Do you want to know the best practices in customer service in a staffing agency? If YES, here are 10 best practices to take note of in 2021. Without doubt, the staffing industry is very competitive. Retaining clients can be challenging when there is always a competitor out there eager to undercut you or beat your rate.

To get your clients to stick with you, you need to partner with them and be a resource that provides a valued service to their company. Have it in mind that if you don’t treat clients with the courtesy they deserve, they will take their business elsewhere at the drop of a hat.

Note that creating a more hands-on approach with your clients is critical to improving the lifetime value of each account. Depending on the size of the client, one sale can have a significant effect on your revenue and margins. Similarly, providing delightful and dependable customer service will ensure that the client not only renews his contract with you but will take you up on your other offerings as well.

According to experts, the fastest way to gain a good reputation in the staffing agency market is to let clients do the talking for you. But you have to earn this reputation and it entails ensuring your best clients are always treated well. Note that the reward you gain for providing excellent customer service is that your clients will become your brand evangelists – offering testimonials and public reviews that encourage other potential clients to work with you.

Unlike other business industries where interactions are more or less isolated and mostly transactional, staffing agencies work on a relationship-driven model, which makes customer service a primary part of any business they conduct with clients. In fact, it is very common for staffing agencies to have ‘Success Managers’ mapped to certain high ticket accounts, instead of just assigning support agents.

Best Practices in Customer Service in a Staffing Agency

  1. Treat Your Employees as Your First Customer

Always remember that happy employees mean happy clients. The attitudes and behaviors of your employees will to a great extent to influence your customer service and satisfaction. Employees should be put first ahead of customers. This may be contrary to your current belief but think about it. When your employees are happy they will look forward to work because they are valued and appreciated.

  1. Hire Right

The long-term nature of a staffing agency makes relationships the bedrock of your customer service. This places the emphasis on hiring the right people to forge those relationships. Although some skills can be trained, employees should more or less come to the table with the skills and traits. These are required to really understand your customers, read between the lines of what they’re asking for, and truly empathize with any issues or frustrations they have.

  1. Draft Customer Service Standards

It is recommended that you explicitly state your service standards, and make sure every employee is aware of those standards. Note that having a clear document that explains acceptable standards will help in setting the customer’s expectation and they will help in measuring your employees and establishing training programs to help them to excel. Create your customer service rules and standards to be specific, adequate, and measurable, based on the requirements of your customer, written in your job descriptions, and used in performance reviews.

  1. Invest in the Right Tools

The importance of the right tools is often underestimated. In staffing agency customer service, they help you deal with the inherent complexity.

  • CRM software. When dealing with multiple people at the same company, it is challenging to remember a specific conversation or the points previously discussed. Note that different people from your agency will likely also interact with your multiple contact persons, which easily leads to mix-ups and misunderstandings. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software helps manage those interactions.
  • Issue tracking. Staffing Agency issues often require the service team to delegate to other individuals or teams. Without a tracking system in place, there may be confusion about the status of a ticket and who is handling it. Your Clients will need their issues to be resolved quickly if critical business processes are impacted. That’s why it pays to invest in software that can track all those issues and that speed up the process. Real-time notifications can be set up to keep customers in the loop.
  • Website chats and messaging. When considering a product, customers may have a lot of questions because of the complexity of your staffing agency services. They may need more in-depth explanations or more supporting content to help them make up their minds. Website chat is well-suited to guiding customers throughout their journey due to the fact that it is real-time and on-site.
  1. Listen First Then Speak

Don’t forget that every client has a need and they all want to be heard. They want to know you are listening. They want to know that you have an interest in what they have to say. Since they are searching for the best fit for their company, they may ask you for information or advice; use that time to direct them to the right plan or service. If they are upset, use active listening to let them know that you hear them and work to discover the root of the problem. Ask questions, get to the bottom of it, and provide resolutions.

  1. Lead by Example

Holding a customer-service seminar and then dictating action may get your team temporarily hyped, but it won’t bring the change you want. As a leader, you are expected to set an example by doing whatever needs to be done, first. Over time, providing share worthy service – not just preaching about it – will create momentum for culture change.

  1. Onboard and Educate Your Customers

Since the service a staffing agency offers can be more complex, customer education is paramount. Extensive knowledge of how you hope to achieve their request boosts customer value, which is why it pays to invest in customer on boarding. In customer onboarding, it is important to realize that clients differ in their objectives and backgrounds. Someone responsible for the technical implementation needs a different onboarding than a sales executive. Customer onboarding and education shorten the time it takes customers to reach their goals, minimizing the risk of churn.

  1. Create a Service Mantra

Note that you don’t need to make your team chant, but you do need to craft a single sentence (and yes – it is harder than you think) that describes your organization’s customer service mission and goals. Remember, your employees aren’t mind readers and unless you spell out what your agency stands for, you can’t work together to build the right culture.

  1. Forge Relationships with Multiple People at your Customer’s Company

Indeed, you will need to deal with multiple people at your customer’s company. If you invest your time in only one contact that ends up leaving the company, you risk your relationship with the entire company. To avoid this happening, it is ideal to build relationships with more than one person at your customer’s company.

  1. Have Multiple Relationship People at your Company

Just the same way the contacts at your customer’s company could leave; key contacts in your agency too could also leave, taking their knowledge and relationships with them. For important accounts, it makes sense to have multiple connections from your agency to mitigate this risk. In professional sports teams, players come and go all the time, but that doesn’t hurt the emotional connection that fans feel with the club, as long as this process is gradual.

Customer service is an important aspect of owning any business. Make it the number one priority at your staffing agency and you will keep your clients happy. Good client satisfaction can build long term partnerships, which means more business for your staffing agency.

Joy Nwokoro