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What Causes Customer Friction in Staffing?

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Friction? Save it for the science lab.

Friction is neat when it creates static electricity (okay, technically it’s the adhesive forces pulling off electrons that causes the buildup of a static charge – but we’ll leave that lesson to science teachers) – but friction in service? That’s downright frustrating to your staffing customers.

What causes friction in your service process – and what can you do about it?

Shep Hyken’s latest customer service post on friction reviews ways companies and employees create customer service friction. Here are a few of the key culprits in the staffing industry, and shareworthy tips for making your staffing firm easier to work with:

Causes of friction in staffing customer service:

A lousy website.

Unappealing design. Unclear or lengthy copy. Slow-loading pages. Anything that makes your site difficult for visitors to navigate, find what they need, order or apply (on any device!) creates friction.


  1. Ask a trusted colleague or friend to review your website as an employer or job seeker would. Ask for their honest opinions on: the overall structure and design; how easy the site is to use; the length, clarity and persuasiveness of your copy; whether the calls to action are clear and compelling; and how they’d improve it if it were their company.
  2. Read this post for practical ideas to reduce friction in your staffing website copy.
  3. Request a free staffing website audit. Our team will review your site and share opportunities for improving customer experience to drive more qualified applications and sales leads.

Inconsistent (or incorrect) information.

Confusion is a prime source of friction. When a customer gets two (or more) answers to the same question, it makes their brain ache.


  1. Communicate all changes (e.g., to your policies, services, website, communication processes) to your team – so they can properly inform your customers.
  2. Review all customer-facing communications (e.g., website, sales collateral and even on-hold messages) to make sure they’re accurate.
  3. Assign someone in your organization responsibility for customer communications, to ensure any changes are properly introduced to your entire team as well as your customers.

A poorly designed customer experience.

Potential clients and candidates don’t want to jump through hoops to work with you. If any aspect of their end-to-end experience with your firm is cumbersome or takes too long, they may drop you for a competitor.


  1. Take a walk in clients’ and candidates’ shoes. Immerse yourself in the customer experience. How well do you really understand what it’s like to work with your staffing service – at every step of the process? Track the customer experience through your firm’s service pathways, taking notes on where friction occurs. Talk to customers. Survey them. Try to think like them. Role play. Do whatever you can to better understand the how’s and why’s of staffing from their perspective, identifying and removing potential roadblocks, bottlenecks and sources of stress.
  2. Read this post on the need for real-time feedback to improve candidate customer experience.
  3. Review this eBook, “Happy Clients. Happy Company.” for more practical ideas you can use to improve your client experience.

Want more resources to reduce customer service friction in staffing?

Check out these earlier posts:

Want More Repeat Staffing Business? Grease the Wheels.

The Inconvenient Truth About Your Customer Experience

Then, contact one of our marketing educators. Whether you need help minimizing friction for job seekers, employers or both, we have the advice and solutions you need.

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