Client satisfaction is the key to any company’s prospects for growth and profitability but how to achieve it will vary depending on the industry. In the Staffing business there are some issues that are key.
The Broadway play, and subsequent movie “Fiddler on the Roof” was based, in part, upon the Yiddish stories of the “Matchmaker” and the important role they played in Jewish culture.
Matchmaking is probably one of the “oldest staffing companies” in history.
You find the right wife for the right husband and collect a fee. Quite like what we do in the staffing industry. Simple?
Well, not quite. The classic matchmakers of current history (in some cultures) and ancient history had a more complex job and so do we in the modern staffing industry.
Although your staffing software can generate a “match” quite easily from the client criteria and your talent pool, there are important subtleties that can make a significant difference in a client’s satisfaction.
Doing it right the first time” is, of course, one of these, i.e. getting the right placement for the right firm. But your chances are better at accomplishing this if you know your clients, their places of business, and get some “feel” for the culture of the place. And it certainly helps to know your workers.
Some of your client and worker’s more subtle desires, abilities, and qualities can also be built into your staffing software’s database. What are the priorities and motivations of your workers? Is it maximum pay, learning or gathering experience? Will a client be happy with someone who is there to learn, or do they want someone very skilled and highly productive from day one?
A woman who will be using childcare services may be highly motivated by having a quality “day care center” close to her work. She may need flexible hours and how open is your client to accommodating this? A college student may need, or want flexible hours to give their college work the priority it deserves.
Giving some extra thought to the actual “match” can make a real difference in client satisfaction.
In a modern staffing agency, and especially in the current era of the “joint employer” concept, good professional training is critically essential and will go a long way in yielding client satisfaction.
In a blog article last year titled “Building a Professional, In House, Training Program”, I listed several important reasons for this beyond the critical importance of protecting your company and your client from compliance issues: These other reasons were:
- Client Retention
- Employee Retention
- Loss Protection
- Staff Development
The article presented the vital necessity of “documentation”. Training needs to happen but almost equally it needs to have a “signed off” documentation that it did, in fact, happen.
One of the newer areas of staffing software is the automation of “Onboarding” for new (and existing) employees. I like its comprehensiveness and documentation features like “signing off” (electronically) on items like company policy, client policy, safety training film viewing with a quiz on understanding.
Companies can add items like sexual harassment training film with quiz, etc. All documented info provided by the applicant goes directly into their main employee file. If there are any non-completed items, the entire process is flagged until the missing information is provided.
When your company presents its training program to a prospective client the deal is nearly complete.
Follow Up and Follow Through
Everything that is presented to a prospective client needs an early “follow up” and an ongoing “follow through”. A new placement needs a follow up visit or call to the client early on to make sure everything is going well and if not a follow through is necessary to correct the situation.
It often happens that a routine “follow up” is done initially, then, nothing happens until the assignment is over. To create and maintain client satisfaction, a planned and pro-active “follow through” is a necessity. To wait for the complaint is deadly. So also, is a lack of follow through on every issue that arises. Nothing is more deadly than a client asking a month later; “I thought you were going to get us someone new on this project”.
Both are essentially matters of integrity, keeping your word, following through to a satisfactory resolution. Satisfactory as in “satisfaction” and specifically, client satisfaction.
Those Little Extras
The difference between a 4- and 5-star hotel is often the little things, that tiny box of chocolates, the gourmet coffee, the sanitized TV remote, etc. Not big things but small, convenient things that make doing business with you more efficient, and helpful.
There are some time-honored customer gifts (promotional items are getting better) For many years I sent out boxes of good quality cookies during the holiday season. That were appreciated but if service is bad and “they get a box of cookies” watch out!
The airlines have been doing a great promotion for many years with “bonus miles”. It’s actually a discount, of course, like rebates on credit cards. If you come up with a similar plan be very careful. There can easily be a problem with who is entitled to your “Marriott room nights”.
Some staffing companies provide a web portal on their website which enables their clients to access account information from your staffing software’s databases. These portals are securely designed to deliver only the information you have defined beforehand.
Better to focus on these latter types of extra services at no little cost but creating something extra that is a useful service.
Note: Make sure the extras are extras, even having the appearance of being a substitute for what should be an excellent service will certainly backfire.
Client Centered Company
OK, a cliché, but every cliché becomes one because it expresses a good idea. The problem is when the cliché is all there is, an image without a corresponding reality.
It is amazing how some very large companies seem to get away with the image of being “client centered” while something close to the opposite is true. When you have millions to spend on public relations and advertising you can drown out a lot of reality.
Being really client centered means that it is a genuine core element of the corporate culture which is evident in the way the telephone is answered or visiting clients are welcomed, how complaints are addressed, proactive personal meetings, anticipating needs, hiring the right people, conducting business with integrity that creates trust.
This list is hardly comprehensive so add your own items. It is a culture you are creating, and the list of qualities will be longer, perhaps much longer. And the list is never complete. Additions should be made as new conditions suggest.
In short, achieving a client centered company culture can create a lot of “client satisfaction” and a good deal of your own and your employee’s “satisfaction” as well.