Why you should prioritise customer service excellence

12 Apr 2017


On 6 April we launched our latest publication The Scale Up Workbook: how to deliver customer service excellence. We talked to experts in customer service as well as recruiters and employers in order to define what customer experience really means for the recruitment industry, how it affects overall business performance and how it helps you achieve long-term success within an increasingly competitive environment.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience is the journey a customer takes with your company. In this workbook, we talk about the employer as your ‘paying customer’, although the lessons can also be applied to improving candidate experience.

Touchpoints, the episodic interactions between the customer and the service provider, are the most tangible measure of customer experience – yet these provide only part of the story.

To really understand customer experience, you need to understand the emotions and values of your customers. The Institute of Customer Service says: “emotions, values and highly personal needs and preference are increasingly powerful factors that influence customers’ choices and decision-making”.

Harvard Business Review demonstrates how managing the process as a whole improves customer satisfaction, reduces churn and results in better employee satisfaction.

How does this apply to recruitment?

For recruiters, customer experience is the way clients think and feel about your service. Each business will have their own definition of customer experience that is relevant to their vision and the sectors that they work in. Providing an excellent customer experience is a key way to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Do you ask your clients for feedback? We found that 47 per cent of HR decision-makers have never been asked for feedback by a recruitment agency. This workbook gives step-by-step guidance on how to assess your customer service performance and how to improve your measures and processes.

What can you gain from improving customer experience?

The evidence shows that getting the customer experience right improves outcomes across tangible metrics such as financial performance and employee engagement.

In a survey of 832 companies, the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 84 per cent of companies believe that customer service is important to their financial performance. One in three stated that failings in customer service ratings had actually led to a fall in their financial performance.

The Institute of Customer Service found that retail (food) companies with a higher than average level of customer satisfaction achieved increased sales growth year-on-year. Similarly banks with the highest customer satisfaction were more successful in acquiring current accounts than those with lower scores.

What to take away

Customer experience is about how clients (and candidates) think and feel about your service.  Evidence shows that improvements in customer experience improve financial performance.  There are a number of definitions of customer experience, so make sure that your understanding works for your business.  Engage your staff in your vision for customer service excellence. Map the customer journey for your clients. Identify the key touchpoints as well as how they think and feel at different points of the process. Capture customer feedback in a way that allows you to map your performance.  Make customer service excellence part of your unique offering to clients.

The Scale Up Workbook: how to deliver customer service excellence is the second in the REC’s series of Scale Up publications for recruitment leaders seeking to grow their recruitment business. Each chapter has key questions and practical examples, and a final checklist provides guidance to help recruiters take steps to improve interactions with clients.

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