While Hospitality, Retail, and Financial Services are generally the highest renowned industries for good customer service, Recruiters are infamous for their poor service:
They have a bad reputation for being pushy, not getting back to candidates, and only being interested in the fee.
However, high quality customer service is just as crucial to the Recruitment Industry. We believe that you can deliver great customer service when you consistently add value to your customers and clients, and go above and beyond what is expected of you.
So here are some ways you can improve your customer service and add more value than your competitors.
1. Answer your phone.
People want to talk to other people, and there is nothing more infuriating than an automated list of options that eventually lead you back to the company website. Forward your phone calls, ensure there’s staff on hand to pick up any overflow calls on a hunt group or, at the very least, invest in an answering machine that you actually check. This is especially important in recruitment, as you spend a lot of time on the phone to clients and candidates; make sure you have a system in place so you can be aware of any phone calls you miss.
2. Only make promises you will keep.
Will keep. Not plan to keep. Not might keep. Not think you will keep. Proving you’re reliable and trustworthy is central to relationship building, and customer service is all about your relationships with your clients and customers. If you say it, do it. Otherwise, just don’t say it. Meet your deadlines, be punctual to appointments, send those documents you said you’d email across. Nothing annoys customers or clients more than a broken promise, so think carefully before making one.
3. Listen to your customers.
Stop with the sales pitches and listen to the person with the problem. Let your clients do the talking and by offering solutions to their problems you’ll prove you’ve been listening, which is an invaluable soft-skill in customer service. In recruitment, if you truly understand your client’s hiring problem you’ll be able to find the ideal candidate for the role.
This also applies when people make complaints. If you can listen to your customer without getting defensive, you may find that you can offer solutions (even a simple apology and gesture of goodwill go a long way), and that opportunities to improve your business arise from their negative experience.
4. Help others, even if there’s no immediate benefit to you.
I recently reached out to a couple of GDPR specialists, to ask for their advice on how to ensure compliance, as I am heading up the project at Farrell Associates. They have come back to me, willing to help, even though they don’t know me and there is no obvious benefit to them for giving me some guidance. I really appreciate that they have been willing to give up some of their time and, in turn, I will recommend them to others who may need help. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful in any service industry, and if people hear good things about a brand, they are likely to try it out and often end up going back. Equally, if a person has a good reputation, then clients will use them and then go back to them time and time again.
“Your brand is what people say when you’re not in the room” – Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon
5. Go above and beyond.
Here are two scenarios:
You are looking for a specific product in a supermarket and you ask a shop assistant where it is. The shop assistant replies “It’s in Aisle 5”. You go over to Aisle 5, and look for the product. When you eventually find it, you see there is only one left, and you need two. You go back to the shop assistant, to ask if there are any more in stock. The assistant says they aren’t sure so you ask them to check in the stock room. The assistant goes to the stock room, finds the product and brings it to you. You leave the store with your two products.
You are looking for a specific product in a supermarket and you ask a shop assistant where it is. The shop assistant replies “It’s in Aisle 5”, with a smile, and walks over to Aisle 5 with you. The assistant locates the product and hands it to you. He or she then asks you if you need any further assistance. You ask if there are any more in stock, because you need two. The assistant goes to the stock room, finds the product and brings two more over to you, explaining that there is a “Buy Two, Get One Free” offer on. You leave the store with three products, and a smile.
Which is the scenario we are most often faced with?
Which is the better of the two?
If you want to provide excellent customer service, go the extra mile. People may not say it, but they’ll definitely notice if you make more effort. If you add value to their experience, your customers and clients will come back to you, and what is more rewarding for a business than customer loyalty?
Applying these simple rules will ensure that your business is known for its high-quality customer service, which will work wonders in the long term. After all, excellent customer service not only correlates positively with customer retention, it also brings in new clients!
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Charlotte Robinson, Administrator