September 8, 2011
In a recent semi-formal meeting with some of the stalwarts of the staffing industry, there was a question raised about what suppliers can do to render their services really important (or shall we say indispensable) to their clients. In the ensuing discussion, a lot of interesting points were made by almost every one of them, showcasing how some of the suppliers really choose to walk that extra mile for their clients. I realized that this particular approach, termed as responsiveness, is truly powerful enough to offer a supplier a place of honor on any preferred list on a permanent basis.
Setting High Standards of Service:
The group discussed how Suppliers generally accept that each and every increase in head count has a well-considered and solid business case behind it and any delays in filling that need would directly impact the performance of the client. Such acceptance would undoubtedly encourage the supplier to deliver to the SLAs on time, every time. Though a staffing contract contains various clauses and parameters which require a certain standard of performance from the supplier – the fact remains that no amount of promises and proofs of past performance can substitute the real deal – i.e. satisfactory delivery on all the metrics of the service level agreements!
Everyone also agreed that suppliers can demonstrate their value by finding innovative ways to deal with the various challenges and change management issues, which are a normal part of any business, like:
- Use of new and different methods and technologies to improve their services
- Adoption to regulatory changes and requirements in an adept and appropriate manner
- Adopting new and innovative strategies to provide customer satisfaction if not delight (as in providing training services to improve independent contractor performance while protecting the client from co-employment issues)
- Providing market-linked pay rates and giving equal importance to customer relations and not just profits.
Then the discussion turned to responsiveness – which is practiced by suppliers who maintain excellent customer relationships and ensure that they establish themselves as preferred suppliers! I recount here some of the instances which were quoted by the members of the group – which really made me realize what would make any supplier achieve distinction amongst so many others who offer more or less similar standards of service. Meeting the customer’s specific filling requirement and adhering to the submittal ratios and hire ratios cannot confer any special status on a supplier. So, what else do they do?
We talked about some of the following acts of responsiveness to customer needs, where the suppliers really put their customers first:
- One example which stood out was about this supplier who was confronted with the moral dilemma of discovering that one of their candidates had materially falsified his resume – just when this candidate made the cut, and was in the final running for clinching an important assignment. Without any hesitation, this supplier pulled the candidate out of the reckoning
- Another supplier, who was privy to discussions of a new project in the pipeline, and had initiated the task of short-listing potential candidates without waiting for a formal mandate
- Then there was the supplier who found the customer going through a lean patch and putting serious cost-cutting measures in place and voluntarily reduced their mark-up! Even when no requirements came their way, the supplier maintained contact throughout the period in which the customer was negotiating the lean patch.
Such responsive suppliers will always be at the top of any client’s preferred list.
The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.