Ever play Whack-A-Mole?

As a kid, I had a love-hate relationship with the game. It was fun testing my speed, but it was also extremely frustrating – because it was impossible to predict which mole would pop up next. All I could do was wait and react.

Customer service can feel a lot like that…

…reacting to problem after problem…if that’s all you’re doing: REACTING.

Shep Hyken recently wrote a great post on the problems associated with a reactionary approach to service – and how to deliver more proactive customer service. While he describes a cable customer’s service issue in his blog, the example provides some useful takeaways for the staffing industry:

  • When customers have a problem, they email, tweet, post or call for two simple reasons:
    • to vent;
    • to find out when their problem will be resolved (no surprise there, right?)
  • The best response to a customer who has an issue isn’t “We’ll look into this right away,” it’s, “We’ve already solved your problem!” Your clients and candidates don’t merely want you to react to issues; they expect you to anticipate and prevent them. Staffing firms that are the best at spotting and fixing problems before the customer notices will enjoy a stronger brand, greater customer loyalty and a healthier bottom line.

The moral of today’s post?

Be more proactive about solving customers’ problems!

Obviously, it’s impossible to predict the future – and you’ll never be able to anticipate every customer issue. But if you rely on a purely reactionary approach (i.e., waiting for customers to complain) you’re doing your firm a huge disservice. In fact, unhappy customers may never say a word to you! They may find confrontation stressful, or they may even blame themselves for customer service issues. As a result, they may remain silent, take their business elsewhere and leave you scratching your head, thinking: “What the heck went wrong?”

Instead of whacking moles, be more vigilant and proactive. Actively solicit feedback on your service and placements. Check in with clients, even when they don’t have active job orders with you. And never mistake silence for satisfaction. Do these things, and you’ll have ample opportunities to turn disgruntled customers into your biggest fans – and ultimately retain their business.

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