Recently I was asked, “When you are working on a search for one of your best clients, and the resumes come to you, how quickly can you determine if it is someone your client will be interested in?”
I was honest and admitted it only took about five seconds. He gasped on the other end of the phone and asked what I do with the people who don’t cut the mustard. I told him our process was telling candidates that they are not a fit for our current role, but that I will keep their information for other opportunities and imply that we will likely have something for them in the future.
He calmed down, but pointed out that what really frustrates him is that quite a few hiring managers only look at resumes for a few seconds after many of them prolong the application process, which can take candidates multiple hours to submit. It is no longer just sending in a resume. He said it disgusts him that they are only spending five seconds looking at an application that likely took two hours to apply to.
He made a great point; it’s not a fair tradeoff. This got me thinking; are we really being fair to people who want to work for us? Candidates have spent two hours of time filling out an application for the chance to join your company, yet we are only giving them five seconds of review before we make a decision.
Today, everyone is talking about customer experience management; creating a consistent, desirable and differentiated experience across all touch-points with your organization. According to a Walker study, by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and products as the key brand differentiator.
The reality is that every time you or someone in your company engages a customer, it creates an experience that they remember. A positive emotional experience anchors them to you, whereas a negative experience will encourage them to head straight to your competitor. Where are the hidden opportunities to add enough value for our customers that it begins to offset the effort they’ve expended for us, thus forging a more equitable exchange?
Big box industries say that the key is Voice of the Customer (VOC) tools like reviews and surveys. Hotel chains and software companies ask their biggest customers, “What can we do differently?” and “How did we do?”
But how do you encourage your customers to take the time to volunteer this type of feedback? You try to dangle a carrot. Entice them with a discount, money, gift card or future services. Valuable comments are only going to be offered if something is in it for them, right? Never is a customer going to say they will drop everything to give a company advice on their service. Everyone is money-driven, and everyone is time-driven.
In recruiting; we are trying to best service our clients and candidates. But rarely do recruiting firms solicit clients to ask how they can service them better. From a recruiting perspective, a question that is always asked from our clients is, “How do you differentiate yourself?” We go into recruiter autopilot, explaining very quickly what sets us apart: “We offer a full year guarantee, access to great candidates, we are fast, and we have a winning success rate. We are available 24-7 and offer a human touch, etc.….”
Yes, these are all positive ways to set your firm apart. But are they really differentiating? Probably not.
When it comes to customer experience management how do we as recruiters better ourselves and put the client first? The answer can be applied to every business interaction, and that is:
Ask better questions.
Questions such as:
- “What can we be doing differently?”
- “What are you looking for from a recruiter?”
- “Can you fill the role on your own?”
- “What type of talent are you searching for?”
- “Does a full-year guarantee mean anything to you?”
- “Do you want your industry’s #1 sales player in this industry? Or do you need someone in the chair who’s capable of doing the job?”
I have learned over the years that if we ask the right questions and understand the client’s needs, we create better relationships and earn long term results.
The truth is that dangling a carrot in exchange for reviews doesn’t work. Once you have formed a relationship with them, they will offer genuine feedback and ways to help. The best way to manage your customer experience comes back to better questioning. Dig deeper. Ask questions like:
- “What is important to you in your career?”
- “Where do you want to be in ten years?”
- “How will you get there and why?”
Over 90% of professionals won’t know the answers to these questions. But that is okay, because we as recruiters are here as sounding boards to help them better understand companies, industry trends, and even their own needs.
At the end of the day, the most valuable reviews come from asking the right questions. No one truly tells you how to do things differently until they are upset or realize that things went wrong.
When you think of customer experience management, are you really listening to your customer? Here at Blue Signal, we pride ourselves on asking the right questions and are always open to hearing how we can improve.
Feel free to hear our full line of questions on the client side by reaching out at firstname.lastname@example.org .