CEO Blog

Category Archives: Customer Service

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

There is a Price to be Paid for Everything

long-term-thinkingSometimes it is not evident … but generally speaking there IS a price for everything.

If you win a wage increase what is the impact to your employer?

If you do not treat your employees fairly what is the impact on your business?

If you do not pull your weight at work what is the impact?

If your boss expects you to work long hours consistently what is the impact?

If the government increase costs for businesses what is the impact?

If governments do not provide for their citizens what is the impact?

If you spend more than you earn what are the impacts?

If you treat your partner poorly what is the impact?

If a company treats its clients poorly what is the impact?

If you are prudent with your money then you try to live within your means … whether you are an individual, a company or even a government.

If you are prudent with your actions then you can reduce the potential impacts of those actions.

Life is never black and white … there are generally many potential impacts of any action.

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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) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Invest in Your Relationships … or Someone Else Might!

Disclaimer!   I am neither Dr. Phil nor am I Oprah, so please don’t expect me to fix your relationship problems.

Phew …

We ALL have relationships in our lives … family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, clients etc.

Here is what I know about “relationships 101“.

Piggy Bank accepting moneyYou have to WORK at relationships. That means actually doing positive things for that other person.

Stephen Covey had a great way of describing this with his concept of the emotional bank account.  Consider that you share a bank account with every person in your life.  One bank account for each relationship.   At its most basic level, if you want a relationship to work you need to make more deposits into that bank account than withdrawals.

So … what have you done lately for those people that are important in your life?

Are you making regular deposits … or are you making withdrawals?

What have you done for special relationships THIS WEEK?

Food for thought for the average salesperson … how many of your client contacts have heard from you in the last week?  How about the last month?

IF you spoke to them, were you asking for something or were you giving something?

How do you think that relationship is going?  (Hint:  Someone else IS making deposits in their bank account!)

Oh by the way … what did you do for your spouse/parent/sibling/best friend lately?

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
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?
________________________________________________________________


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The Customer Experience in Recruiting

You may have heard discussion in the past year or so about companies shifting their focus from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to Customer Experience Management (CXM).  Simply put, CRM focuses on improving processes to better support customers, increase satisfaction and reduce costs.  CXM incorporates the principals of CRM, but takes a more proactive approach.  Companies focusing on CXM don’t just work to improve relationships; they work at A group of people who are obviously happybuilding relationships over time by enhancing the entire customer experience and making every touch point a positive interaction.

While CXM is still new and may not be the answer for all organizations, it is definitely applicable to recruiting.  It’s nearly impossible for recruiters to build strong relationships with the thousands of high quality candidates available; however, it’s very possible for companies to ensure that all interactions – human and non-human – between the candidate and the company are pleasant. The best place to start is your online job board.

When searching for a new opportunity, the first place most candidates start looking is some type of job board. Whether it’s an agency, a corporate job board, social media, or a public job board, candidates have hundreds of options. If you want applicants to read your job postings and, more importantly, want them to come back, you have to differentiate yourself with an exceptional user-friendly experience. If not, your hard-to-use job board and application process could cost you your next star employee.  Here are a few tips to improve the candidate experience on your job board:

  • Search Functionality: If a candidate can’t find a job, they won’t apply to it, so keep your search functionality simple and intuitive.  Also, check out these tips to include SEO in your job descriptions.
  • Application Process: When the right job, if your application process is long and difficult, you may lose people.  Make it easy to apply and ask yourself, “Do I really need to collect all of that information right now?” A name, email address and resume are probably enough.
  • Mobile Friendly: More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets for day-to-day tasks, including job searches.  If your site isn’t smart phone or tablet-friendly, don’t expect these applicants to apply to your jobs.
  • Innovation: CXM is about being proactive and understanding customer preferences, often before the customer knows they need it, so think outside the box.

Eagle's Virtual Recruiter serviceAt Eagle, we know how essential the job board experience is to our business and while our job board is pretty good, our soon to be released upgraded job board will include all of the elements above… and then some! This will result in a better customer experience for job applicants.  Our low-cost job posting service Virtual Recruiter is one way we improve customer experience for our clients.  Our clients get a more targeted set of resumes to review than they would get from regular job boards, together with a pre-screen that identifies the potential top matches.

Where can you improve your customers’ experience?

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Earn the Right

cartoon character depiction of Elvis PresleyHave you ever been asked that question … If you could go to dinner with anyone in the world (sometimes the question includes historical people) then who would that be?

Over the years here at Eagle we have asked that question of “newbies” as just a small insight into who they are as people.  It is not a test, and there are no wrong answers.

The answers have however revealed some humour, some deep thinkers, some nervousness, some bravado and some seriousness.

The answers have covered the full gamut … cartoon characters, religious leaders, athletes, politicians, world leaders, actors and family members.

I think it would be an interesting follow up question, particularly to sales people … how would you earn the right to have dinner with these people?

That is a real challenge salespeople have every day … how do they earn the right to meet with senior people?  Why should busy people take time from their day to meet with them?

Often there is an assumption that an executive should meet with a salesperson  because that salesperson might have something of value.  I can tell you that over the years as I have met with salespeople, more often than not they had nothing to offer!  That is a problem for sales people because they need to go into meetings or even into relationships with clients bringing something to the table.

My experience would suggest that it doesn’t even always need to be a business value … as long as it is valuable to the recipient!

An executive might be willing to give you time if they like you, or if your were referred by a friend, or if they like to help good people.  A sales trainer, Colleen Francis has written many times about a great quality of good salespeople is that they are nice people.  McKinsey even wrote about jerks … suggesting that jerks are a problem (not rocket science I know) and people (read clients) don’t want to deal with jerks.  If you are lucky enough to find clients like this your big challenge will be in maintaining your credibility such that they will meet again.

An executive might be willing to give you time if you are bringing real value, and not just “taking”.  It could be knowledge of an interest area outside the business.  It might be a subject the sales person is an expert in, and sometimes you won’t even know why you were given time.  Some of this is within the salesperson’s control, some is not.  There could be many reasons why an executive will give you time … so good salespeople will have real value to bring, and will understand what is important to their clients.  Once you have EARNED it then work hard to keep it.

When you get really good at that, you might just earn the right to have dinner with that “special celebrity”.  Pass the salt Elvis!

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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 Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Are You Getting the Whole Story?

How many times have you been surprised that the service you thought you were getting was not quite what you expected?

The holiday home rental property by the sea is actually three blocks from the sea … but that qualifies as by the sea to the owner!

The software you bought does not actually do everything you thought it would.

The seller neglected to mention that trailer you bought has a non standard hitch.

Have ever gotten a story about “an incident” that perhaps wasn’t quite the same when you got more facts?

Your child tells you about how unfairly they were treated by the teacher.  The teacher tells you the whole story!

Your employee talks up all the extra hours they have been putting in at the end of the day.  You then find out that they haven’t been showing up in the office until much later than you thought.

I hear from salespeople all the time that “that client” isn’t spending … based on input from the sales person’s contact!   Meanwhile other parts of the client organization are spending like drunken sailors!

So what? 

The point here is that very often there are many perspectives or points of view to consider.  Sometimes (most times?) one person just does not have all the facts.

If you base your decisions upon one perspective, no matter whether you trust that person or not, you might not be happy with the outcome.

If you want to make the best decisions then …

Ask lots of questions!

Get as many inputs as possible.

Do NOT base important decisions on just one source!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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The Nuances Count

Very often in life you will find yourself talking to someone, they are paying attention to what you are saying, BUT they are hearing a slightly different message than the one you are delivering.

I think that one of the biggest difference between a “seasoned professional”, in almost any field, and a “newbie” is their understanding of the nuances in their profession.

I operate in the staffing world, where the key roles for our business are sales and recruiting.  Both of which involve significant people interaction and both of which require an ability to grasp the importance of the nuances in our business.

For example … regular contact with our clients is extremely important.  However if I am a client and the only time I hear from a salesperson is when they are asking me for business I might not be as welcoming as when some percentage of the time they are bringing value in other ways.  So a salesperson might differentiate them self by the small things … a thoughtful message; forwarding interesting articles of interest; a call out of the blue for a beer/a lunch/a coffee; etc.

Another example might be the recruiter who ignores the calls from people wanting to hear about a job, or get feedback on an interview.  You can be successful in the short term, but if you have a reputation fro treating people poorly it will catch up with you.

In almost any profession if I do not value the significant difference between an email, a telephone conversation and a face to face conversation then I am missing out.  Having a face to face with a colleague, employee, client etc will always be appreciated over the email!

Some more examples we all see regularly …

There is a difference between a server in a restaurant who serves all of their clients efficiently, and one who does the same with a smile and a kind word.

There is a difference between the professional who provides you efficient service, and the one who takes time out to know you a little, while also providing good service.

There is a difference between the teacher that teaches a curriculum, and one that recognises those students that might need a little extra help.

Almost every job offers the opportunity to differentiate based on a very small shift in empathy, focus or just plain friendliness.

Do you understand the nuances that could help you in your field?

Probably even more importantly … do you care enough to want to understand those nuances?

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Ten Reasons Why Sales People Need to Be Out Meeting Clients

Ten reasons to be out meeting with your clients …

1.  It is hard to build a rapport, which grows to trust which becomes a valued relationship if you are not meeting with them enough.

2.  You can be sure that your competition are meeting with your client … and very often the prize goes to the one who is “top of mind”.

3.  If you are out in the market meeting your client you will bump into other people, you will have relevant conversations and learn about other opportunities.

4.  When you meet with a client and ask lots of questions you learn about them, their challenges and how they like to do business.  You learn about who they are … and you will be surprised how easy it is to like people when you get to know them.

5.  When you like people it shows, and they are far more likely to like you … go back to tip #1 and repeat!

6.  When you are in the office your manager is wondering why their salesperson isn’t out getting orders, closing business and building relationships.

7.  It is very rare that REAL opportunity comes while you sit at your desk waiting for the phone to ring.

8.  The more relationships you have in the marketplace the more opportunities you will uncover and your market intelligence will improve, helping you to win more business.

9.  It is a lot more gratifying as a salesperson to be active, to be executing on a sales strategy than sitting in the office “researching”.

10.  Your chances of closing business are far better face to face.

“Keep your sales pipeline full by prospecting continuously.  Always have more people to see than you have time to see them.”  Brian Tracy

The sales role is challenging but it is really easy to over think it … meet lots of people, be interested in them and you will be a long way down the road to success.

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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 Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?
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Shades of Grey

I couldn’t resist using that title … but you might be disappointed to learn this blog entry does not have the same racy content as the book with a similar name!

My topic today focuses on the fact that we human beings are all different … yet so often we assume “the other person” is thinking the same way that we are.

I might talk to a prospective donor about a generous charitable donation … the person I am talking to nods their head in complete agreement, she is thinking $500 and I am thinking $5,000!

In a discussion between parents of different children, one might suggest that their child is in bed early every night … the other nods and agrees, their child is in bed early too.  The one child might be in bed at 8pm, the other 10pm.

A manager might suggest en employee needs to show a better sense of urgency with their reports … the employee agrees, thinking they will have the report done by the third business day while the manager thinks its going to be done two days earlier.

These are small differences at the end of the day but they illustrate the point that when talking “expectations” it is important that the discussions have enough “meat” that everyone is on the same page.  It is easiest to do that when you recognise that just because you said “it”, does not mean they heard “it”!

Can you imagine a “special ops” team executing an attack on an enemy with one group thinking “we go on a count of 3” and the other “we go on command”.  Three seconds disparity can cost lives.

A classic “disconnect” comes with large technology projects … “scope” is the word used to describe what the supplier considers included in the price, yet all too often the buyer’s “scope” differs.  The technology expert explained everything (they think) … the buyer understood everything (they thought)!

Differences happen every day in small and big ways, in the staffing business it might be rate negotiations with contractors or contract length with clients … it is easy for people to not be on the same page.

Sometimes there is no way to get to “black and white” when talking abstract ideas, strategy or theory … but even then it is important that you are both thinking about the same “shades of grey”!

It is incredible how often two people communicate, but the message delivered differs from the message heard.

A little due diligence, lots of questions and a willingness to take care of the details will serve you well.

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Promises

If one of your friends promises you something, then you will trust that the promise will be met.

If a trusted supplier promises you something then there is a very reasonable chance you will not be disappointed.

Making a promise is a great way to build credibility!

Having said that, failing to deliver on a promise is also a very easy way to blow your credibility.

There is an old saying that fits that kind of thinking … Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice and shame on me!   Clearly if you promise and don’t deliver you lose credibility and people will be loathe to trust you again.

If you are in sales, customer service or any role where you interact with clients, be very careful with your promises … the old axiom that will serve you well is under promise and over deliver!  If I am promised a delivery by a certain time or day then that promise sets my expectation … if the delivery happens faster, then I am very pleased, but when the delivery is late I am not pleased at all!  A careless promise will cause a lot more problems than it needs to!

So if you are dealing with a client try to give yourself some room for error … and do your best to “over deliver”!

The same applies in your personal life … make promises that you can meet, not promises that you might break, whether intentional or not!

The BIG WIN here is that it is easy to build credibility by promising and delivering!   Take advantage of that!  Promise your client something and deliver … every time you deliver you are building credibility!

At the other end of the spectrum nobody wants anything to do with the person who never meets their promises … take for instance the developer who is two years late delivering the building, four years late delivering services in the building and never delivers some critical aspects of the building!  Would anyone want to be associated with someone like that?

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
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?
________________________________________________________________


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Shut Up and Listen!

Quote about importance of listeningHow many times does the salesperson need to finish your sentence for you before you walk away?

How often have you spent time with a consultant/adviser/sales person explaining exactly what you want, just knowing that they are not listening?  Your concern being validated when they open their mouth!

It is a trait of salespeople that I find irritating.  The car salesperson rushes off finding the car for you, when he has not even asked what you are looking for!  The salesperson in the clothes store is giving you clothes he/she thinks you should like, rather than what you actually want.

It is a trait of very intelligent people too.  Their brain is racing ahead to solutions while you are speaking.   They truly believe they know what you are going to say … which of course is what they would say!

I can’t say I am not guilty … but if you can recognise that you have this tendency, you can at least try to curb it!   That is what I try to do.

There is an old sales adage that suggests you say your piece and then shut up!  It can be really hard to shut up when there is so much to say, but really unless what you are saying is actually pertinent to your client why are you taking up their time?

If you are a salesperson, consultant, adviser … or operating in one of those roles the most powerful thing you can do is to ask pertinent questions  and then LISTEN to the answers, without interrupting.

Yes I know it is tough … because you are clearly so interesting, because what you have to say is wonderful, because you can really solve a problem for this person (even if you don’t know what their problem is)!

Step 1:   ASK A QUESTION!

Step 2:  SHUT UP and LISTEN!

Step 3:  GO BACK TO Step 1 UNTIL YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND!

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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) VirtualRecruiter service?
________________________________________________________________


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