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Are Your Competitors in Temporary Staffing Stealing Your Clients with Your Own Tools?

Today I got a scare...not from a client or someone working on a temporary assignment but from a vendor! Mary, our Controller, came into the office and informed us that she had decided to switch insurance companies. The agent on our account was understandably very upset and wanted to speak to the President of the company. This was an organization we had done business with for years. Tommie took her call and explained that it was a decision that Mary had made based on dollars along with other services offered. Any further discussions or negotiations would have to be with the Controller.

We found out later she got Mary back on the phone and with an indignant tone asked besides the money what the other services were that she was interested in being offered by a competitor. Upon hearing the list, she indignantly responded “we offer the same services, you never told me they were important to you”.

The scare was not over insurance. It was a wake up call leading me to wonder how often we possibly leave doors open for our competitors to woo clients that we have worked long and hard to earn their business. Do they slide away from us because we didn’t put forth the effort to make sure they know “hey, we do that”. Our sales teams and recruiters must own up to the fact that just because we told the client or prospect of our wonderful capabilities and service offerings doesn’t mean they will keep it in the fore front of their mind. The cost of acquiring new business, especially in today’s market, is staggering.

Strategies must be put into place to literally handcuff our clients to us, to create a relationship that is based on reliability and trust that you always have their best interests at heart, not your desire to simply fill jobs. The following should be a critical part of our weekly plan and strategy review for temporary sales growth.

Do we truly have a quality review process or simply a check in call? A simple call to ask the client how our temporary employee is doing doesn’t leverage your desire to perform above expectations. Are you asking questions about the critical requirement of the work order to insure their objectives are truly being met verses crossing our fingers and hope that no news is good news?

Have you developed new technology or approaches in locating a higher caliber candidate in today’s market? The great differentiator in today’s market is finding outstanding talent. Current market conditions offer a unique opportunity to attract talent far superior to what was available a few quarters ago. Share your successes with clients who say they don’t need anyone today so that when things change, you will stand out in their mind as someone with a possible quick fix.

Offer a new product, project or business promotion
Always have something new coming out of the box. Here are two examples:

Let the client know you have a team who is just completing an assignment and are now available    for redeployment, complete with exceptional    feedback on completing assignments well within deadlines.

Recruit in a specific skill set that is in high demand yet low in supply. Recently, we have developed a special niche in engineering for identifying hard to find document control people. Repetitive reminders are necessary to keep that information in the fore front of the mind of our client’s who work in that field.

Consistently cross sell different branches, divisions or business units. I have been amazed over the past 30 years how many times we inform our client about a service and hear, “Hey, I didn’t know you did that!” We finally got smart and now have a follow up marketing piece called “Hey, we do that”.

Are we reminding the client of the due diligence we are conducting on their behalf with criminal background checks or drug screens? Have our filters helped to identify people who were NOT considered although they looked good on the surface but had a background that showed major risks had they been deployed with the client? When we tell these stories to our clients, they are given the opportunity to see what could have happened to them if we don’t do our jobs as well as we do. Our service is designed to ferret out problems before they happen. The story is a powerful message that carries more meaning than our description of our background check process.

Have we advertised who has completed national certifications such as CPC or CTS? The time, energy and financial resources committed to obtain national certification is a tremendous testimony to the dedication your firm has to maintaining standards of excellence in the industry. The implication you are trying to establish is “Why would the client choose to work with someone who has not put forth the effort to meet national standards of excellence”? The more you discuss certification and the continuing education required to stay abreast of the legal guidelines and mandates to properly service and protect our clients can carry weight. It may have to be anchored a number of times in order for the message to take hold.

Do we review the variety of services you offer that bring added value:

Skill enhancement training for employees engaged at the client
Quarterly Quality analysis specifically designed for employee retention
Pro active recruiting for large or key accounts

Anyone who has client tenure has developed special offerings where you may have stepped above and beyond for a client. Make sure you find opportunities to occasionally review the projects or programs you have engaged in specifically on their behalf. Use these when talking to other clients of the special features you have available that could have positive impact on them. They may chose not to implement one because at the time they may not see the value, but should their circumstances change they are likely to remember. More importantly, if your competition were to bring up the same value adds, it will have less meaning because they already work with a service that has similar capability.

Are you offering customized invoicing for easier processing? This is an area we pay such little attention to that has dramatic impact if done properly. On the first invoice, have accounting call the accounts payable area to discuss the invoice to see if anything could be changed or added to make it easier for them to process. If any changes are discussed, it is important to speak to your contact to let them know what you were able to work out. Better yet, have the accounts payable area call your contact themselves. Bragging about you from inside your client carries more weight than if you carry the message yourself.

Client retention has the single greatest impact on our bottom line performance. We have to be repetitive and consistent in getting our message anchored into the minds of our clients. Today, more than ever, we must prevent our competition from sneaking in the back door using the tools you already possess against you. The most sure fired way of keeping that from happening is telling them what you do, in different languages each time, over and over and over again. The great news is your client will then call you over, and over and over again.