How To Run a Staffing Business: Start with Great Client Service

The idea that client service drives the success of a staffing business—or of any service business—seems self evident. After all, staffing is a business SERVICE. But anyone who starts a business knows other concerns can get in the way. Financing, cash flow, employee performance, you name it—anything can grab attention from the central purpose of the business, which is in fact serving the client. But when you run a staffing business, you quickly learn the cost of ignoring client service. It won’t take long before you have no clients left to serve. Here are a few ways to make sure you keep your eye on the client service ball.

Define exactly what you mean by “great client service” for your staffing business. 

It’s hard to consistently deliver what you can’t measure and impossible to measure what you can’t define. There are a number of elements you may want to include in your definition of client service. How quickly do you want your staff to respond to clients? How often do you want your staff to speak to clients? Are there elements of client service exclusive to your business that you need to define? Do it. Describe what great client service consists of for your business.

Reward your employees for great customer service.

Once you’ve defined client service, you’ll certainly want to communicate that to your employees. But don’t stop there. To make it important, you have to measure performance and reward it. Bonuses and perks, as well as regular performance review evaluations—when you reward great client service, you’ll find it becomes part of your business culture.

Use client satisfaction surveys.

Having defined exactly what client service means for your business, it won’t be difficult to create  a simple survey to find out how you’re performing for your clients with regard to the points you’ve described. By surveying clients regularly—annually would be plenty often enough—you’ll not only get valuable feedback to help you improve your performance, you’ll be signaling to your clients (and your employees) how important their satisfaction is to you.

Don’t depend on surveys alone.

Surveys are helpful, but they may not give your clients the opening they need to give you a complete picture of how well you’re doing on the service front. Schedule time to call clients to ask them how you’re doing. Better yet get some regular face time with clients specifically to learn how well they are being served. It gives you an opportunity to learn what’s going on and gives them an opportunity to make suggestions about how to do better. In a way, addressing client service in this fashion is itself a facet of great client service.

Under-promise and over-deliver.

Your clients’ perception of the quality of your service is in some ways shaped by their expectations. Be careful in both your public advertising and direct communications not to make effusive claims you can’t live up to. Your client service standards need to be high. But it’s most important for you to live up to—and preferably exceed—the standards you set.

You may find there are costs to run a staffing business consciously focused on client service. At the very least, it will require an investment in time. But you’ll also find rewards, not only in clients retained, but potentially in higher margins. After all, you may run a staffing business, but it’s service your clients are really after.