As a staffing professional who works in an industry where people are the product, you already know the importance of strong relationships in this field. Taking the time to build and maintain rock-solid relationships with your clients will pay huge dividends, both when business is booming and when problems arise. By following these five principles, you’ll be well on your way to healthy and productive relationships with your clients.
- Set the right expectations. In other words, underpromise and overdeliver. Don’t build yourself up so much that clients expect you to walk on water. Instead, define reasonable goals, then go beyond them every time. You’ll demonstrate your reliability—and your client will be delighted to see his or her expectations exceeded.
- Always strive for improvement. Don’t rest on your laurels, even when things are going well. Instead, pledge to the clients to seek and give constant and consistent feedback on the quality of both your process and your people. Your clients will be impressed by your efforts and by the performance-related results they yield.
- Don’t cut corners. Staffers who think their job is to get a body in the client’s door as soon as possible are wrong: their job is to get the right body in the client’s door as soon as possible. Sending in subpar employees just so you can tick the “complete” box on your paperwork and start billing sends a clear signal to clients that you’re not interested in fostering strong, long-term relationships with them and that you don’t care about their organization’s future.
- Don’t rush hiring. Not matter how much of a “good feeling” you have about a potential employee, don’t make a hiring decision after just one interview. Take the time to make sure your organization and the individual are right for each other. When I worked in the staffing industry, my organization’s policy was to interview candidates three times on three different days with three different interviewers. This practice gave both my team and the candidates time to determine if we had a good fit—thus saving us (and our clients) time and money in the long run.
- Stay competitive. But not at the cost of quality. Trimming your rates may help you win a new client, but if you have to cut corners and lower quality in order to meet your margins, both you and the client will suffer. Instead, aim for the intersection of competitive rates and stellar service. And don’t be afraid to turn down business if the arrangement won’t yield a win-win relationship for all parties involved.
The temporary staffing market is crowded—and growing more competitive by the day. By following these tips and keeping your focus on quality, not quantity, you’ll distinguish yourself from the crowd and deliver success both to your clients and to yourself.