For all my blog posts please see 'The Savage Truth'
Last week I blogged on the importance of customer service in the recruitment industry, and how Aquent is surveying customer satisfaction, and rewarding our staff based on customer feedback
My story was picked up by recruitment journalists in Australia and the UK, and I have been fascinated by the feedback this concept has received. Comments on my blog are all favorable, but I have also had feedback that the concept is flawed because our staff ’will be worrying about satisfying customers instead of focussing on making money’. In particular, some critics regard spending too much time on candidates as foolhardy because, in the words of one individual, ‘Candidates don’t pay your fees’.
Frankly, this kind of comment gives me tremendous encouragement. That competitors in the staffing industry can be so naive, and so blind to the power of referral, recommendation and repeat business, driven by satisfied customers, makes me very confident about the future of Aquent, and the careers of our staff.
Two days after my blog, came an article in the Australian on-line newsletter Recruiter Daily. Robert Godden, a HR consultant with People Magic conducted research that involved collecting 85 job ads (50 with agencies, 35 with employers), all of which invited potential applicants to call a specific person for more information.
In the course of making 85 phone calls, Godden was only able to reach seven of the nominated contacts, all of whom were from agencies.He left 76 messages for the remaining recruiters (after two numbers rang out).The “unbelievable” result of the experiment was that only seven recruiters returned Godden’s calls — less than 10 per cent.
After ringing 50 of the numbers again a week later, he got through to two recruiters and only a further four (out of 48) returned his messages – again, less than 10 per cent.
As a career recruiter, proud of what we do, I find this result supremely depressing. We run expensive ads and invite people (customers in my view) to call us. Then we ignore them. It is disrespectful. It’s a sad indictment of the way recruiters are managed and coached. But it is also a supreme opportunity. An opportunity for forward thinking recruiters to differentiate and provide a level of service that leaves customers “wowed,” Frankly right now, it seems just returning a call might ‘wow’ most candidates replying to ads.
Talent is the only real currency a staffing company has. It’s what clients pay us for and it’s going to get increasingly difficult to access quality talent as the recovery takes hold. Job boards will become less effective and in any event they only tap into the active talent market. The recruitment company that owns the talent market.. will own the market
Candidates as customers? It’s a no brainer surely!
At Aquent we have a global strategy to improve the client and talent experience. We know we have much work to do. But we are tackling the task with gusto. We plan to stand out by hiring people with the right attitude, coaching customer service standards, measuring our customer satisfaction independently, and then rewarding staff according to what the customer thinks.