Waiting for someone to lean in and whisper a warning that you’re about to lose a valued staffing client?

Don’t hold your breath.

Today’s staffing customers have choices. Lots and LOTS of choices. A single service mistake can jeopardize your business relationship with an organization. Heck – even clients that have gladly used your services before are apt to drop your firm like a hot rock.

And you may never see it coming.

Be vigilant! Don’t wait for client attrition to become a problem for your staffing or recruiting firm. Instead, look for these warning signs, so you can intervene before it’s too late:

Warning Signs You’re About to Lose a Valued Client

Squeaky wheels.

For the most part, a complaining client is actually a good thing, because it alerts you to problems and allows you to put your service recovery process into motion. But if you find that a customer begins calling more frequently with relatively small problems, it could be a sign that they’re unhappy with your staffing firm. As with any customer issue, fix “squeaky” clients’ problems fast and “wow” them with your service. For your best clients, make sure that you’re personally involved with the resolution process.

Un-squeaky wheels, too.

Most unhappy customers will never say a word to you; they’ll just take their business elsewhere. In this post I explain why clients avoid complaining, and why silence is definitely NOT golden when it comes to customer service.

Pay close attention to clients who suddenly stop returning phone calls, start ignoring emails or begin distancing themselves from account managers. A customer who is giving you the silent treatment may well be in negotiations with someone else.

Comparison shopping.

“Well, ABC Staffing said they’d do this for me – why don’t you?” Comments like this one are serious red-flags; clearly a client who says something along these lines is shopping other agencies, and their business with you is at high risk.

But now’s not the time to be defensive; it’s time to put yourself in their shoes. Go back to the sales process and revisit what the client wants and needs. Delve into their pain points and challenges, so you can have a meaningful conversation about the real business problems you solve – and the value you provide as a partner.

Organizational changes.

Mergers. Acquisitions. Layoffs. Internal restructuring. They can be a boon for your staffing firm, but they can also lead to sweeping changes in how organizations use staffing and recruiting – as well as the partners they work with.

Don’t wait for clients to contact you with news; it might be too late. Periodically ask customers about what’s on the horizon for their organization. Continually nurture relationships, so you stay in the loop. Be proactive about requesting introductions to new decision-makers, so you have opportunities to establish key relationships as changes occur.

When threats emerge…

With client retention risks seemingly everywhere, what’s a savvy business owner or account manager to do?

Be more proactive about solving customers’ problems. Actively solicit feedback on hour service and placements. Check in with clients, even when they don’t have active job orders with your firm. Make it easy for customers to complain. And never mistake silence for satisfaction.

Do these things, and you’ll find out about molehills before they turn into mountains – and keep your best customers, longer.

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