As all recruiters know, technology has revolutionised the recruitment industry in the past few years and recruitment companies which don’t promptly embrace the new technology run the risk of going out of business very quickly. However, notwithstanding all of this technological change, it is important to recognise that the importance of certain factors have remained the same and companies who only focus on technological improvements also run the risk of going out of business. Some things are not changing in recruitment!
I am of course referring to the importance of customer service which has not only remained important in the recruitment industry but has actually grown in importance as the expectations of clients and job seekers continue to increase.
Most companies assume they provide excellent customer service but if they don’t have this measured regularly and independently they may be fooling themselves and by the time they realise they have a customer service problem it may be too late.
A good customer service survey removes all grounds for complacency and proves or disproves whether a company is “walking the talk” in terms of the level of service that its customers are actually experiencing.
An effective customer service sector can also indicate whether a company is living up to its core values or whether these values are just empty statements framed on a wall which fail to inform how a company actually treats its customers. Values which are not implemented can also be counterproductive and may give rise to cynicism among customers and among staff. A current example from another industry sector where this cynicism is alive and well is in the banking sector which seems to be universally distrusted at present but which continues to make statements about its commitment to providing excellent customer to a disbelieving public. It may be possible to get away with this kind of hypocrisy in a monopoly or in a cartel, but in a normally functioning market place, with a wide range of service providers, companies which fail to look after their customers go out of business.
Collins McNicholas has conducted several independent customer service surveys over the years and these have been invaluable in identifying things the company was doing well but more importantly it also indicated areas where it needed to improve. Such feedback was not only helpful to a company I think it was essential.
Of course it should go without saying that there is no point in carrying out customer service surveys if a company is not going to act quickly and decisively on the feedback it receives. It is also important to check back with customers after a while to establish whether the actions taken in response to the original survey have had the desired effect of improving customer service.
In conclusion, I believe that it is every bit as important for a company to monitor its customer service as it is to keep abreast of technological advances – I know this certainly has been true in the case of Collins McNicholas.
Founder & Management Consultant