Choose Your Suppliers Carefully. They Hold Your Business Reputation in Their Hands.
As a recruiter and management consultant, my clients are effectively my suppliers. This is why we take such care to make sure that the clients Mindset Group chooses to work with reflect our values. And here’s why it’s so important…
About ten months ago I bought a new washing machine from an online retailer. The customer service was excellent, the product turned up when they said it would, it was installed professionally and our old dead unit was removed at no extra cost. So far, excellent!… until about a month ago. A month ago we noticed some issues with the unit but it was still under warranty so I made a quick call to the retailer, who offered to call their supplier on my behalf or I could call them directly. I chose the latter. I made the call to the supplier on the Monday and had heard nothing back from them by the Thursday. So I tweeted my frustration mentioning the retailer in the tweet.
They made contact with me promptly, and chased up the supplier on my behalf. A service call was duly arranged for the following Thursday (over a week from my first call) and the service agent arrived on time, determined the problem and promised to organise the replacement and keep us informed. A week went by, and I’d heard nothing further from the service agent. This went back and forth for some time between myself, the online retailer and the supplier’s service agents with the end result being that today the service agent has finally confirmed that they have our new unit and plan to deliver and install it, over three weeks from the first phone call and over two weeks from the visit by the technician.
So, what relevance has this to recruitment and management consulting?
Both are service industries so communication and follow up are critical. The online retailer I was dealing with recognise this, they don’t make the products after all, but they are a service delivery company. Their service and follow up has been excellent. The supplier’s has not. I have no gripe with the retailer, but their association with a company with such poor services standards has impacted my view of them and will make me think carefully before buying from them again. As a recruiter, our clients are effectively our suppliers. If we represent a poor client, with poor employment conditions and/or communication standards that impacts on how candidates and other future clients perceive us. We need to choose our clients carefully.
Social Media is king. It was only my public statements about the supplier and online retailer that got action. The retailer has acted publicly, transparently and promptly to address the issue. Clearly their social media strategy is a core plank of their marketing strategy and they are using it well. The suppliers are not. I’ve never heard from them despite hash-tagging their brand name in every sent tweet. As recruiters and consultants it would be naïve to think that candidates and clients don’t comment on us in their social media streams. Unlike the Italian supplier, we must be vigilant, open and transparent in our social communications.
In summary, as recruiters we need to select our clients carefully; our clients must reflect our own professional standards. The days when a recruiter took on any client no matter how unprofitable or how uncommitted to the actual recruitment and selection process are gone. Do so at your peril.
Get involved in social media, communicate openly and transparently and it sounds obvious, but deliver what you promise. Good news travels on the social networks just as quickly as bad. Your business will grow as a result!
Director & Talent Practice Leader