The recruitment sector is renowned as being an incredibly tough market. The industry is huge, with estimates outlining it’s now worth over £35 billion to the UK economy. However, it’s also very crowded. It’s estimated that the number of recruitment agencies operating in the UK is growing at an average 27% per year.
For a company to be surviving and thriving in the sector means that they must be doing something special. This is exactly the case with Allen Associates. This independent recruitment agency has been steadily growing for the last twenty years and has recently expanded from its Oxford-headquarters with the formation of a new office in Chiswick Park in West London.
Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates:
“Our company ethos from the very beginning has been service over sales. We have always been committed to delivering the best possible experience to clients and candidates alike, so that we build trust and long-term relationships. The results speak for themselves – nine out of 10 of our clients recommend us and this has been a fundamental driver of growth to our business.”
Starting to take a pulse
Allen Associates decided to add in a ‘secret ingredient’ into its CSAT (customer satisfaction) program. It became one of the very first customers of a revolutionary feedback tool, called Customer Thermometer. The company had developed an innovative solution to ‘taking an instant pulse’ of how clients and candidates were feeling. By embedding a traffic-light feedback buttons into outgoing emails, recipients could easily feedback on their experience with a click of a button.
Kate Allen explains: “I met with Customer Thermometer’s CEO whilst she was forming the company and solution – the concept was very exciting and perfectly aligned to our service-first strategy. I could immediately see the benefit of getting insight, in real-time, into how our clients and candidates felt about their experience of working with us.”
Allen Associates started by testing the feedback tool via embedding it into emails to candidates and clients at end of journey, such as when a job was filled and when a candidate was placed. The insight was so valuable that it quickly extended the usage to various touchpoints along the relationship journey. Candidates can now feedback after registration, once they have been placed, and at various stages throughout the placement process. Clients are now also given the opportunity to feedback on their experiences working with consultants, as well as once jobs are registered, filled and to check on the success of placements.
Aligning to company KPIs
Data from Customer Thermometer has become a key metric for Allen Associates and is used to feed into a number of company KPIs. Candidate and customer satisfaction rates are reviewed and tracked at Board meetings, with action plans subsequently agreed on maintaining or enhancing satisfaction. Account directors have individual Customer Thermometer metrics in place as key performance indicators.
Kate Allen continues:
“Before Customer Thermometer we relied on anecdotal feedback, which was subjective and hard to track. Having a ‘happiness factor’ that we can use for KPIs, communicate to the team and align to company objectives has been a game-changer that has tangibly enhanced our business.”
Opportunity for growth
Allen Associates have experienced a number of further benefits through its usage of Customer Thermometer, notably in how it can be used to grow the business. It uses the tool as a case-in-point when working with new candidates and clients to evidence its commitment to best-in-class customer service. Insights from the tool are using in strategic business planning to identify areas where they need to double-down or enhance investment.
Kate Allen concludes: “I cannot over-emphasize the value of having insight that we measure and respond to in real-time. I personally take responsibility for responding to red flags – as this is done immediately it means that problems can be quickly identified and resolved, which has boosted retention. Plus, a ‘gold’ is equally valuable, as we know a super-happy candidate will be receptive to then completing a Google review, and a very happy client will likely want to do more work with us.”
Want to measure CSAT like Allen Associates?
Well, you can! Give Customer Thermometer a go. It’s simple, quick, and you can put it into emails you’re already sending customers from dozens of systems like Outlook, Salesforce, Zendesk, ServiceNow (and lots more.)
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