We officially celebrated our 25th birthday back in August…
…but we’re keeping the party going through the rest of the year!
Today, I’m capping off our “25 ideas” series with my favorite customer service tips for staffing firms. If you’ve missed the earlier posts in the series, check them out here:
And we also have a holiday gift for you:
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25 Tips to Provide Shareworthy Service
Each of these bits of customer service wisdom links to a full post on the topic. Happy reading, and happy holidays! (Disclaimer: Some of these posts are several years old, so statistics may be outdated. The customer service lessons, however, are timeless.)
- Never mistake silence for satisfaction. Silence may be golden, but most unhappy staffing customers will never say a word to you; they’ll just take their business elsewhere. Make it easy for your customers to share their praise publicly – and their complaints privately.
- Know your metrics. When you track your service, you know how well your staffing firm is doing – and where you need to improve. Discover the three customer service metrics that matter most in staffing.
- Show your customers that you care. Genuine caring gives you a real advantage over your competitors. In fact, research shows that over 2/3 of lost business is due to a supplier’s indifference! Check in with your customers regularly to find out how things are going, identify new opportunities and make sure you’re not at risk of losing a great staffing client.
- Ensure everyone on your team has these 4 essential customer skills. 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.
- Empower your team to deliver shareworthy service. Are your employees equipped to resolve problems, leaving clients feeling positive and loyal? If one of your employees makes a service decision, do they know that you’ll back them up? If you want to deliver amazing service, give your team the authority, training and resources to satisfy customers.
- “Unshatter” fragmented customer experiences. The same technology that’s designed to bring you closer to customers can actually fragment (and undermine) their experience. Learn how to deliver seamless, consistent service, no matter how employers and job seekers choose to interact with your firm.
- Little words mean a lot. Positive language is a powerful tool you can use to shape clients’ and candidates’ experiences with your staffing firm. Learn words and phrases you and your team can use to make customers even happier.
- Know when to make an exception for a customer. Great systems, policies and processes form the backbone of successful staffing. But sometimes you need to bend the rules to deliver truly shareworthy service. The trick is to know when to do it.
- And know when to say “no.” Certainly, you should do whatever you reasonably can to accommodate a client. Under certain circumstances, however, telling a staffing customer “no” is the best course of action.
- Standardize your customer service practices in these 3 areas. When it comes to customer service excellence, consistency is critical. Consistently great customer service builds trust, strengthens your brand and demonstrates that you really care about clients and candidates – all without saying a word.
- Don’t be a service ostrich. Sticking your proverbial head in the sand won’t make customer service problems go away. Use proven customer service feedback techniques to gather high-quality information, prevent service issues and identify opportunities for you to raise the bar in customer service.
- Use the “KISS” method. Great customer service is simple, quick and convenient for customers. And the best way to make things simple for customers is by first making customer service simple for your employees.
- Build a customer-centric company culture. If you want to use customer service as a competitive differentiator, walk the talk. Build a culture in which everyone in the organization: views service experiences through customers’ eyes; is empowered to solve customers’ problems, meet their demands and exceed their expectations; provides shareworthy service to both external AND internal customers; and puts customers at the heart of their business.
- Labels matter. The terms you use to describe clients, candidates and associates make a huge difference in their perception of, and experience with, your agency. Choose words that are welcoming, inclusive, respectful and reflective of both your brand and values.
- Teach your team the language of staffing customer service. Social media, automation software and even artificial intelligence are transforming the way customers interact with your staffing or recruiting firm, as well as the way you meet their needs. To deliver truly shareworthy service, you need to speak the language of customer service fluently.
- Skip the fauxpology. Phrases like: “I’m sorry if you are offended,” “I’m sorry you feel that way” and “Mistakes were made” may be easier for you to say, but they’re really not apologies. When a customer is upset, think through your wording before you speak, and remove any hint of defensiveness from your tone.
- Triage customer service issues. While it’d be nice to be able to simultaneously address every one of your clients’ needs, that’s just not realistic. Your customer service resources are limited, and you have to tend to the most serious problems first.
- Develop strategies to defuse irate customers. Upset staffing clients are, unfortunately, a fact of life in business. Whether it was due to an error on your staffing firm’s part, or you’re entirely blameless, these tips can turn an angry customer around.
- Build a rock-solid service recovery process. The way your company responds when something goes wrong can make or break your business. If you’re good at it, problems will never escalate to the point where you lose a customer. But if your company fails at service recovery, you can damage your online reputation and lose business. Learn how to turn service mistakes into opportunities.
- Provide shareworthy service to internal customers, too. Shareworthy service shouldn’t be reserved just for the people outside your company – it’s for your internal customers, too. The best staffing companies realize this and strive to deliver exceptional service with every “customer” interaction – whether that customer is inside or outside the company.
- Find ways to prevent communication “black holes.” Knowledge is power during the recruiting process; it prevents candidate ghosting and needless anxiety. Leverage a mix of automated communication and human feedback to keep applicants informed throughout the hiring process.
- Be a goldfish. Resilience – the ability to move on and put a negative experience behind you – is essential to serving every client and candidate well, because it allows you to approach each new service interaction with an optimistic and solutions-oriented mindset.
- Follow up with every employer and job seeker. Even if you can’t help them! Staffing is competitive. Automation makes following up easy. Customers are increasingly impatient. And following up is simply the right thing to do.
- Reconnect with your customers. Lockdowns and quarantines have kept us apart physically, and that distance has understandably eroded business relationships. Reaching out to your clients and candidates reestablishes the human connections we all crave – and is vital to nurturing relationships.
- Channel your inner toddler. When customers are frustrated or confused, they may vent or present their challenges in ways that aren’t clearly defined. Use your active listening skills and the “five whys” technique to get to the heart of their service issue and expedite a solution.
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