1. Listen to Understand
Strong client and candidate relationships are built on communication. Start your relationships off on the right foot by listening to understand. While you’re an expert in your field, clients are also experts in theirs.
Ask the right questions of your client to ensure you have the full picture about their objectives, the role, reporting structure and organisational context they want to recruit for.And don’t shy away from difficult questions. If someone has left the role after a short period of time, for example, sensitively find out what went wrong so you can avoid making the same mistake again.
Finding candidates that really fit the brief relies on the same skill set: probing questioning, behavioural analysis and where required, skill or aptitude tests, can all be deployed.
2. Continuously Clear Communication
Once you’ve established a relationship with your customers, managing it effectively is key to continuing a positive customer experience.
Doing the basics right, like answering your phone politely, replying promptly to emails and returning calls are fundamentals that aren’t always followed.
For candidates, providing clear and transparent feedback is one of the single biggest services you can provide. And, while you need to move people through the recruitment process, ensure you let them know what’s happening with likely timescales.
If plans change, let people know. Your basic good manners won’t just deliver good customer service, they’ll make your mother proud too.
3. Keep Up to Date
Being an expert in your field means keeping up to date with recruitment trends. This enables you to provide the best advice and means you’re aware of hot jobs before clients know they need them.
Striving to be the best recruitment advisor you can be will keep you on top of your game and give customers confidence in your ability. By develop a sterling reputation, candidates and clients are likely to use you on repeat.
4. Advice for the Good of Their Business
It’s sometimes easier to go along with a client who wants to recruit an unnecessary role for their organisation. But if you know they’re not ready or are wasting their money, honesty is the best policy.
You’re the expert in your field. You know what structures need to be in place for a role to succeed and which roles will deliver the specific outcomes a client is looking for.Being prepared to contradict your client is brave. But by sharing two or three options and recommending the approach that will work better for the client’s business, will result in a relationship of trust and respect for your judgement in the long term.
5. Set Realistic Expectations
Under-promise and over-deliver is one way of working but do this constantly and you could erode your customers’ confidence.
This is particularly true when discussing items like timescales to recruit and salaries. Over- promise on salary and you’ll find it difficult to come back down. Firming up salary ranges with clients is essential and building in slippage to recruitment timescales means you’re more likely to deliver every time.
6. Personalised Customer Care
Every candidate and every client is the centre of their own world. Forget that and you’ll find yourself in hot water.
When your business is about matching people to organisations, taking a standard approach doesn’t instill confidence in your personal brand or that of your business.
While you have policies and processes to follow, you can still treat every individual uniquely. Taking time to research your client or candidate and targeting them individually is far more likely to cut through than an easy-to-spot generic email.
This is backed up by research from the Institute of Customer Services who found that, “greater personal contact and feedback … to gain an intuitive, authentic understanding of evolving needs” is critical to delivering quality service.
Ongoing communication also makes customers feel cared for: schedule periodic calls to share updates and find out how things are going. Or, set up a Google alert for your clients and candidates. If something happens, be the first to congratulate them to keep your relationship warm.
7. A Lasting Impression Beats the Quick Win
Customer experience is key to trust, sustainable performance and long-term success. But only if you aim to develop lasting relationships rather than securing quick wins.
Being a one-hit wonder who fulfils a contract and disappears may make you feel like you’re constantly moving forward, but retaining clients is a smarter way of working long-term.
With on-going economic uncertainty and the instability that accompanies it, businesses want security. With high-quality, long-term relationships founded on trust and respect, making yourself a safe bet will keep your customers coming back.
8. Deliver on Your Brand’s Values
Behaving in line with your company’s values is key to ensuring a job well done. At We Are Adam, we deliver exceptional service through our team of recruiters who:
By ensuring we behave in line with these values at all times – with clients, candidates and colleagues – we consistently deliver a high level of customer and colleague experience.
9. Follow Through on Your Word
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Following up on your promises demonstrates transparency and helps generate trust and dependability. Start by managing expectations by agreeing realistic goals and then deliver on them.
If a mistake is made, how you clean it up matters. Research from the Harvard Business Review found that:
“We buy from a company because it delivers quality products, great value, or a compelling brand. We leave one, more often than not, because it fails to deliver on customer service.”
Acting quickly in response to a disaster and making it easy for your customer to move forward delivers better outcomes and increases customer loyalty. Which is great for your business and your performance review.
10. Provide Forward-Looking Advice
With strong relationships in place, you’re well-positioned to become a trusted advisor to your clients. Don’t wait for them to ask what can be done to improve their recruitment strategy, be proactive in coming up with your own ideas. New approaches that will help them get more from their budgets are particularly welcome in times of austerity.
This will show you understand their business and the challenges they face. And you’ll position yourself as their go-to recruitment person of choice with the acumen to help them grow continuously.
As Walt Disney once said:
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”