As recent reports highlight declining customer satisfaction in the recruitment sector, how can agencies up their game?
The latest Jobs Outlook reports from the REC showed – among other trends and insights – a decrease in levels of customer satisfaction from recruitment agency customers compared to previous surveys.
For a sector coming under increasing pressure from economic and political events, creating and retaining satisfied clients has never been a more urgent priority for the staffing community.
In response to this stark reminder of the speed with which reputation and customer confidence can slip away, how can recruitment agencies step up their levels of customer service?
Focus on relationships
Building relationships has always been key to success in recruitment, but often it’s an issue which gets handled at the recruiter level.
‘Good recruiters’ have a knack for building and maintaining relationships, both with clients and candidates. It’s often this skills that’s credited for consistent billing performance, while weaker recruiters struggle to deliver.
For ambitious agencies, however, relationships are a topic to be tackled at the corporate level – not the individual.
Companies need to be asking what training they’re providing on relationship-building, what best practices and standards are being outlined?
What policies are being put in place, and how are they upheld?
How are other business functions, such as marketing and finance, getting involved to play their part?
Switching the internal mindset from relationships as a ‘recruiter’ problem to a ‘company’ problem can bring about a fundamental performance shift.
Tackle stereotypes head-on
Recruitment as an industry has always had to deal with a bad reputation caused by a few for poor customer service.
- Candidates applying for roles and not hearing back.
- Clients failing to receive search results or updates.
- Hiring managers wading through mis-matched CVs.
- Ill-prepared candidates missing or underperforming in interviews.
If agencies put their heads in the sand over these issues, or adopt a default “it’s not us” approach, blaming others in the marketplace for these reputational issues, then the problem persists.
Firms committed to delivering a higher standard of customer service shouldn’t be afraid of looking in the mirror – evaluating their own people and processes to see how they match up to common negative stereotypes and taking corrective action to ensure they steer clear of contributing to the issue.
Put technology to work
Managing and upholding complex relationship management policies is a big task.
Recruiters manage more relationships than almost any profession – dealing not only with a customer base, but also a mirror network of candidates on the other side.
This means that manually attempting to influence an agency’s over-arching customer relationship management effectiveness is virtually impossible.
Instead, agencies who lean on their technology systems to co-manage the problem can take significant strides forward.
CRM systems have the ability to help agency owners and managers dive into every company customer and candidate touchpoint with granular accuracy, either for ad-hoc inspection or through regular scheduled reporting which flags up cracks in the system long before they become damaging leaks.
Without the technology platform to effectively monitor and impact customer service levels to both employers and job-seekers, business owners are leaving their reputations largely up to chance – a risk few can afford to take in today’s climate.
Voyager Infinity and Voyager Mid-Office are software solutions that make Recruiters’ lives easier. Voyager Infinity is a CRM used by thousands of recruiters globally to source, nurture and maintain the relationships with their clients and candidates, and Mid-Office manages the entire Pay and Bill process (IR35 ready).