It has been a while since I had a really good laugh reading something on the internet, but apparently this item caused me great mirth, because even people on the other side of the office came over to see what all the fuss was about.
Yes, the article on Skrentny Speaks where I am described as having ‘large metallic balls that most in the profession can’t even touch‘ cheered me up for its political incorrectness as much as for the implied compliment.
Skrentny was referring to Aquents’ drive to improve the customer experience, and our new strategy where we survey customer satisfaction every quarter and reward consultants on customer feedback. He is a fan of our initiative, and goes as far as saying ‘This attention to our buyers is why the best of us have survived year after year against the big boys’.
I continued on the theme of the appalling state of customer service across the recruitment industry in my latest blog, and the comments on the blog, via twitter and in the recruitment press, have been lively and mostly favourable.
At Aquent, we have a whole raft of internal customer service delivery agreements, but for us, or indeed any recruiter, I feel there are several key ‘moments of truth’ where candidates can be turned into raving fans (or lifelong critics). So many recruiters get this so wrong. Plenty in the staffing business think finding a candidate a job covers up all other sins. This is patently not correct, and I know many candidates have been found new roles by recruiters they subsequently despise for their arrogance, lack of respect and non-existent communication. What the candidates who are not found new roles think, I hate to ponder.
And the reverse is true too. My good friend Graham Whelan, who founded a company with me in the 1980s called Recruitment Solutions (which we subsequently took to an IPO, after building it nationwide) is a case in point. Graham is probably the best recruiter I have ever known. He had such a high quality attitude and service delivery to his candidates, that we worked out that Recruitment Solutions were taking two to three new job orders a week from previous candidates of Graham, who were now in a hiring position. Interestingly, the vast majority of these were people he had not placed! Why? Well, it seems that returning phones calls, giving honest advice, empathy and doing what you say you are going to do, so differentiated Grahams’ service to candidates, that they never forgot him, and sought him out when they were in the client role.
Seriously, ponder the implications of that for a moment.
And it’s not that hard. Key ‘moments of truth’ we are focussing on at Aquent include;
- The period of time between initial interview with us and the first temp assignment (or perm role referral). This is critical. The talent has taken time to come and see us. We have spent an hour together. A relationship is established. Communications expectations are set. This is when the recruiter must deliver. The candidate is vulnerable and keen to hear next steps. The recruiter needs to actively engage with the talent whether there is an assignment on offer or not. Keep them informed. Advise on the market. Advise on progress with their job search.
- The post first interview stage after a permanent role interview. This is a burning moment of truth. The candidate has seen the client. They are “dying” to know more. Many recruiters leave them hanging. This is especially true if the recruiter learns that a particular candidate is not favoured by the client. That is the time to communicate with the talent and manage their expectations.
- On a long-term temp assignment. It is an irony, but a long term temp will make more money for the recruiter than the biggest of perm fees. But often the temp is never contacted by the agency who placed them. It’s a major criticism of the staffing industry. And it’s dumb business. That contractor is generating income for you every day. Nurture them. Keep in touch. Show appreciation. They can be your biggest advocate or your most vocal critic… to your client.
So in our view ‘customer experience’ is the key differentiator for recruiters going forward.
Do YOU have the balls for it?
- Posted by Greg Savage
- On February 15, 2010
- 2 Comments