Over the last few months, as organisations have instigated radical changes in their business operating models to accommodate lockdown, it would be natural to think that delivery methods might be compromised, service levels fall or customers feel less engaged.
It would have been an interesting challenge for leaders to pose to themselves at the outset – should they expect customer satisfaction to increase over this timeframe or were they willing to compromise and set the bar lower? What is apparent is the increased levels of creativity, across the commercial sector and public services, as organisations have collaborated and challenged their own norms to provide not just continuity but better, more innovative alternatives.
As a people centred business where relationships, engagement, support and inclusivity are at the heart of what we do, we were clear that a virtual service could not equal a compromised, less personal service. From the outset, though continuity was an immediate priority, we took the view that it shouldn’t be an end goal in itself. For us, business as usual just wasn’t good enough. We wanted to use this period to roll out ideas that had long been in the thinking but with little opportunity or appetite to test.
Instead, we agreed that virtual could give us more – greater inclusivity, more time to engage with candidates and increased ‘face’ time spent with people doing what we do best; supporting candidates, building networks and assessing fit. The one reduction we were happy to concede was our carbon footprint.
More than ever, it has brought to the fore the might of our project administration capability, which plays such a central role in delivering good customer service. We already knew that ours is one of the most professional and adaptable administration functions around, however, with lockdown effectively switching off the ‘default’ mode, our team has flourished in introducing and refining new process and protocols. Be that facilitating virtual panels, testing technology, managing virtual meeting rooms, reassuring clients and candidates alike, running virtual assessment centres or managing data. We have even been on hand to advise on wardrobe advice, recommended camera angles, lighting and to point out items captured in the background that are best removed! It has both helped to accelerate service improvements and energise those who have ideas and newly honed skills to offer.
But what have our clients and candidates made of this? We have continued to survey them throughout this period and received an overwhelmingly positive response. As part of our satisfaction survey, we use a global metric to measure our levels of service. During the lockdown period, our score has increased by 5 points and is now recognised as ‘World Class’, putting us in the top quartile of global businesses for customer satisfaction. There can be no greater incentive and reward in pushing ourselves further, long beyond the Covid-19 period, to continue to push boundaries and aim higher still.
Sam Ellis, Director of Strategy & Marketing