CEO Blog

Category Archives: Customer Service

All blog posts by Kevin Dee, Chairman at Eagle — Canada’s premier staffing agency, related to customer service.

The Value of Recruitment Agencies Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

Marc Beniof quote about importance of talentOur team has spent the last couple weeks connecting with clients to understand how they’re coping through the COVID-19 epidemic and new economy we’re all experiencing. Not surprising, every organization is experiencing different challenges.

There are devastating stories coming from industries like hospitality and oil and gas, where low demand has halted IT projects and layoffs are being announced in unprecedented numbers. Contrarily, in other industries, organizations have seen the development of new, urgent projects and demand for IT help can’t come fast enough. Telecommunications companies, for example, play a crucial role in a time like this as the world depends on their services — internet, telephone and media — to stay connected. Similarly, both retail and manufacturing industries require all the support they can get. Consumers are stocking up on items so much to the point that grocery stores can’t keep up. More importantly, healthcare services are lacking much needed equipment and manufacturing companies are shifting their entire operations to do what they can to help.

The Many Services of the Staffing Industry

These are just a few examples of the range of activities happening at companies across Canada. Regardless of the specific situation, uncertainty and stress levels are through the roof.  As we have conversations with clients and learn about what’s driving their stress, we’re proud that our industry is able to provide support in various capacities:

  • Finding the needed resources for companies who need to hire urgently;
  • Managing those contract resources who are no longer required by unburdening clients and working with contractors to understand how we might help;
  • Bringing ideas and stories to clients about what others in their industry are doing;
  • Sharing our own experiences with work from home, pandemic planning etc.; and,
  • Being another resource to talk with, for both clients and contractors, which is always important in times of stress.

Some Examples of What Eagle is Seeing and How We’re Bringing Value

We’re currently working with companies who are scrambling to hire and build teams that make website updates and build applications literally within hours. Others need extra resources to ensure their workforces of hundreds of people are set-up to work from home securely and efficiently. That requires rolling out new hardware and making configurations on mass scales.

Eagle has been able to bring relief to these organizations in a number of ways:

  • We already have networks of readily available IT contractors.
  • We find the right person quickly because we track IT contractors across Canada, we know which industries and technologies they specialize in, and we have knowledge about who’s available and when.
  • In many cases, our recruiters reach out to contractors with experience and knowledge specific to a hiring organization, meaning they can start working at full capacity on Day 1, with little onboarding.

Overall, we’ve been successful at helping clients ramp up projects immediately so they can get their product and information to customers as quickly as possible.

On the flipside, as noted, we’re also having an unpleasant amount of conversations with clients who are struggling. Organizations where the leadership is working as hard as possible to keep things afloat, but the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible to sustain existing projects. Work is being cancelled, people are out of jobs, and productivity comes to a standstill. Eagle continues to bring value and support to these organizations too:

  • We help deliver bad news to contractors who suddenly find themselves out of work.
  • We do what we can to find those individuals new gigs with organizations needing skilled IT labour.
  • We research and make available information in one place for contractors impacted by layoffs, which has also proven to be useful to clients who can share this information with their own employees.
  • We work with managers to plan for the future.

Although slowing down today, we are hearing from these clients that their project plans, while on hold, are still very important.  This will result in a pent-up demand once things settle.  By better understand these upcoming requirements, even if the time is uncertain, we are able to help with planning for potential hires.  Some clients are proactively hiring, with start dates quite far in the future.  Some clients are interviewing (remotely) now, such that they can make hiring decisions faster when the time comes.  Others are hoping that their staff being laid off will be available in the weeks and months ahead when they are needed again.  Staffing companies are able to provide help with understanding rates, projected demand and projected availability to assist in making these kinds of decisions.

This is not an easy time for anyone. Companies and individuals are dealing with stress and anxiety from all angles, whether it be concerns with financial stability or health. The recruitment industry prides itself on building solid teams that keep companies successful and that is what Eagle has vowed to do for the coming months. We encourage all organizations, those who are hiring and those who are hurting, to reach out to their staffing partners today. Learn what we can do for you and take advantage of our expertise wherever possible. We will all come out on the other side stronger when we stick together.

Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service ——————————————————————————————————————————

Contracts Are Important

Branson quote about having time for the small thingsAs a young salesperson it always seemed like contracts took all of the fun out of a sale.  There is the “high” of getting a YES from a client but then you have to get a contract agreed, with all of that “legal stuff”.

My experience is that many companies really don’t pay attention to the detail of a contract.  I see companies basically sign anything … hoping that it doesn’t come back to bite them!

Their logic being that in the large majority of situations the other party will not take advantage … but situations change, people change and companies will do what is in their best interests.  The contract is there to protect.

Here are just SOME reasons why it is important to negotiate a reasonable and fair contract that pays attention to the detail.

  • It protects the interests of both parties, not just one.
  • If you are signing on behalf of your company then you have a responsibility to protect the interests of your employer.
  • If you agree to poor contract details it is a fair bet your management will be unimpressed.
  • A clear contract makes decision making easy.
  • A good understanding of the contract detail is a show of professionalism.  Given that a contract is often a first business interaction with a client you should start off in a professional manner.
  • Bad things can happen when you sign up to unreasonable terms.  Your company loses money, loses a client, gets a bad rep, or even goes out of business.
  • If the contract goes bad then likely you will lose out financially.
  • If a contract goes bad then your credibility gets hurt … or worse!

If you go about the negotiation in the correct manner you can get through the contract negotiations with a minimum of fuss and have a good professional start to a business relationship.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are being “difficult” when you are just doing your job.

Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Business Relationships

Trust Sales quote from Zig ZiglarBusiness relationships are just like any other relationships … they need to be nurtured, they need investment and they need a level of commitment.

Clients WILL buy from people they trust, and you do not achieve trust without establishing some kind of relationship.

In almost any business relationship there will come times of stress … where the parties need to fix something, or renegotiate something or have tough conversations.  These situations are always easier if there is a good relationship and a level of trust.

Salespeople and business owners work hard to develop these business relationships and clients invest their time and energy in them too.  There are many ways that they evolve and grow, but here are some ideas:

  1.  Make promises and always deliver (over deliver if at all possible).  This does not have to be hard it could be as simple as committing to send an interesting article by the weekend and doing it the minute you get back to your desk (but never forgetting to send it)!
  2. Meet face to face.  The phone is good, email is a good way to share some stuff but face to face is how you get to know people and they get to know you.
  3. Be truly interested in the other person.
  4. Find ways to bring additional value.  Share interesting articles, data, information, market knowledge for example.
  5. Have regular contact … without wasting anyone’s time.  (Touching base is a lazy approach … you should have a valid business reason, and ideally an agenda for a meeting!)
  6. Never waste their time.
  7. Be positive … keep your own negatives to yourself!
  8. Listen more than you talk.
  9. All large client organisations have valid governance concerns about undue influence of their buyers, so be mindful of these.
  10. It always helps a relationship to have some meetings under more informal settings.  Breakfast, lunch, coffee, drinks after work or even a game of golf (even though I hate golf) can help people get to know each other better.  (Be mindful of #9 above).

Every business relationship will hit a bump in the road at some point, and if you don’t have a relationship built on trust and credibility, beyond the terms of a contract then that bump may feel like a mountain!

“The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection.”  Robin Sharma

Invest in those business relationships!

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Customer Expectations

Take care of your customer by Bob HooeyEvery customer has their own expectations in a given situation.  The best companies will help to set those expectations based upon their product or service … and will meet or exceed expectations in order to provide a satisfying experience.

Expectations can be reasonable or unreasonable heading into the sales situation … but through the sales process those expectations need to be be “reset” to reflect reality, and managed such that the experience is good.

“Customers may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Are you LISTENING to your client, or are you too busy talking?

Are you ensuring that your messages are HEARD by your client?

Are you having the tough conversations that make sure everyone truly understands the relationship?

Do you have a feedback mechanism?  That someone actions!

Are you truly managing your client’s expectations?

“The single most important thing is to make people happy. If you are making people happy, as a side effect, they will be happy to open up their wallets and pay you.”  Derek Silvers

Companies that want satisfied customers need to manage those expectations correctly or they will get the kind of negative exposure they deserve.

Kevin Dee is  founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?


Productivity Tips from the Best Salespeople

Your income is related to attitude quote by Jim RohnHow do the most productive salespeople spend their time that makes them so successful?

The best salespeople have many qualities, but in terms of productivity these are just a few ideas :

1.  They maximize time with clients and prospects.

  • They make it a priority to fill up their calendar.
  • They go out of their way to have meetings, never putting them off because they are inconvenient or might entail a drive.
  • They will fill their calendars out into the future, and group meetings by geography or building.   If you have to drive to a meeting then who else could you meet while there.
  • They recognize that time spent with any influencer is good … this could include assistants, receptionists, contractors etc.

It is difficult to get past Zig Ziglar’s obstacles if you are not meeting with, and listening to, your client and understanding her situation.

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”  Zig Ziglar

2.  They set themselves mini-goals.  They will likely already have targets set by their company, but they set their own to motivate themselves.  Here are just a very few ideas:

  • an increased number of meetings this month, by some number or percentage;
  • an increased number of calls out;
  • an increased number of telephone conversations;
  • an increased number of warm leads; and
  • an increased number of written cards thanking clients.

All of these will be in addition to their own company targets that will likely be revenue, margin or profit focused.

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”  William Clement Stone 

3.  They focus their efforts on “high return” activities.  Salespeople are paid to generate revenues.  Tasks that are not focused on that goal will always be secondary.

  • They will be super organised, with great time management skills.
  • They will chase leads.
  • They will chase and build relationships … that are meaningful.
  • They will push their internal colleagues to meet the needs of their clients.
  • They will bring added value to their contacts wherever possible.
  • They will get their vital administrative work done (CRM notes, account collections etc) but secondary to the higher return activities that lead to revenue.
  • They will not allow paperwork, busywork, “administrivia” or any non-vital tasks get in the way of their success.  (Note the difference between vital and non-vital admin!)
  • They take full advantage of their work day, and will put in the extra time whenever needed.

Everyone lives by selling something.”   Robert Louis Stevenson

Would you add anything to this list of what successful salespeople focus their time doing?

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Silence is Not Always Golden!

Communication quote by John PowellCommunication is more a science than an art.  There are guidelines and even rules that can govern communication which we can use to train people, yet it remains one of the most frustrating aspects of people’s modus operandi!

One of the most frustrating communication traits is when there is silence, instead of expected communication.

You know what I mean … that contractor who was going to build your back yard deck was supposed to start last Monday, but he didn’t show and he won’t return your calls.

You were expecting to hear from that relative visiting from abroad, and you don’t know if they are going to show up.

You were expecting an update on a project that is late, but have received nothing.

You applied for a job and you don’t even know if your resume was received, because the recruiter hasn’t even acknowledged your application.

There are many, many such situations.

Invariably, when (if) communication does happen it will begin with, “I had nothing to tell…” or “I was waiting for news to give you…” or “I assumed…”

“Silence is a text easy to misread.”  A. A. Attanasio

We all know that “silence” can be deafening when we are expecting news, but somehow we don’t always translate that into what other people are feeling!

Here are a few thoughts on the subject …

  1. Most times, more communication is better than less communication.  (That does not include talking instead of listening.)
  2. It is OK to communicate the fact that there is nothing to report.
  3. Try to put yourself in the shoes of people who might expect to hear from you.
  4. Poor communication erodes relationships as much as anything.
  5. When you don’t communicate at all, the person at the other end will make assumptions that you might not want them to make!

Great communicators are thoughtful, not only in the messages they deliver, but also in when they deliver them.

“Communication is a skill that you can learn.  It’s like riding a bicycle or typing.  If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”  Brian Tracy
Having said all of the above, there are absolutely many times when silence is preferable to words (speaking in anger, telling lies etc) … just not when people are waiting anxiously for an update!

Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Use Your “Out Loud Words”!

Dr Seuss quote about speaking outToo many people worry too much about offending others with their opinions.

Too many people offer their opinions with no thought.

Somewhere between those two statements lies “perfection”… but in an imperfect world give me the raw unfiltered opinion rather than have nothing to say.

“Staying silent is like a slow growing cancer to the soul and a trait of a true coward. There is nothing intelligent about not standing up for yourself. You may not win every battle. However, everyone will at least know what you stood for-YOU.” Shannon L. Alder

We, individuals and companies, can only learn and grow if we know what the issues are.

The only way we get to know what the issues are is if someone tells us.

I might not like being told bad news, but it sure as hell beats finding out months later when it is too late!

So, tell your boyfriend that his breath stinks, or you hate the way he throws his dirty socks in the bathroom. He will likely not like it, but his reaction will tell you a lot about your future relationship! Not telling him will just make those issues BIGGER with time, until they become so BIG you either explode or just give up!

Tell that restaurant that their service was lousy or their food was cold or any of the other things that will stop you going there again. That way they have a chance to fix things, or not, but their response will be telling!

When you are struggling in your role because “stupid rules” or “old thinking” is getting in your way, speak up! Try to be constructive in your criticism. Try to think about why things are the way they are, but even if you just think your manager is stupid, let someone know that there might be a better way!

I had an industry colleague thank me for some advice I gave him earlier in his career. He was a little guarded in his comments, suggesting that we don’t always see eye to eye on every subject. That made me think! We have had different opinions over time, but neither of us backed off expressing our opinion and that is how things evolve. My “mistake” was in letting him feel that was a bad thing!

We live in a democratic society with political parties disagreeing on almost everything. It is by no means perfect but the alternatives are not even worth considering!

“You have enemies? Good! That means you stood up for something in your life!” Winston Churchill.

I would say there are two lessons here:

  1. ALWAYS voice your opinions, hopefully with some thought, but at least get them on the table.
  2. ALWAYS listen to the opinions of others, and try to learn from them.

I can choose to discount opinions that I perceive as “no value”.

I can choose to learn from others opinions.

I can live in a fantasy world of perceived perfection, if I get no feedback… but THAT is where the real danger lies.

“Give me the sting of an opinion that I disagree with over valueless silence any day.”

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder  of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

Customer Service Means Managing Expectations

You have been recognized as customer of the weekBusy people can be the toughest clients… but also they can be very easy to keep happy.  IF you manage, and then meet, their expectations!

The busy client calls his investment advisor (could be anything… insurance agent, banker, lawyer etc.) looking for some answers to a few questions at 3:30pm on a Friday afternoon. By Saturday afternoon the client feels like it has been ages since he asked his question. By Monday lunchtime he is wondering what is taking so long. Tuesday goes by and by the time the investment advisor actually calls back at 5pm on Tuesday (with all of the answers to those questions) the client is feeling very neglected.

The reality is that the investment advisor got back to the client within 2 business days, with everything he was looking for. The investment advisor is feeling like she did a great job and can’t understand why the client doesn’t sound grateful. In fact the client sounded quite abrupt!

The perception of the client… who might be a busy entrepreneur or any other kind of role that moves at a very fast pace is quite different. “I asked a question 4 days ago and she gets back to me like she has done a great job”!

You have to know your clients!

Some things that could have avoided all of the fuss. Set expectations

1. A quick call late on Friday, even if it is voicemail… “I got your message, it will take me a couple of days to get you everything you asked for. I need to chase a few people down so worst case I will be back to you Wednesday at Noon”.


Customer service means meeting expectations2. A quick email. “Sorry I missed your call. I’m on it, but have to chase a few people down so I will get back to you Wednesday Noon at the latest. Will that be OK?”


3. A call Monday morning… with the same kind of message. This call will remind the client that they made their request just a couple of “business hours” ago. Believe me, the client will NOT think that way unless you gently remind him. I got your message late Friday but I was out of the office and am on it first thing this morning”.

It is called managing expectations.

When you are dealing with clients do you always know what their expectations are?

If you assume that people think like you … then you will almost always be wrong.

The best salespeople, the best client service people and anyone dealing with clients who is good at the job will understand this. As Covey said, “First seek to understand” and this applies to expectations as much as anything.

“If you align expectations with reality, you will never be disappointed.” Terrell Owens

Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

If You Are Leaving A Voicemail Do It Right!

Quote about communication from George Bernard ShawHow often do you get a voicemail that you find hard to understand?

How often do you get a voicemail that misses some critical information?

Voicemails are an effective tool if used correctly, but they can be frustrating if they are done badly.

I often get voicemails that are difficult to understand, I listen to them a couple of times but if I don’t get the message by then I just ignore them!  That defeats the purpose of the call and leaves me frustrated.  Clearly just a little bit of attention by the caller would have made it a positive experience rather than a frustrating one.  Speaking too fast, speaking too close to the microphone can create a lisp that makes it hard to hear and accents can be difficult to understand!

Here are a few tips for leaving business voicemails:

1.  Be prepared … if you are expecting to talk to someone, and are not prepared to leave a voicemail then hang up.  You can call back when you have thought through your message.

2.  Keep it short.

3.  Tell people who you are first … “This is Kevin Dee from Eagle”.

4.  Tell people why you are calling … “I am calling to follow up on an invitation you sent me”.

5.  If there is more detail, then be clear about that … “I would like to get some more information about the event”.

6.  Give a clear contact number … “You can call me back at (999) 999-9999”.

7.  Repeat the contact information … “Again this is Kevin Dee at (999) 999-9999”.  Note that by repeating this information you may save the person from having to re-listen to the voicemail … for which they will be appreciative!

8.  Speak slowly, knowing that the person may need to write this down.  Too many times I will need to listen to a voicemail multiple times and still have trouble catching the details.

9.  Enunciate your words clearly.  If you have an accent, then practice talking so that people WILL understand what you say.  (This applies to me too!)

10.  If it is a sales call, make sure you inject energy and enthusiasm into your voice.

  • Role Play leaving voicemails;
  • Smile while you are talking;
  • Preparation of your message is EXTRA important;
  • Try standing up when leaving a message.

Any communication is important and voicemail done correctly achieves your aim, but it can also create a favorable impression of you … or NOT!

Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

Develop Good Sales Habits

Good habit quote by AristotleSales teams are often made up of some different characters, each of which will have an annual $ target (their plan) and they will often be compensated based on their performance.

Their approach will however range differently … but here are three different hard working sales characters that you might recognise.

Salesperson #1 works as hard as they can every month, receives some recognition for those months that are exceptional … and at the end of the year they may or may not meet and/or exceed their plan.  They have some regular clients where they spend most of their time, and a few key people who they will socialise with regularly.

Salesperson #2 breaks the annual target down into 12 equal amounts, works as hard as possible each month to make the target.  Some months she will exceed, some months will miss.  At the end of the year she “hopes” to meet her plan.  She will have decent rapport with her clients but will be fairly low key, and she only attends client social events when absolutely necessary.

Salesperson #3 sets their own target which is x% higher than the company plan and breaks that down to a monthly target.  They develop a plan that will identify what clients the revenue is coming from and what action is needed to generate those results.  The person reviews their plan weekly, adjusts where their efforts are directed depending upon the return on that investment and owns the responsibility for meeting the plan.  They will have a wide group of acquaintances, and some close friends among their clients, with whom they will socialise fairly regularly.  They spend a great deal of time out of the office meeting clients and prospective clients and may have many coffee meetings, lunches, breakfast, drinks after work etc.

Which type of salesperson are you?

Which of these salespeople would you want on your team?

Some thoughts …

  1. The Hope and a Prayer plan is really ineffective.  You needs hard goals with an associated action plan detailed enough to show the road to success!
  2. A consistent, professional and systematic approach to sales WILL bring results.
  3. Sales is NOT about how popular you are, nor how much you talk.
  4. Sales IS far more about listening and bringing value to your clients.
  5. Clients will buy from people they enjoy working with … which is professional people, who are pleasant to deal with, who help them with their challenges and who have established a level of trust!  (Oh by the way, often these relationships develop into friendship).

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”  Aristotle

A picture of what a salesperson should be ... using words

Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?