Staffing Firms can Build a Culture of Customer Service
Question: What’s true of love, health and a culture of customer service?
Answer: You can’t buy any of them!
As any savvy staffing professional knows, great customer experiences start with a great culture – one that’s focused on serving the best interests of clients and candidates. And over time, sustaining a customer service culture is good for business. When you consistently care for customers, you generate more repeat business, have higher associate retention and ultimately build a healthier bottom line for your staffing agency.
But while the concept of building a service culture sounds “nice and neat,” the process can be quite complex.
So, let’s make it a little easier for you.
Since you can’t bribe your employees to deliver consistently exceptional service (at least not legally), use these six tips to create a thriving customer service culture:
- Articulate a customer service mantra. (This is one of the toughest, yet most important, parts of culture-building.) Craft a sentence which describes your company’s overall customer service mission and goals. Why? Because everyone on your team – from the owner to the receptionist – must understand what your company stands for when it comes to service. Only when everyone is on the same page can you work together to build the right culture.
- Start at the top. Senior managers must set the right tone and lead by example. Instead of just preaching about customer service, they should also provide exceptional service (especially to internal customers).
- Don’t just train; educate. Customer service “training” teaches your employees how to do things that are tactical and prescriptive. Education, however, imparts fundamental service principles that every employee can apply to his job – regardless of his role or the situation. So move the needle in your staffing firm. Instead of merely training employees to respond to specific problems, educate them on how to think proactively, focus on solutions, and deliver desired outcomes.
- Empower your team. To live out a service culture, employees must have the authority, training and resources to satisfy customers.
- Hire for your culture. As you grow your team, take the advice you give your own clients – and hire people who mesh with the service culture you’re trying to build.
- Give your team a reason to change. If you expect employees to change the way they treat clients and candidates, explain the “WIIFM.” Make the connection in their minds between exceptional service and your company’s success. Consider creating financial incentives tied to individuals’, teams’ or your entire organization’s customer service performance metrics.
Are you proud of your staffing agency’s service culture? Does everyone in your organization understand what “exceptional service” looks like in practice at your firm? Do you have the right people in place: individuals who are truly passionate about serving others? Are your employees fully educated, equipped and empowered to resolve employers’, job seekers’ and associates’ issues?
These are just a few of the questions you should consider when building a culture of service within your staffing firm. If you want to really move the service needle and strengthen your agency, use the ideas in this post to make customer service part of the very fabric of your organization.
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Photo courtesy of Lenny K. Photography.