An elephant walks into a dentists……………….

This morning I was supposed to be at the dentists. However, after a night of broken sleep and hacking cough, I woke and thought that the dentist might not appreciate being covered in my phlegm. I also decided that being lay on my back with my mouth open would only increase my chances of choking.

Being a fine upstanding citizen (stop sniggering at the back), I thought it best to call and explain rather than just not turn up. I then discovered that the surgery apparently didn’t open until 15 minutes AFTER my appointment, but the nice voice on the answerphone told me I could leave a message.

This I tried to do, but the call was then interrupted by a real person who demanded to know why I was calling. I began explaining, between coughs, only to be told that “you can’t cancel at this short notice, you should have let us known earlier”.

When, exactly? At 3 o’clock this morning when I was turning puce through coughing? All I would have got was the answermachine, and the message would have been picked up at precisely the same as I called. On Tuesday, when I felt perfectly well? I must remember to get my crystal ball fixed.

And this got me thinking along the lines of how people in some roles in society feel they can talk to others. Customer service is a huge part of life nowadays, but it does flow both ways. That receptionist’s attitude will lead me to make a formal complaint about her, and without an apology, I will join another dentist and give them the £150 I spend every year. We lease a franking machine, and I cannot fault our account manager. The other staff within the business are worse than useless, and all our account manager does is put out the fires that they create; the chances are we will leave them, not because of the “customer service” but because of the service we receive as a customer.

I have been quite shocked by the attitudes of some of our clients over recent months. It has been a “buyers” market for a number of years, although going back a couple of years this didn’t matter because not many clients were recruiting anyway. Now though, many of the candidates in the job market aren’t out of work, or desperate for a job, they are looking for the next role that will enhance their career.

But a number of clients seem to think that candidates should bend over backwards to meet them, that they can dictate to them the terms of interviews or worse, that they can interview candidates and then never give them feedback, or contact them again. This lack of customer service is not the fault of the recruitment consultant (a person who gets none of the credit and all of the blame), and will, in time, come back to haunt those clients. I have had any number of candidates incredibly interested in meeting a client, either to be put off because of the attitude of that client either in terms of arranging interviews or in providing feedback.

What’s the old adage – if you give good customer service, that person will tell five people; if it is bad they will tell 25? The same is true of potential recruiters. The ultimate scenario is that no-one will be interested in working for you because of the appalling way you treat candidates now. And don’t worry about us poor recruitment consultants – if you are going to mess our candidates about, we’ll just go and deal with someone who doesn’t. You may think that you have the best company in the world, but if you give the impression that you don’t care about the staff you are trying to recruit, you’ll end up unable to recruit staff.

Customer service goes both ways. If you ask me to find oranges, and I find you oranges, and you then change your mind, that’s your loss, not mine. I’ll just go and find someone who wants oranges and knows they want oranges. And candidates are like elephants – they never forget. If I’ve kept up my end of the bargain, keeping them informed all the way along, treating them with the respect they deserve as individuals, then they will see where the real problem lies, and they will choose an employer that values them and treats them fairly over one that clearly does not.

So then, anyone know a good dentist?

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