Preparing for the Atypical Client

164009810There are many benefits to having a diverse client base, but in instances where you land an atypical client, smaller staffing firms face the danger of being unprepared to deal with the demands of a large business and its respective needs.

How you prepare is critical to the success of your deliverable – whether long or short term. You won’t be able to rely upon that one individual relationship with your key decision maker should something not go right. Your customer will have higher expectations for as smooth a service plan as you promised in your sales pitch.

Not that getting the business is easy, but keeping the businesses will be even more difficult. Some key components to your success:

  • Identify your small and large recruiting sources. Think of places beyond your traditional routes. Veterans groups, community centers, religious and refugee groups are all excellent places to start.
  • Have the right staff in place before and at the start of your project. If you have to assign a key staff member to this project, realize there’s an impact to that move. You don’t want your other customers to feel it. Have a ramp up plan prepared in advance (budget, training plan, use of interns, seasonal recruiter, etc.) with time frames attached to all so you know how quickly you can mobilize. You may have to overstaff for a short period, or deal with some disappointed customers which may hurt in the long run.

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  • Build strong relationships with your talent. The better you know them, the more accountable they’ll be and the more you can ask of them. Many are looking for long term jobs and realize that you might be the ones to help them. High performers will do their best to prove the kind of employee they can be. There’s a good chance they’ll bring some productive friends with them.
  • Identify a backup provider. You don’t want to give business away, but an affiliate vendor relationship can save your hide if things don’t go as planned. The one thing your customer (and key contacts within) will remember is whether or not you were able to get the people (on your own or with help). If they have to enlist the backup, it’s more work for them, and it will open the door to losing that business you worked so hard to earn.

At the end of the day, it always comes down to communication. Be up front with your talent and your clients. People appreciate direct communication – even if you have information they do not want to hear. Done the right way, clear communication will improve your rate of success with each of your clients and placements. In addition, it will keep your “atypical client” happy as they can always call on you if needed.

MORE: We’re all here to serve the client

Tom Schin
Tom Schin is Accustaff's client relations executive. He can be reached at tschin (at) accustaff (dot) com.

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