Most of us realize this intuitively, but a great article on Forbes.com called "What Customers Want: Companies That Bend the Rules" really put the concept into perspective for me. Here are a few key takeaway points from the full article:
- Great service interactions build your business.
Companies spend a lot of time and money on things like PR, thought leadership and viral Facebook campaigns. The real front lines of your staffing business, however, are in the small, daily service interactions your employees have with clients and candidates. The word-of-mouth referrals you generate by consistently delivering exceptional service accomplish more than just PR and social media.
- Managers impact the quality of service employees deliver.
Whether interactions leave your clients feeling good or bad about your company, they don't happen by accident. At some point, management has either sent a signal to employees that it's smart to take initiative to keep a customer happy, or that it's okay to skimp on service and disappoint customers - as long as your employees "go through the motions." Bottom line, your front-line employees take their service cues from managers, so make sure you lead by example.
- Make sure employees' intentions are genuine.
When your staff provides service, you don't want their smiles or cheerful recitation of service policies to conjure images of evil, grinning clowns. Remind everyone in your company that you really do have your customers' satisfaction at heart - and that sometimes, that means bending the rules for them. Make sure your staff is properly trained and empowered to deliver great service with a great attitude.
If you have the time, I highly recommend reading this entire Forbes.com article. It contains a few real-world examples of shareworthy service in action. Yes, these companies did "bend the rules" to accommodate their customers' needs, but by doing so they increased loyalty, generated great word-of-mouth advertising and ultimately created customers for life.
I'd also love to hear your stories of how your staffing company provided shareworthy service and the impact it had on your business. Please leave me a comment.