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When Should You Make an Exception for a Staffing Client?

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Could I get an extra side of ranch?

Can I swap those fries for broccoli?

Could we split that entree?

When serving customers in a restaurant, accommodating exceptions like these is pretty simple. But when you’re serving staffing clients, making concessions is seldom as cut and dry.

How should you handle a staffing client who asks for something extra, outside what you normally provide?

You can either delight them by giving them what they want…or irritate them if you don’t deliver. While each client and situation is unique, here are a few best-practices for handling exceptions:

Accommodate what you can.

Great systems, policies and processes form the backbone of successful staffing. But sometimes you need to bend the rules to deliver truly shareworthy service.

If a client’s request is simple, and the exception doesn’t conflict with your ethics or values, grant it. Great customer service is all about going the extra mile to make clients happy.

Empower your team to make great decisions.

Within reason, give front-line employees the training, freedom, resources and authority to make the occasional exception:

  • Educate and train your employees. Clearly define each employee’s role in front-line problem resolution, as well as the authority they have to make exceptions. Give them the tools, training and processes they need to make good decisions (as well as guidelines for when service exceptions should be escalated) – and then get out of their way.
  • Remove red tape. Do whatever you can to make it easy for staff to solve clients’ simple problems and compromise to make a situation right. If a customer has to jump through too many hoops to get an exception they need, it defeats the purpose!

Sometimes, it’s best not to make an exception.

Certainly, you should do whatever you reasonably can to deliver a great experience for every client. Under certain circumstances, however, telling a staffing customer “no” is the best course of action. If they ask for an exception that:

  • you don’t have the resources for…
  • you don’t have the expertise for…
  • you can’t attain the capacity for…

…don’t hesitate to turn them down. Why? If you say “yes” under circumstances like the ones I’ve listed above, you can fail miserably – and wind up falling below expectations, undermining trust and ultimately alienating your best customers.

Sometimes, bending the rules to delight your customers is smart business.

While making exceptions may require a bit more effort on your team’s part, it’ll help you develop customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising that generates tremendous ROI for your business.

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