Why customer care is all about relationships

By Louise Millar

Coffee

I was a recruiter myself in a previous life, and it’s one of these professions where relationships are absolutely key. That’s pretty obvious of course, but when I started working at Head Resourcing – in a role I’d never seen before in a recruitment agency – I found a whole new appreciation for how important building and maintaining relationships with the people we help is. I joined the company in October 2015, and since then I have been working alongside the Contractor Support team looking after all of our contractors.

We have hundreds of contractors on-site with clients across the UK, and my job in a nutshell is to provide a consistent point of contact for them. With a lot of recruitment agencies it’s not uncommon for people to be placed in a role by a recruiter and then never hear from them ever again. As far as we’re concerned this is so NOT the way to do things. We like to do things differently, and I’m proud to be a part of the team that makes that happen.

Putting in the face time

Most companies focus their customer service and feedback around electronic means – emails and online surveys – but in my role I travel across the country, from Edinburgh all the way down to London to meet with around 40 contractors every month, face-to-face.

In my meetings I generally discuss their role, trends or changes impacting the market, along with gathering feedback on their experience with Head Resourcing so far. Granted, a lot of this information could be gathered in an online survey, but I find that having an in-person discussion, our contractors can have a more fluid and open conversation on the issues they want to discuss, from challenges they’re facing in their role, to planning ahead for their careers, personal circumstances and so on.

When it comes to customer service, it’s all fine and well saying that you care, but I believe that even just making that effort to meet someone face-to-face goes a long way to showing them they’re not just another number, but a human being that we do genuinely want to help.

What could we have done better?

This isn’t always an easy question to ask, but it’s really important for us as a company that we continually improve the service we provide. It’s always better to be proactive and know how we can improve rather than plod along with our head in the sand.

Taking a personal approach helps us work much closer with our contractors. It’s all fine and well to benchmark our performance and find out what people think of us, but by really getting to know our contractors we are able to take that one step further by forming a plan of action that is tailored to each individual.

We don’t just rely on these face-to-face meetings, of course. We also ask for feedback in a survey at various stages throughout and after our contractors’ assignments. In these questionnaires, as well as checking in to see how they’re getting on, we ask them to rate us. I’m happy to say that we are consistently rated by our contractors as providing a high level of service, and that our communication with them is effective and personal, more so than other recruitment agencies they’ve worked with.

The benefits are two-way

As a company we benefit from these closer relationships also. By being able to know what will affect our clients and our business as far ahead in advance as possible, it helps us to proactively plan ahead. Feedback and critical information is logged on our systems as well as being distributed throughout our recruitment teams. This approach helps us work as one cohesive machine, with information flowing freely and comfortably across divisions.

Across the business, we hold the power of maintaining strong relationships very highly, but from a customer care perspective I think it’s simply the best way to build real trust. I feel very lucky to be doing this job; I get to meet so many great people, travel the UK and most importantly, make a real difference.

Also, when you’re talking benefits, I’ve worked out that by now I must have drunk well over 200 coffees on the road – that’s definitely what I’d call a perk! :)

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