Customer Relations Management: A CEO Perspective

It starts with better customer relations management

In the latest instalment of our series, we caught up with Kevin Kerl, CEO of SelectOne and talked to him about their customer relations management strategy, and the integral role that feedback plays in shaping the customer experience (CX).

How has SelectOne evolved to provide a better CX?

About 2 years ago we took a good hard look at our organization. Back then, we were a recruiting firm like any other contingent recruiting firm in our industry. Most internal employees were considered full-desk recruiters which means they were responsible for sales, recruiting and account management. Structurally, we decided to break up the functions into separate departments and introduced a new client relations role. The rationale was that the more we could get to know the customers with regards to culture, deeper job scoping, and growth plans, the greater chance of success we would have in creating exclusive partnerships. The creation of the customer relations management role provided our clients with a single point of contact into our company, which helped to create a smoother flow of communication.

How often do you meet with your team to discuss CX initiatives?

As a management group, we meet once a week to go through best practices. We also have several different sub-committees that meet monthly. Our product committee specifically aims to answer the question: “What are we offering our customers to provide best-in-class service”? Their objectives are to continuously evolve our products and services by conducting surveys, collecting feedback from clients, and reviewing innovative tools and processes. It’s also important to discover and offer our customers things they may not know exist,ultimately helping to separate us from the competition through our service offerings.

 

We were able to take  that valuable feedback and integrate it into our operationscreen-shot-2016-11-21-at-11-31-19-ams and customer relations management processes by introducing more training exercises for our recruiters, more searching capabilities, and additional tools throughout our organization. Our team became better educated and equipped to answer questions and requests, which in turn, created a much more positive customer experience for our clients.

 

How do you collect and manage customer feedback?

We make it a point to meet with our clients on site as much as possible. This helps us to get a more profound understanding of their culture, company inner workings, and general organizational structure. At the end of a sale, the client is referred to the client relations manager who conducts a full scoping session.

As an example, we discovered that our clients wanted more information on potential candidates throughout the hiring process: more behavioural assessments, deeper dive summaries, and more thorough candidate screenings prior to submitting. We were able to take  that valuable feedback and integrate it into our operations and customer relations management processes by introducing more training exercises for our recruiters, more searching capabilities, and additional tools throughout our organization. Our team became better educated and equipped to answer questions and requests, which in turn, created a much more positive customer experience for our clients.

Looking for effective ways to analyze your customer feedback? 

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How do you decide what feedback to prioritize and focus on?

That’s something done throughout the organization, but is a main focus of myself, the operations manager Katie, client relations manager Aly, and our salespeople. It’s important for us to make sure that we focus on the right action items; making sure we’re not building something out for the 5%, and more for the 95%. We have a theory here: Don’t get caught up with outliers, they will waste a lot of our time.

Beyond customer relations management: Measuring success

What are some the KPI’s that signal that your CX process is working?

Definitely, client growth. Filling one job for a client doesn’t represent growth, but if they continuously come back to us with openings, that is a key indicator of success. The second is placement rateselect1s, the percentage of placement of first job openings, and lastly I would say satisfaction levels from surveys and testimonials.

What’s missing from your CX process?

The most important thing we are missing today is the ability to provide our customers channels to easily communicate their feedback (and not just the feedback we want to hear). For instance, if we make a placement with a client, they are likely to report the experience as positive overall – but may not mention or pinpoint certain things that aggravated them or frustrated them along the way. In my opinion, surveys only work so well in this regard. If that feedback is used to guide your strategy, it can be completely misleading. Communicating with your client and pulling real pain points allows you to then set the correct strategy.

Why do you believe CX is becoming so important?

In the past, we had a lack of client information, and were focused less on customer relations management and more on building relationships, and handshake agreements to get to know clients on a deeper level. Today, emerging technologies have provided us with an endless amount of information and visibility into client preferences, opinions, feelings, etc. Technology has made data and information so readily available to make buying decisions, now more than ever, it’s important for salespeople to take on the role of customer relations manager, and be there as educators and knowledge base leader for their clients, not just someone who is there when clients are ready to buy.

What are some of the biggest CX trends in your industry?

One big trend in all of HR, is the amount of people trying to disrupt the industry with technology. I believe no one has mastered it yet. People are trying to add technology to the recruitment process. However, I think it’s important to understand how these tools are going to fit into what you are already doing, from a human side, that’s going to make the difference. I don’t think one single technology is going to come out and shake up the industry and change it forever.  A single tool will not replace the whole recruiting process, but I believe different technologies will continue to shape the recruitment process, making it quicker and more accurate.

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