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Does service come at a price?

Can't afford good customer service?


Over the past decade, I am pleased to say, notions of service have changed. We have stepped out of saying, “Yes it’s important but first let me tell you about this” while actually thinking, “Hmmm, how much can I sell you.” Instead, we have moved closer to a Service Sells model.

Today, service ‘hands down’ comes at a price. And I ask you:

  • Can you afford not ask questions to explore needs?
  • Can you afford not to give your customer the time to respond to those questions? To not listen and understand what their pain points are before offering solutions?
  • Can you afford not to recognise that Service Sells?

I have been banging on about Service Sells forever, but the reality is it does. In fact, in today’s world you need to embrace it! Today it needs to be at the forefront of every customer interaction.

Service defines your brand
As a professional recruitment services provider, there is no better feeling than a candidate loving your service. Standing out in the crowd through service is far more cost efficient, effective and rewarding than throwing financial resources at branding exercises, even though it requires investment of that incredibly important resource, time. In an era when reputation is controlled by customers rather than advertisers, quality of service defines the brand more than any PR campaign.

Recognising the value of servicing your customers well, following up, providing honest information, being available, remembering the role you play as a brand ambassador for them and that being your candidates’, your clients’ and your own brand is fundamental in your role as a recruitment practitioner in today’s market.

Candidates are customers too
As sales professionals, we are attentive to our paying customer – the client. We customise our service, we follow up and we nurture them, looking to develop long-term relationships. Often the piece that gets missed is the other customer – our candidates. They are just as important to a recruitment service offering but are frequently given either a back seat or just a cursory glance.

Exploring candidates’ needs, aspirations and goals, educating them on any skill gaps, the current market salary ranges and trends, critiquing their résumé and responses, and providing a genuine assessment of the role and the environment they are exploring are all fundamental to delivering a great customer experience. These activities also support the matching of client and candidate and, as a result, retention in the role.

It works
I was interviewing a very talented Executive GM just the other week. With limited experience on the other side of the interview table, he was surprised at the effort I put into his application. I enjoyed the opportunity to coach him on how to better think about behavioural responses. Then we came to his résumé. Fifteen pages – a lot of great detail. Accomplishments he was so proud of (rightly so) but a significant proportion had nothing to do with the job at hand. Taking that extra time to assist him in getting the résumé right laid the foundation for him to get through the gatekeeper (internal recruiter) and on to the hiring manager. Today he is at offer – a great outcome and one that possibly would not have happened had he sent his résumé directly in its previous state!

So Service Sells. I have lived my professional life believing a few things:

  1. You really don’t have to make a dollar every time you touch something – what I have seen is that good service does come back to you in spades.
  2. Perception is reality. Remember it is how the communication is received and interpreted that is important – that becomes the reality
  3. Service Sells – and failing to recognise this will come at a price!


About the Author

Louisa HinchenLouisa is an Associate Director at Morgan Consulting. A unique recruitment professional, she leads by example and believes that, at Morgan Consulting, it is genuinely about you. You the customer and you the candidate. It is no surprise that she speaks and writes with passion about customer service.

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