reallyYou just lost a client – but you’re not sure why. You filled their order with a qualified candidate, within their time frame and budget.

Still, they called and complained to the receptionist, claiming that your service is seriously lacking – and that they won’t be working with you again.

Did someone drop the ball? Is there anything you could’ve done to fix the situation? How can you prevent this from happening again?

Okay, admittedly this scenario is a bit contrived, but I’m trying to make a point here:

If you don’t know what’s wrong with your service process, it’s pretty hard to fix it.

So if service issues are leaving you scratching your head, thinking “What went wrong?”, keep reading. Here are some surprising reasons your customer service could be failing – and how to turn things around:

No (or improper) triage. While I’m sure you’d like to be able to simultaneously address every one of your clients’ needs, we both know that’s just not realistic.  Your customer service resources are limited, and you have to tend to the most serious problems first. An effective triage process allows you to identify, categorize and prioritize client issues, and then execute appropriate responses.

Train all your employees who have contact with clients how to triage problems, and then solve them, delegate them or escalate them. With formal training and appropriate empowerment, triage can help you avoid customer service failures by responding with the appropriate level and expediency of service.

Lack of formal customer service training. Is formal customer service training absolutely essential, even for recruiting and account management positions? In a word, yes. Even if you make a point of only hiring people who are friendly, respectful and solutions-focused, those employees still need to know how to deliver shareworthy service within your staffing or recruiting firm. Truly excellent customer service is all about consistency – and the only way to ensure it is by formalizing the process:

  • Start by creating formal policies for the most common types of customer service opportunity and issue you encounter.
  • Standardize and document how you’d like your staff to handle each situation, including a process for handling those “one-of-a-kind” situations that invariably arise.
  • Organize your policies into a manual and use it to guide training for both existing employees and subsequent new hires.
  • Hold periodic refresher courses, to introduce new service policies and find ways to improve existing processes.

Underdeveloped listening skills. Exceptional listening skills help you and your staff prevent misunderstandings, strengthen business relationships and get things done right the first time. Provide your employees with adequate training to help them tune out distractions, correctly read customers’ nonverbal cues, verify understanding and reserve judgement. This earlier post will help everyone in your office turn their ears into customer service secret weapons.

What are your biggest customer service challenges in staffing today? Share your thoughts or ask me a question below.

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