Stay close to the customer - On Global Talent Acquisition day (yes, it is apparently a thing!) Peter Cosgrove shares some insights about how to stay connected to your clients.
In 2010, LinkedIn’s flagship product for recruiters had a cancellation rate of 30%, meaning 3 out of 10 customers stopped using the product every year. The company’s traditional approach to managing this was to assign people to work closely with customers, especially those in risk of leaving around the time of renewal. However, a better question Linkedin realised was to ask - how early can we predict whether somebody is going to leave? When they ran the numbers, they realised they could reasonably predict who would leave and who would not, as early as one month after someone bought a subscription. Essentially, they realised people either engaged with the product early or they didn’t. Their entire focus then changed to working with a client after they had bought the product to ensure they got the most out of it as opposed to a hard sell at the end of the 12 months.
This is what Dan Heath called "Upstream thinking”, where he feels that we are spending too much time focusing on what is directly ahead of us. This is not helped by the slew of messages, notifications and emails we receive, not to mention social media. However, to succeed with customers and clients over what will be a very challenging time, here are four things to consider:
Future trends: Clients are busy and don’t have a lot of time to look up and see what is upstream and coming at them; this is a great area where you can help. Therefore, arm them with relevant facts and trends about the future: robotics, the key skills of the future, how companies are being disrupted by A.I. These are generally areas companies need to think strategically about and this is the time of year they generally sit down to have these discussions. Wouldn’t it be great if they called you for some advice?
Expertise: Become an expert in what your customer pain points are, whether it is knowledge of online learning platforms, what the best ATS is, how to utilise Linkedin better for branding purposes. The key is that you are seen as an expert to them. Clients will remember those who are supportive and empathetic, and this also allows you to continue talking with them even in a time where business may be slow.
The Freelance/ gig economy: We hear the gig economy is the future but have you used a gig worker? It will be very hard for you to talk knowledgeably about the gig economy if you have not tried it yourself. Start small, buy a gig from someone to: proof-read a document; create an image; or design some PowerPoint slides. Very quickly you will see these services can be great value, but the communication needs to be much better as there is no face-to-face discussion. If you want to understand how companies are going to build international remote workforces and the challenges it may bring, you must experience it first-hand.
Great Talent: What about your other client – the jobseeker? There will be less people willing to move at present; part of this will be that they will be joining a new company but still more than likely not meeting all their new colleagues. This is a hard sell - however the flipside is that more and more people will have time to reflect and ruminate about what they dislike about their current job. If you want people to move jobs, don’t sell them the facts: salary, healthcare, free iPhone etc. Now more than ever, you need to sell them the feeling and the culture they will join. People want to hear trust, challenge, opportunity, excitement, vision and inclusion – this is what might move someone right now, it is not money and the reality is that it rarely was.
The next six months will be a challenge, but as the head of Walmart used to say “Whenever you get confused, go to the store, the customer has all the answers… and all the money”. Customers may not be as busy right now, but you need to try harder than ever to maintain a relationship.
Best of luck!
Peter Cosgrove is a keynote speaker and adviser to the staffing industry on future trends. His book "Family Fun Unplugged" is one of the top children’s books in Ireland at present.