Enjoy angry clients?

Love associates who walk off assignment and never return?

Of course you don’t. But unless you intentionally hire for and develop customer skills in your staff, you’re setting yourself up for disaster.

Great service skills are as important to your staffing or recruiting firm as a great ATS. They’re skills that allow your team to delight clients and talent, effectively resolve (and even prevent) service issues, deliver consistently shareworthy service, drive loyalty and more.

So, which skills are most important for professionals in our industry? Here are four essential customer service abilities every member of your organization – from account managers and recruiters to front- and back-office personnel – needs:

Critical Customer Service Skills for Staffing Industry Professionals

Listening

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 thorough training on how to listen effectively to reinforce the value of this important skill – and reap the benefits. In this earlier post, “Ears: Your Customer Service Secret Weapon,” I share 7 tips to develop active listening skills.

Empathy

Can clients be rude? Absolutely. Can applicants have unreasonable expectations? Sure. But when you’re in a service industry, you have to remember that customers are real people – and people come with baggage:

  • Their perspectives, values, interests, goals, wants and needs are likely different from yours.
  • They may have had negative service experiences with unscrupulous staffing or recruiting firms.
  • Personal or professional factors you don’t know about may influence the way they interact with you.

To serve customers well, put yourself in their shoes. Use phrases like “I understand,” and “No wonder you were feeling (insert emotion here),” to show that you’re making an effort to understand their concerns. Remind your team of why empathy is essential to shareworthy service, and use the concepts in this post, “That’s Not My Problem,” to help build this critical skill.

Knowledge of Your Services

Forward-facing employees in your company must have a deep knowledge of how your services – and service processes – work. Beyond learning about our industry as a whole, your staff also needs an in-depth understanding of:

  • nuts-and-bolts stuff, like pricing, margins, guarantees, recruiting and processes, etc.;
  • details about how your services stack up against competitors’;
  • the business value your solutions deliver.

A solid foundation of knowledge is what allows your team to efficiently develop the best solutions when customers have issues. Does that mean you need every team member to be an expert in every area of your business? No, but you do need to provide sufficient training so that every employee knows how to quickly provide answers, resources and solutions (without giving customers the runaround).

Confidence

Confidence may not technically be a “skill,” but it is essential to providing great customer service. After all, if your account managers and recruiters don’t believe in themselves, the service your team provides, and the quality of your candidates and services…how can you expect customers to? Give your team the support and training they need to get – and stay – confident. In this post, “All Great Account Managers and Recruiters Need This ‘Skill’,” I share practical ways to develop this vital service skill.

What other skills do you think are essential to delivering shareworthy service? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop me a line or share your ideas below.

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