Imagine this: you’re sitting at your favorite restaurant waiting excitedly for your meal, when suddenly, your server tosses your food carelessly onto the table, refusing to make eye contact with you. Before long, you’re marooned with an empty coffee cup, thinking about how Tom Hanks felt more connected to humanity in Castaway than you do in this very moment.
We’ve all been there at some point. Unfortunately, these experiences with non-exemplary customer service often lead people to create inaccurate, negative generalizations of an entire industry. The recruiting industry is no exception to this. Despite the many brilliant professionals who are always “on the ball,” a few bad apples can spoil the barrel for many job candidates and employers seeking help from search firms.
Those professionals who don’t strive to provide outstanding customer service are missing an opportunity to create lasting relationships that will further the interests of both their companies and clients. Over the years, I have developed a few key customer service principles that I use during every interaction I have throughput the day. Here are a few:
- Become a subject matter expert. Sharing your specific knowledge in a meaningful way can help create positive experiences for your customers. Whether you are talking with a prospective client or attempting to solve a problem within your own organization, researching topics like current trends or emerging issues in your industry will develop a more memorable dialogue.
- Go the extra mile for your clients. Having an “above and beyond” mentality truly goes a long way. However, this is not to say that you should over promise to those who depend on your services. Instead, show that you’re invested in the relationship by being the one to initiate follow-up calls, or remembering specific details from your conversations with them.
- Do your research. As you prepare for any conversation, do your homework to add warmth and sincerity to your interaction.
- Develop the mission-driven nature of your work. For example, if you work in retail, don’t think of your job as a sales associate as a purely transactional role. Remember that you’re providing a service that enriches the lives of others by helping them receive the goods and services that they desire. Knowing that your work makes a difference for your clients is a great way to stay energized and focus on completing the project or task at hand.
To quote our very own Sally Stetson in one of her most recent blog posts – “the most effective searches we conduct are with clients we’ve formed a close partnership with over time.” To build those partnerships, it begins by applying these principles and holding our team accountable to the highest quality of service. Whatever your role is within your organization, following these steps will only enhance your interactions with people who are counting on you and your expertise.