How Staffing Firms Engage in the “Era of the Customer”
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Bullhorn Engage conference in Boston, and two of the keynotes that bookmarked the event really drove home the importance of how staffing firms engage in 2015.

The first was from Art Papas, founder of Bullhorn. Naming the event Bullhorn Engage represented a transition from mostly product innovation (the previous conferences were branded as Bullhorn Live), to a broader strategic focus on how best to engage clients and candidates, as well as employees. 
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For clients, the Don Draper model of waking up hung-over and closing deals with sheer charisma is dead. Not that we don’t still see some highly successful charismatic leaders in this industry – but with a customer that is making the majority of their purchase decision before they even pick up the phone to call you (Forrester 2014), and accomplishes two-thirds of their journey digitally, poor Don isn’t going to have as many business lunches to woo his prospects.

If clients and candidates are doing so much research up front digitally, what are they seeing?  If they aren’t going directly to Yelp or Glassdoor.com, they may be seeing those results anyway on the first page of Google.  If your company garners a bad reputation, it could be the first thing your prospective audience sees. (Learn more about a really easy and affordable way to manage your online reputation.)

The final keynote was from Ryan Estis, who has a powerful way of connecting with the audience.  To truly brand the customer experience, you have to offer a compelling insight to educate your client about something they didn’t know, customize that offering to them, and demand performance.  A big part of engagement is being a connector – if you start making more referrals on your own, with no expectations of anything in return, you’ll make it easier for others to refer you.  They say that 75% of customers are willing to evangelize, but fewer than 20% do – if you make it easy to ask, imagine what will happen once you do!

Ryan shared a powerful personal experience of the impact blog writing had on his life.  He challenged the audience to set a “TAN Plan” – Take Action Now, with three top takeaways to act on in the next 30 days.  I was well overdue for a blog post, so this is the start of one of my three actions I’m committed to.  I’d love to hear how you plan to engage!   

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