TL; DR: When businesses look to transform their operations and expand globally, some aspects may get lost in translation. Akorbi helps enterprises connect with customers worldwide through its group of language services companies that cover emerging needs. The companies consult closely with businesses to identify if they need staffing solutions, contact centers, telehealth services, written translation, or even in-person interpretation. Akorbi works with more than 170 languages and is built on a solid technological foundation, which its clients find vital to stay connected during an era of workforce virtualization.
Enterprises that aim to take on digital transformation may design road maps that detail each step. And while the businesses differ, many steps on their journeys are similar.
In addition to updating legacy technology, they often shift more focus to the customer, offer new engagement channels, and improve their in-house innovation teams. The end goal isn’t just to achieve a one-time transformation but to develop the flexibility to change moving forward.
And that process can be even more critical for companies in the service industry that help guide others through their digital transformations. One such organization is Akorbi, a group of language services companies that provides enterprises with the global technology, staffing, and customer support they need to scale as they shift their focus.
“Today, any service business must become a technology company,” said Claudia Mirza, Akorbi Co-Founder and CEO. “That is why we have invested heavily in consolidation, the digitization of our services, and complexity for our clients.”
Akorbi offers enterprises a bridge between different aspects of digital transformation through its language services. Businesses can partner with Akorbi to hire bilingual and multilingual workers who can support new customer bases. Its linguists also provide live interpretation on phone calls, video conferences, or in-person meetings.
The company’s other offerings include multilingual contact centers, educational language resources for workers, and even HIPAA-compliant telehealth services. And Akorbi’s offerings are especially important now, as enterprises on the path to digital transformation must also deal with a virtually connected world brought on by a global pandemic.
“With all of the virtualization, digital transformation isn’t going anywhere,” Claudia said. “Businesses are going to have to become more nimble. We are going to see much more video connectivity, and I think this is going to be an amazing shift, and I’m excited about the future.
A Stint as a Replacement Interpreter Inspired a Global Business
The idea for Akorbi didn’t come at an executive meeting, and it wasn’t developed to fill an immediate enterprise need. Instead, it was inspired by a chance opportunity at a horse training seminar.
Claudia, who is from Colombia, worked for a telecommunications company that paid for her to get her second bachelor’s degree in the United States. She was also active in the community and often helped her father train horses in Texas.
“I volunteered at agricultural seminars, and it was an opportunity to continue doing what I knew,” Claudia said. “That meant connecting with people and giving back to society by doing surveys that could help down the road.”
When an interpreter for a horse training seminar at the track had to cancel, its organizers called Claudia for help. When she stepped in to provide Spanish translation for that session, it sparked the idea for Akorbi.
Claudia began providing English to Spanish interpretation services and editing and translating training materials.
“I started selling services to a nonprofit organization, and they referred me to many more paying customers,” Claudia said.
Early contracts with 3M and Southwest Airlines in 2003 quickly proved Akorbi’s effectiveness and staying power, and the company began to add services to its portfolio. By 2009, Akorbi had secured many healthcare and government clients and started to focus on adding value.
Today, its business units include multilingual contact centers, staffing solutions, telehealth services, written translation, and telephonic and in-person interpretation. And just like in its early days, Akorbi aims to help its clients with the same passion.
A Consultative Approach Offers Clients Customized Language Solutions
Akorbi works with businesses to design service packages that suit their unique needs. Some may need a regional solution, while others take a global approach that requires many more language services.
The work begins with a consultation that identifies which Akorbi services businesses need. A global airline may need the entire suite of offerings, including staffing, language service, contact centers, technology, and training resources for its employees.
On the other end of the spectrum, a smaller business may need interpretation services for a single meeting with an international client.
“We have dynamic solutions that are customized to the client, which differentiates us from our competitors,” said Sarah Haner, Director of Marketing at Akorbi. “I’ve worked with other language service providers in the past, and Akorbi is unique in that its service offerings and its approach with clients are very consultative.”
Enterprises undergoing digital transformation often find that the process opens up new global markets as technology makes their products and services more accessible. They can leverage Akorbi services to communicate quickly and effectively with those new customers.
Akorbi workforce solutions offer experienced recruiters who are industry specialists to help businesses find the right talent and they work closely with clients to ensure everyone is on the same page. Its global network also means employers can recruit workers within specific market segments and across numerous languages
“We provide our clients with comprehensive, multilingual solutions. Not only are we giving them all of those services, but we can deliver them in more than 170 languages,” Sarah said. “That makes it easier for businesses because they partner with one provider for staffing and interpretation.”
Offering Transparency and Customer Support During Uncertain Times
Akorbi’s consultative approach is uncommon in the industry, but its commitment to customer service and transparency differentiates it even further. The Akorbi team doesn’t just focus on selling services and troubleshooting problems. Instead, they aim to build lasting relationships with clients.
That starts with Akorbi’s straightforward approach to pricing, and, often, proving its worth to clients.
“Transparency is key. Sometimes, we tell the client up front that we are going to lose money working with them, but they are going to save money by implementing our services,” Claudia said. “I’d rather leave the money on the table now, but make it a long-term relationship.”
That commitment to client relationships is even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses may rely on Akorbi more now than ever. Much of the global workforce has transitioned to virtualization, and Akorbi’s deep technological roots put it in a prime position to thrive while helping others.
“With COVID-19, there was fear because there were so many unknowns. But I never worried about Akorbi,” Sarah said. “I knew that our team would make it all work and deliver. It was just a matter of finding out what the clients needed, with the world changing so quickly. And we’ve helped a lot of companies during the last few months.”
And according to Claudia, team members are so passionate about helping clients because the Akorbi looks out for their needs and empowers them to be successful — at work and at home.
Akorbi: Building a Family Environment that Other Enterprises Can Model
Enterprises on the path to digital transformation can leverage Akorbi’s language services to grow and succeed globally. But they can also take a lesson from the company’s dedication to maintaining a family atmosphere while experiencing massive growth.
“What makes Akorbi unique is the employee experience, which is very supportive of women and families,” Sarah said. “Akorbi doesn’t just say, ‘Family first,’ but actually treats employees like family, and wants to ensure that we all have a healthy work-life balance.”
That atmosphere started well before Akorbi began acquiring companies and branching out into new markets, technologies, and services. Claudia set out to build a business that people would feel privileged to work for.
She said that during one acquisition meeting, executives started throwing around ideas about candidates for employment. One executive even said that it would be a privilege for Akorbi to hire one of the candidates. But Claudia thought the company should strive to make it the other way around.
“I told the team, ‘It should be a privilege for that person to work for us.’ At Akorbi, people can make a living from locations around the world, get treated like family, and be satisfied that their families are taken care of,” said Claudia.