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“That’s Not My Problem.”

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Ever had a client who had an extreme reaction to a relatively minor service issue with your staffing firm?

It happens all the time – we all know how rude customers can get! Often, a small problem with your staffing firm is just the straw that breaks the camel’s back. For whatever reason – and through no fault of your own – a client or candidate will take their frustration from another situation out on you:

  • Obviously, it’s not your fault if an employer had an abysmal service experience with another staffing partner that dropped the ball.
  • And logically, you shouldn’t be held responsible for the way an unscrupulous temp agency mistreated a job seeker who’s now looking for work through your firm.
  • Likewise, it’s unfair for a customer to snap at you because they didn’t sleep well the night before or had a spat with their dry cleaner over a lost dress shirt.

None of these things is your fault, but that doesn’t mean it’s not your problem. So, while it’s tempting to snap back at an angry customer when you’re not to blame, maybe you should show some empathy. Here’s why:

Staffing customers are people. And people come with baggage.

Like it or not, each of your staffing customers brings with them a collection of bad experiences and service mistakes (staffing- and non-staffing-related) that add up over time. Research has shown that, while they may be completely unrelated to your company, those upsetting events can impact the service experience a customer has with you.

Customers who are already upset are more judgmental about their experiences with you, and they’re less open to your ideas. Neither is a recipe for service success! What is? In this earlier Shareworthy Service post, I provided a few relevant tips for creating great experiences even when customers come to you upset:

  • Keep a cool head – even if your customer doesn’t. It can be hard not to internalize harsh, undeserved criticism, but it’s best to just let their comments roll off you like water off a duck’s back. Most of the time, if you let a rude customer vent, they’ll wind themselves down.
  • Gently probe to uncover the real problem. While it’s not appropriate to pry into your customer’s private life, a few well-chosen questions will get your customer talking – and help you get to the heart of the matter. When a customer realizes you’re truly committed to creating a great service experience for them, they’re more likely to drop the emotional baggage they’ve brought to the current situation – and more open to developing a solution.
  • Help them! Once the customer calms a bit and you understand their issue, do whatever you can to make things right.

Effectively managing upset staffing customers can be a real service differentiator for your staffing service. Defusing tensions, demonstrating your commitment to great CX, and sending customers away singing your praises creates word-of-mouth advertising that’s exponentially more effective than traditional forms. The next time a customer overreacts or blames you for someone else’s service mistake, see the situation for what it is – a service opportunity. With a little empathy and the right approach, you can transform a bad situation into a great one, and build lasting staffing relationships.

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