by Mike Tsugranis
What does a client really mean to you?
This is such a simple and profound question all in one.
It’s also a very important consideration, as the cost of “poor service” is much more than a rounding error.
Consider the following:
*In the U.S., poor customer service costs brands $83 billion every year.
*14% will share a poor customer service experience on social media.
*Over 25% will recommend that to friends in their network not to use you again.
*A study by management consultancy Bain & Company and Harvard Business School found that “increasing customer retention by five percent increases profits by 25 to 95 percent.”
You don’t have to be a numbers guru to understand the significance of these statistics. In the world of talent acquisition, they are just as important. Clients want to feel as if they are the center of your universe, and they should. What they don’t want is to feel as if they’re being sold to.
However, at a time when technology is evolving at a dizzying pace and the SaaS universe is infiltrating the employer branding/marketing space, the predominant view of clients has been diluted and strayed away from a service-first mentality.
And while, of course, this is a very troubling dynamic, it represents an opportunity for those agencies who see clients as more than just a revenue number or a signature on a contract willing to commit to three years or more. Too many people forego the long view for short-term gain. And that has changed the industry, for the worse.
Somewhere along the line, with all the attention on the candidate experience, we forgot about the customer experience. When we think about it in those terms, we begin to ask ourselves, “have we done all we can to meet the needs of our clients?” Every time we touch a client, it’s an opportunity for us to let them know they matter and it’s a chance to reaffirm their trust in us.
As marketers, we are all about differentiators. How can we go to market differently? In a more compelling way? Imagine those same questions were applied to the way we view clients. Differentiation starts long before the development of the strategy or the expression of the idea; it starts with a burning desire to create an extraordinary, long-term and enjoyable relationship.
How do you do that? That’s the easy part. By recognizing that every touch point, every transaction, and every interaction is an opportunity to be better and to do more.
The hard part? Creating that culture. Many years ago, I worked with a client who wanted their team to incorporate social media into their recruiting strategy. So they incentivized the team to do so, thus changing the way recruiters would be evaluated. Telling people to complete a task and incentivizing them to do so are two very different strategies. Articulating your vision, implementing a communication strategy that reemphasizes what you stand for, rewarding someone for executing based on that vision, and sharing your success stories – this is how a client-first culture is created and sustained.
We know that the natural inclination of marketers is to think creatively. Generally, those skills and abilities are applied to solving communication challenges. But why not apply them to building client relationships? There are so many elements that can be incorporated into building this kind of culture, but as with so many other things, it starts with desire and a top-down leadership mandate.
Who will be the big winners? The ones who can get the answer right to the question, “what does a client really mean to them?”