1.) Easy and efficient communication. We both get a lot of e-mails and a lot of phone calls every day, so we value the fact that our contractors are quick and precise, and that they answer all our questions the first time. We are very unlikely to work with someone who takes five e-mails and much back-and-forth to answer our questions. Our group of superstar translators is just as busy as we are, and we try to keep our e-mails short and to the point as well.
2.) Quick invoicing. We are quite known for paying invoices very fast, and sometimes do so within minutes if we can pay a contractor via PayPal or Chase QuickPay. We also appreciate getting less e-mail rather than more (see point above), so we like receiving the invoice in the same e-mail as the translated document. It does us know good if the invoice materializes months after the fact. It just messes up our accounting and makes our CPAs unhappy.
3.) Good questions for the client *before* the deadline. It's rare that a project requires no questions of the client. We are quick to ask them of the client once the contractor sends them to us (preferably several questions compiled in one e-mail rather than one e-mail per question), and we need to receive them before the delivery deadline. All our contractors do that, and we love it.
4.) Answering requests quickly. We don't expect anyone to work around the clock, but we do appreciate quick answers to requests for proposals and availability, as it helps us plan. We love the fact that our contractors are always quick to respond when we ping them about an upcoming project.
5.) Formatting skills. Some of our projects require advanced formatting skills, which we are more than happy to pay extra for. We love contractors who go the extra mile to solve tricky formatting skills rather than just saying they couldn't figure it out and leaving it to us at the last minute (that obviously doesn't work). We also appreciate contractors who thoroughly review the project before they accept it so we can talk about whether extra charges for formatting shall apply. We also like honest evaluations. SOme lovely contractors tell us that a particular project is not for them because they don't have the skills to recreate complicated workflow graphics. That's just fine -- honesty is always the best policy!
So that was it, dear readers -- five things that make us, the oftentimes client, happy. Of course there are more, and these are in no particular order of importance. Do you have others to add? We'd love to hear from you. þþ