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  • Writer's pictureNick Andriacchi

Selling Tangible Customer Service

“Our service is what sets us apart from our competitors”. Everyone says this, but how do you tangibly prove it?

For the independent staffers reading this, you need something tangible to define your company while competing against the national players. Hopefully this article will inspire some good ideas on how to improve and sell your staffing “service” to your customers.

Great Leaders Empower Staff

The leader of the office sets the service standard that the rest of the staff tries to meet or exceed. Owners and key leaders usually have some extra passion for their company which has a huge impact on the rest of the staff. And in many independent staffing offices, the owners are visible and readily accessible.

Leaders (current and future) – Let’s look at customer service from 10,000 feet. Leaders create the atmosphere for the office. A leader can nurture a culture that excites the staff to come to work. Empowering and letting them have ownership in their job will foster the same passion for your company and servicing your customers. Ultimately, that same passion will go a long way in retaining your customers.

I recently spoke with a friend of mine Janet Waller of Perimeter Staffing. She loved the fact that the company I used to manage empowered employees to make decisions without having to ask their supervisor. “I can feel it through phone” is how she phrased it. Because the staff was empowered, they took ownership of their job and really serviced the clients well.

Focus on the Customer Experience

Start with putting yourself in your customers shoes. What are their needs and how would they like their needs to be serviced? What internal and external challenges are they facing? In the rare case that mistake is made, how will it be handled to ensure that the trust level between you and your customer and remains high? The point is – provide service as defined by the customer. As an independent staffing company, your reputation is your biggest asset. Everything else usually favors the bigger players, so you don’t want to lose your one true competitive advantage. Once customers are lost you may never get them back.

Face Time

It’s time to start visiting clients in-person again. By engaging with your clients regularly, it allows you to better adjust to their needs. I recently met with a friend of mine, Larry Flight owner of Staffing Authority (pictured above) in Phoenix, AZ. While HQ is in Nevada, Larry frequently visits his office in Phoenix, but just as important, he visits his clients as well. By doing so, he recently won a very large order because he took the time to nurture the relationship.

Ability to Deliver

The road is usually paved with good intentions. As leaders, you should be able to excite the staff to service the customer. But do you have the ability to deliver what was promised?

For example, one of your best customers suddenly presents your company with an exclusive contract and open positions need to be filled quickly. Great opportunity, but can your infrastructure (excluding personnel) handle the order?

Does your company have web-based, robust applicant tracking software to quickly search, contact and place candidates? Can your company gather and approve time, distribute payroll, reports and invoicing electronically? Does your company have the financial ability to fund payroll until the invoices are paid?

Infrastructure of this kind takes a large investment of capital. I hate to say this but this is primarily why the “big boys” win these types of contracts even though the customer prefers the service of an independent.

Level the Playing Field

Independent staffing companies do not need to cede good business to the nationals. Full service funding companies can provide the necessary infrastructure that an independent needs to compete without a large capital investment.

Effectively Communicate Tangibles

Again, independent staffers have a big advantage here. It is much easier to have staff speak with one voice and effectively communicate tangibles such as:

· Empowered Employees

· Focus on Customer Experience

· Face Time with Customers

· Ability to Deliver

Don’t just say – live it, deliver it.

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