In Staffing Customer Service, Little Words Mean a Lot

  By Victoria Kenward  |    Sunday October 15, 2018

Category: Expert Advice


“No problem.”

“My pleasure!”

Which of these simple phrases would you rather hear?

The difference is subtle, but definite. Both let the customer know that the speaker (i.e., a staffing firm employee) will help them with their request. The first phrase, however, includes the word “problem,” which has a negative connotation - as opposed to “pleasure,” which is decidedly more positive.

In customer service, little words mean a lot.

Positive language is a powerful tool you can use to shape clients’ and candidates’ experiences with your staffing firm. Here are a few words and phrases you and your team can tweak to make customers even happier:

“No problem.”

Instead of insinuating that your customers could ever be a problem or bother to you, focus on the fact that you’re genuinely glad to help them resolve an issue.

Better option: “My pleasure!”

“That’s going to cost you more.”

If, for example, a client wants a temporary worker with a specific skill set, you could choose this very direct phrasing - but it’s only going to make the client think about how much higher their bill rate will be. If you modify your wording just slightly to focus on the additional value that more highly skilled temporary provides, however, your client will think more about the benefit they will receive - and less about the cost.

Better option: “For just $2/hour more, we can provide a candidate who is highly skilled in [skill set] and brings X more years’ experience to this assignment.”

“We don’t do that.”

In the past, I’ve written about why it’s important to selectively say “No” to your clients if they ask you to do something that:

• you don’t have the resources for;

• you don’t have the expertise for;

• you can’t attain the capacity for.


But there’s a right way and a wrong way to turn a client away. If you don’t want to risk alienating a good customer, be respectful and professional when you say “No.”

Better option: “While I’d love to help you with [insert request], I’m not sure we have the resources to meet your expectations. Let me look into a few alternatives to help you with this.”

“Like I was saying...”

This phrase implies that your customer interrupted you, and that you’re trying to get the conversation back on track. Yes, customers go off on tangents and occasionally rant. Your job in providing shareworthy service, however, is to skillfully redirect the conversation without making the customer feel as if they’ve done something wrong.

Better option: Eliminate this phrase altogether and simply return to where you left off.

“They shouldn’t have told you that.”

If someone else in your organization provided your customer with incorrect information, don’t throw your teammate under the bus. It gives the impression that you don’t have your act together as a staffing firm, or that you have a toxic corporate culture (i.e., an “us” versus “them” mentality). Always present a united front to your customers and use “we” language to convey the fact that you work together as a whole.

Better option: “I apologize; it looks like we miscommunicated. I will take care of that for you.”


About Haley Marketing Group

Haley Marketing provides website development, email and content marketing, social media marketing and strategy consulting to the staffing industry. We provide services to more than 1,200 staffing and recruiting firms throughout the world, ranging from solo recruiters to larger staffing and recruiting organizations with regional, national and international offices. Our mission is simple: to make great marketing more affordable!


About Victoria Kenward, Vice President & COO


Vicki is our queen of shareworthy service. She is 100% committed to making everything we do a “WOW” for our clients. She’s also a tech wiz and process guru who is responsible for some of our most innovative web applications, including HaleyMail, our Job Board software and our Talent Showcase product. With her degree in Information Systems and leadership training from Xerox, Vicki’s systematic approach to work and amazing attention to detail are a perfect complement to the rest of our team’s more “creative” approach.


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