As a result of the pandemic, staffing agencies have become the hidden backbone of the economy. With millions of people unwilling to return to work, staffing agencies have scrambled to meet demand and fill widespread vacancies for their clients. However, it’s a struggle keeping everyone satisfied in unprecedented times.
Juggling clients and tracking assignments has become much harder for staffing agencies to manage. Not only is the market changing rapidly, but so is the way people work. Employee turnover is higher than ever, and the workers an agency does have are often spread out across a wide geographic range. So, an agency and its clients need to be on the same page for how to tackle the challenges of the post-pandemic world.
What’s more, in an age of remote working, personalized work relationships are becoming harder and harder to achieve. Staffing agencies are struggling to build trust and faith with their clients under shifting work conditions, particularly with less personal face-to-face interaction. Staffing industry experts may manage multiple accounts with clients they’ve never actually met in person.
So, how can you deepen client relationships when the client is just a voice on the phone or an image on a screen? Or, even if there are in-person interactions, how can an agency build trust in an uncertain, potentially alienating market?
Craft a More Personalized Approach
Everybody likes to feel special, so you should make your clients feel special, too—regardless of the medium or mode of your interactions. You may be juggling many different clients and projects at once, but that doesn’t mean people should feel like they’re on the back burner.
It’s essential to establish a direct line of communication with clients on either web-based or mobile tech platforms. Clients should be able to contact a staffing agency expert anywhere, anytime they’re in need. Think of a chatbot, but more personal—instead, they have a direct line to an employee with a face and a name. That way, they don’t feel like just another number. Or consider setting up a dedicated channel for that client on Slack or Microsoft Teams. Being able to chat directly with multiple people at your company can make a world of difference to clients.
Even before you’ve established the communication groundwork, ask your clients what they’re looking for in a staffing agency and determine their long-term goals. Do they have certain revenue or staff numbers in mind for growth? Productivity indicators? Average time to fill assignments and vacancies? Ask specific and targeted questions when conversing with them.
Then, leverage that information to form a personalized execution plan for how you will help them achieve those goals. Not only will it build trust with your clients, it will prevent you from pitching the same cookie-cutter plan to all of your clients.
Communicate Your Long-Term Goals
Clients also want to be in-the-know about where you see your agency going. Are you planning on expanding the number of employees you’re taking on? Or perhaps reducing the number of clients that you serve to give each one better service? Communicating your long-term goals will build trust with your clients and give them a clear picture for what’s in store while you’re working together. This also allows you to humanize your agency—everyone can relate to and admire future ambitions and goals.
To first determine these business goals, staffing agencies can enlist the help of technology like data analytics or artificial Intelligence to analyze current outputs and predict future company growth. There are a variety of tools out there to help measure productivity, whether it’s the number of clients you intend to acquire over a certain period of time or the improvements you’re planning to make in employee retention rates.
It will also be beneficial for you to understand exactly how you are going to achieve your long-term goals. Again, it’s a numbers game. What is your capacity for clients and how will that change over time? What is your anticipated annual growth? Statistical modeling can be your friend here. These questions are essential to think about when considering how to execute your goals and will help your clients understand what you need to get there.
Remember, an agency that’s clear on its goals will better be able to build a culture of trust and accountability with its clients.
Invest in New Technology
If the technology you have isn’t up to par, consider investing in a new system. Specifically, one that can monitor and track staffing assignments in real time and help you juggle an arsenal of clients. Luckily, both time and attendance technology (T&A tech) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems are rapidly advancing to meet the needs of a changing workforce.
In essence, T&A monitoring programs are a type of software that tracks time and wages for workers across assignments. Conversely, CRM tech is focused on managing and improving company relationships, so more on the communications side.
T&A technology can help you track both tasks and time, ensuring you are issuing accurate invoices to your clients and avoiding any nasty wage disputes. So, when choosing a T&A system, ensure that it is user-friendly, allowing employees to automatically record their hours, and that it then calculates payroll for you.
Investing in a T&A system that includes biometrics is also a smart move. This type of time management system requires employees to clock in using fingerprints, retinal scans or facial recognition. Currently, about 75% of U.S. companies fall victim to “buddy punching,” which is when a coworker clocks in for another employee. Biometric time attendance eradicates the possibility of buddy punching, cutting down on time theft and saving you and your clients money.
CRM systems are more focused on finding and retaining clients. These systems do this by searching for and collecting client data across platforms and then organizing the data in one location to give you a complete record of the client. You’ll end up knowing them better than they know themselves.
Investing in better systems will ultimately heighten efficiency and give you an edge over other staffing agencies—and your clients will feel it, too. You should want your technology to be as reliable and steadfast as your business.
Continue Education and Development
As technology is improving and shifting at lightning speed, try to create structured learning opportunities for your employees and clients to follow new developments, such as educational courses or company-wide seminars. Regardless of the subject matter, it’s best to make a schedule that includes regular and repeatable learning modules and gives people the opportunity to complete the work in their own time.
You can also extend the invitation to your clients to keep them in the loop. Educating and training your clients will save you time in the long run, as it’s a sure way to reduce confusion on their end and keep them updated on the latest developments. Moreover, it’s a way to bring everyone together to build better working relationships.
Overall, offering supplementary resources will create a more adaptable workforce and clientele in a rapidly changing business world. Your clients will feel like they are a step ahead of the game if they’re up-to-date with industry changes and emerging technologies.
The Bottom Line
Clients are the heart of any staffing agency. It’s thus imperative to foster personalized client relationships, developing an excellent reputation for yourself in an already crowded industry. Otherwise, clients can always look elsewhere—they have plenty of choice.
Adam is the president & CEO at Timerack, a time & attendance, payroll integration and HR software provider for the staffing industry.
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