In the recruiting profession, it’s all too easily to become overly focused on closing the next deal. However, focusing too much on that deal at the expense of your overall customer service can be detrimental in the long run.
by Stacy Pursell
It does mean something, and identifying what it means is the first step toward ensuring that it can help your recruiting business reach its full potential and all of its goals for production, profitability, and success.
First and foremost, great customer service does three things:
It engages customers. In today’s fast-paced, technologically driven society, getting and then keeping somebody’s attention is becoming more and more difficult. Great customer service is worth its weight in gold for accomplishing this alone.
It brands your firm in a positive way. Your recruiting firm’s brand is what clients and candidates think of it. Unless you take proactive steps to brand it in a positive way, they will brand it themselves, based upon their experiences. Providing great customer service is the first step in making sure that the experiences they have with your firm are worthwhile.
It makes you more memorable. People tend to remember great experiences, and they tend to look back on those experiences fondly. Not only that, but they have a desire to duplicate the experience, and as a result, they’ll come back to you to do so.
Now that we’ve discussed the things that great customer service does, how do you achieve such a level of customer service? During my time as a recruiter, I’ve found that there are some key components to providing great customer service to your clients, those companies with which you partner to help recruit the best talent available and fill their open positions. It also holds the key to providing the same customer service to candidates.
The following six action steps illustrate the components necessary for great customer service:
Do what you say you’ll do. This is crucial in the building of trust,
which is the single most important thing to build with both clients and candidates. If you set expectations for yourself, make sure that you meet those expectations. After all, if you don’t, how can you possibly expect clients and candidates to meet expectations, especially the ones that you’ve set.
Be consistent. Clients and candidates want to know that you’re reliable. (Incidentally, doing what you say you’ll do is one way to be consistent and to prove your reliability.) The recruiting and hiring process is filled with uncertainty by its very nature. Everything can and does happen.
While it’s true that working on whatever is “closest to money” first is a sound strategy for planning your recruiting desk on a daily basis, I’ve found that keeping the big picture in mind is crucial to long-term success. An important part of that success is great customer service.
But what exactly IS “great customer service”? Just about every business claims to have it. Sure, it sounds good, but does it actually mean anything?
You shouldn’t be contributing to that uncertainty. You should be counteracting it by serving as an island of stability and reliability.
Focus on results (solutions). The bottom line is that customers and clients want a solution to their problems . . . and they want YOU to provide that solution. Not only that, but they want somebody who they feel is partnering with them their question to find the solution. That’s why focusing on results from the very beginning and all the way through the process is so important.
Over-deliver. Once again, focusing on results is only the start. You must also supply superior results. When it comes to clients, I don’t send a stack of resumes. Instead, I provide them with several well-qualified candidates (typically from their direct competitors) that I have targeted specifically for their needs. In short, I find and recruit candidates they can not find and recruit on their own.
Respond quickly. It’s not enough these days to provide good results. You have to deliver them quickly, too. And it doesn’t stop there, either. You must respond quickly to inquiries and other forms of communication. It might sound like a small thing, but doing so goes a long, long way.
Be cheerful! It’s no secret that people like being around happy, cheerful people. On the other hand, they don’t like being around people who are grumpy
or downright angry all the time. A positive attitude attracts people to you. Ask yourself this question: if you had to choose between two recruiters of equal skill, and one was positive all the time and one was negative, which one would you choose? Have a cheerful attitude helps ensure that people want to work with you.
Focusing on customer service can and does help a recruiting firm grow its business. I’ve seen it help my business over the years.
However, providing great customer service allows you to be seen as more than just a service provider. It helps you to be viewed as a partner in the search process by clients and as a career coach by candidates, and when you’re viewed that way, it allows you to attract more business, gain more clients, take more job orders, and make more placements.
Great customer service isn’t just the key to closing your next deal . . . it’s the key to building your recruiting business prosperity and growth in the long haul.