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The importance of customer experience

Steph Heasman, director of customer success at Feefo

Improving customer experience is a necessity for recruiters. In a crowded UK market with more than 39,000 agencies (and nearly 8,500 registered last year alone) customer experience is a potent way of making your business stand out.  Meet job candidates’ expectations all along their journey and they will stick with you. But if you don’t, they’ll go elsewhere, sharing their poor opinion of you on social media.

It’s why customer experience is such a hot topic in the UK right now. Recent research shows London to be the top city in the world for senior-level vacancies in the customer experience (CX) field. Analysis of 120,000 vacancies on jobsite Indeed found the UK capital has 2,668 vacancies, compared with an average of 422 for the rest of the world’s big cities.

Clearly, there is a huge amount of focus on getting CX right in the UK. In recruitment, however, there is perhaps more ground to make up. Although trust in agencies is generally high, there are still plenty of areas that put off potential candidates.

Research last year, for example, among 1,017 UK job-hunters, found that candidates have many pet hates about recruiters. But the top three were: Failing to return calls; being sent to irrelevant jobs and being oversold what an agency could do. More than a quarter of respondents believed that agencies were only interested in picking up a fee.

How do you know where you are getting it right with candidates and where the sticking points are that really annoy them? It’s not easy if you have thousands of job-hunters on your books and you’re working hard to ensure the right candidate is in front of the right client. Chatting with focus groups of candidates? A quick online survey?

These have their own value – and cost.  A more systematic method that keeps agencies constantly updated on emerging trends, opportunities and candidate pain-points is the technology of smart insight platforms. These enable an agency to extract insights from the feedback of thousands of job-hunters who are invited to post reviews at the various stages of their job-search.

Integrated into a recruiter’s website, such platforms deploy natural language processing, machine learning (ML) and sentiment analysis capabilities that spot important behavioural trends from thousands of pieces of feedback. Filtering gives agencies the ability to narrow down analysis to precisely what they want to know.

Such insights could easily, for example, reveal a greater level of dissatisfaction among professionals seeking roles in one area of the country. Drilling down into the data even further might rapidly expose weak on-boarding practices or inadequate, disorganised recruitment consultants causing poor feedback.

More broadly, insight platforms give recruiters the evidence base from which they can make effective decisions far more quickly, adapting procedures and tactics to optimise customer satisfaction.

The influence of such platforms is constantly growing. In the research cited above, more than six-in-ten candidates believed a real, invitation-only review system would help them find the right agency for their needs.

Equipped with insights from a smart platform, recruiters stand out in their chosen market. Professions such as customer experience and marketing are acutely attuned to how they should be treated and the level of service they should receive. They are highly discriminating in their choice of agency, so having the inside line on how to meet their requirements is a big advantage.

The recruitment industry has tended to overlook customer sentiment and opinion as a source of bespoke insight and market intelligence. Smart insight platforms, however, now offer genuine understanding of what customers want. Empowered with this intelligence, recruiters will adapt more rapidly to changing demand than their competitors who continue to rely on the odd chat, expensive third-party research or old-fashioned gut instinct.

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