a brake on workflows and delay important next steps.

That said, there are ways to improve transcription speed. Read on to find out more.

How transcription speed can boost business efficiency

To begin, let’s run through the benefits of increasing transcription speed.

Fast transcription speed leads to quick output delivery

The first benefit is rather obvious: it means you can turn transcriptions around more quickly.

Transcription will often be a dependency within broader workflows. Perhaps a client has been promised a transcript before you can complete an order. Maybe your team needs to analyze a focus group discussion. Or sales agents may be waiting for a subtitled training video or a transcription may need to be filed before a particular issue can be marked resolved.

In all these instances, higher transcription speed can boost efficiency, helping to optimize the associated workflow as a whole.

How Improving Transcription Speed Can Scale Your Business

Reduces labor costs associated with transcription services

Accurate transcription of audio and video files can be labor-intensive work, often handled by professional in-house or third-party transcriptionists. While the specific rate of pay varies significantly by sector, the costs can quickly mount up if you need a lot of transcripted files.

It’s crucial to stay on top of how much you are spending on all these varied tasks. For example, can you find out quickly how much your business has spent on transcription? To do this confidently and easily, it helps to use a robust business budget management software on which you can record and track different types of expenditures.

With effective monitoring in place, you can interrogate transcription costs across the whole business. Are they comparable between different teams and functions? What different processes or approaches are taken to transcription across the organization?

Such visibility can help you identify opportunities to improve the efficiency of transcription. And doing that will not only improve your workflows; it will help to reduce your labor costs, too.

Enhances customer experience with quick transcription

In some sectors, such as the medical, legal, research, and educational, transcription will be integral to your customer service. In these instances, speedy transcription can facilitate prompt delivery of your services.

In such scenarios, the benefits are plain to see: faster transcription means better service (in this regard, at least). On top of this, it will make it easier to scale up your operations and take on additional business.

But even if a business uses transcription for more behind-the-scenes purposes, speed can ultimately enhance customer service. Take the transcription of focus group discussions, for example. Quicker transcription means gathering responses faster and feeding information promptly into the data analysis software. This, in turn, helps businesses deliver customer value fast.

Increases competitive advantage

Ultimately, higher transcription speed is directly associated with increased competitiveness. Whether you are fulfilling customer requirements more quickly, drawing market insights more promptly, or using transcription to develop customer service innovations, improving your transcription speed can put you one step ahead of your competitors.

How Improving Transcription Speed Can Scale Your Business

Attracts new clients by offering faster service

Finally, improved transcription speed can also support customer acquisition. Where transcription is core to your service, speedy delivery will be appreciated and noted. And where transcription is more about customer research (helping you understand your market), this can help you delight customers more quickly.

But, in addition, technology is opening up new frontiers. Some businesses are using AI transcription to support customers. Customer feedback and calls can be transcribed automatically to help show the customer’s journey. Where technical issues are discussed, transcriptions can be shared with customers. Or, key points from calls can be automatically noted, helping agents quickly get to grips with a case.

Thus, being able to transcribe quickly and at scale is opening whole new areas of opportunity for innovation – and better customer service. That’s great when your business is striving to recruit new clients, and subsequently to retain them as happy customers.

How to improve transcription speed

Improving transcription speed can yield notable benefits, as we have seen. But how can you do it? Let’s look at some different strategies.

Implement speech recognition software and AI-powered tools

First: technology. This can undoubtedly play a valuable role, and one that’s likely to grow in the coming years. Speech recognition software allows businesses to generate automated transcriptions very quickly. And the degree of accuracy is high – albeit not quite as good as a skilled, human transcriptionist achieves.

AI-powered tools allow businesses to build transcription into their operations in previously uneconomical (if not impossible) ways. For example, earlier we mentioned the transcribing of customer service calls (in almost real-time).

The technology for this is improving all the time and is likely to present businesses with ever more opportunities to support their operations.

Of course, automated transcription is not as accurate as its human equivalent. And that matters when the stakes are higher. Nevertheless, some businesses feel happy using an AI-generated transcription as a starting point but then have this reviewed, refined, and corrected by a human transcriptionist – still saving significant time.

Provide speed and accuracy training to transcriptionists

Technology is great for relatively low-risk transcriptions. However, as noted, it does occasionally make mistakes or miss elements. For that reason, many businesses still rely on skilled human transcription.

Transcription is about accurately capturing the words that are said, while also understanding nuances and context in how words are spoken. It entails identifying speakers (which can be tricky in group settings), working with dialects and idioms, and capturing important details about a conversation to qualify the words themselves.

It is skillful work, which is why training can help. For starters, typing is important, of course. But so are other skills such as active listening, attention to detail, and sometimes research. Training helps develop these, leading to speedier (and more accurate) transcription.

Eliminate redundancy and inefficiency in workflows

By its very nature, transcription is part of a broader workflow. For example, where is the audio file coming from? How does it get shared and prepared for transcription? Who does the resulting transcription get sent to? And, again, how – and in what format?

Examining transcription in this way – as one piece in a procedural jigsaw – can highlight additional opportunities for efficiency.

Let’s take, for example, what is done immediately before the transcription work takes place.

Likewise, it’s worth considering what can be done to put the transcription to use quickly once it is prepared. You might consider the following, for example:

Whether you use in-house transcriptionists or a third-party resource, it’s worth exploring how the entire process is managed across your business. There are bound to be opportunities to streamline the process.

Improving these aspects can make transcription – as a step in a broader process – more efficient.

How Improving Transcription Speed Can Scale Your Business

Introduce time management tools for employees

Running a thriving business involves a fundamental – but complicated – balancing act. You need to achieve a good relationship between the effort a task involves (e.g., labor and opportunity costs) and the return on that effort. Every task carried out by the business should contribute towards that in some way – even if the value derived is not immediate or even financial.

To achieve this, you first need clarity about how time is being used across your business. Talking to your team members and using tools like time and expense management software will give you a complete understanding of how time is being spent. From here, you’ll get a sense of how much time transcription is taking relative to other tasks.

Equipped with this information, you can then determine if tweaks or changes could help improve the cost-value relationship. For example, reducing the impact on your team’s time may justify investment in technology that supports transcription, extra training, or better equipment. Or it may prompt you to outsource to a third party, thus freeing up your team for other work.

Accurate time-management data helps you make more informed decisions to meet the needs of your business.

Final thoughts

Transcription may be a huge part of your operations, or it may be a relatively auxiliary one. Nonetheless, whichever category your business falls into, it’s worth examining its role within your organization. Because once you look, you may well see ways to improve the speed and sharpen the workflow.

This will cut down on labor costs. And that may leave your team with more time for other, more valuable work. But it may also mean you can leverage value from transcription more quickly. It may result in better, more accurate transcriptions. And, particularly as the technology in this area becomes more powerful, you may find that you can use transcription in new and innovative ways.

Remember, your competitive edge is sharpened through an accumulation of such optimizations. So, don’t underestimate the huge potential that better transcription speed can have on your business.

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