Customer Service More Important than Ever – Even for HRO

Spherion recently released its new customer service survey results conducted by Monster.  Results show that nearly three quarters of consumers make a purchasing decision based on customer service, second only to quality and price.  That’s huge!  As a former quality trainer and college adjunct, I’ve been studying customer service for quite some time.  According to prior research by TARP, Technical Assistance Research Program, the figure was close to two-thirds, which indicates that the demand for better customer service has gotten even stronger.

Consumers are fed up with the lack of good customer service and thanks to more service provider competition, buyers don’t have to put up with bad service.  Consumers can simply go elsewhere.  Granted when it comes to HRO, the switch is not as easy, since it cannot be done by each individual client employee, but collectively, they can make their voices heard through internal communications that the provider may not be aware of immediately (which is why SLA’s alone don’t always tell the whole story).  Here are just a few things HRO service providers should do to keep clients happy at the individual participant level; otherwise this would be a white paper, not a blog!

  • Ensure polite, courteous, and responsive service representatives in everything you do, e.g. Are you as responsive with a tier 2 inquiry or problem that needs the help of an SME as you are tier 1?
  • Be easily accessible, e.g. when providing an 800 number for clients for particular service questions, if there are several prompts that must be selected, why not include the prompts to select in the original communication.  Test your own IVR as a user.
  • Have user-friendly technology.  For websites that may be infrequently used, e.g. checking pension cash balance or 401(k), is there an easy way to check and reset passwords for users that can’t remember?  Are you providing simple instructions for infrequent transactions, e.g. annual enrollment?  Also, web information changes over time, so periodically check for broken links and user friendliness.

In my current RPO market research study, a track record of delivering quality customer service, including obtaining client references, is one of the top vendor selection criteria, as it was in my recently published learning BPO study.  The Spherion survey is a reminder that customers will not be shy about sharing bad experiences.  It’s best to be certain you know how your client’s employees really feel.

The good news is that HRO providers are, for the most part, providing a high level of service.  For example, SourceRight Solutions, SFN Group’s RPO unit, was the top enterprise RPO provider in HRO Today’s 2010 RPO Bakers Dozen and it was rated number one in quality of services by provider clients.  SourceRight Solutions was also only one of four companies to increase the satisfaction of existing customers while growing its customer base (the others included Kenexa, Pinstripe and AMS).  I tip my hat to SFN Group for conducting the survey and for walking the talk!

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

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Explore posts in the same categories: Customer Service, hr outsourcing, hr outsourcing research, hro, HRO providers, hro research, nelsonhall, recruitment process outsourcing

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