Four Ways to Quickly Lose A Client

Mar 20, 2015

If there’s anything that’s close to certain about our industry, it’s the fact that clients aren’t easy to get. Like that pretty girl you’d like to date except that she’s always surrounded by guys vying for her attention, clients, especially good ones (and we all know who the good ones are, don’t we?), don’t have to take the first bumbling, average-looking suitor who comes along offering some flowers, a Netflix movie on her Dad’s couch, and maybe a take-out dinner from Subway (Dutch, of course).

No, they can hold out for oh so much more – and they do. They hold their ‘Bachelorette’-like contest until they get what they feel is the best of the best – the best rates, the best reputation, the best service, and the best employee pool. Finally, one lucky agency lands the client of their dreams and they walk off, hand in hand, into the sunset of eternal happiness together… right?

Not always.

Yes, it would stand to reason that, once a staffing agency has jumped through all the hoops it takes to finally land a solid client, they would do whatever it takes to keep that client. Fortunately for all the other agencies/suitors out there, that isn’t always the case.

One sobering fact should give us all pause – it’s hard to get a client, but it’s oh so easy to lose one. Here are a few ways agencies can turn that beautiful, credit-rolling walk toward the sunset into a bitter, tragic breakup.

Failing to Fill Job Orders

Although the rest of these won’t be in any particular order, this one is number one for a reason. Providing quality personnel is, after all, our raison d’etre. Whatever the reason, whether it’s low pay rates, ineffective staff, poor recruiting, or just plain bad luck, if you don’t fill a client’s job orders, they will quickly find someone they think can.

We all know that not every job order can be filled as quickly as we’d like or even at all, but absolutely everything we do in our staffing roles should point toward placing quality employees in each and every one of those precious job orders that are the lifeline of our business. Anything less and we won’t be in business very long!

Making Promises That Can’t Be Kept

All suitors make promises – I’ll spend every waking hour making you happy. I’ll buy you flowers every week. I’ll stop golfing on Saturdays so we can spend them together shopping – but we all know not all of these promises will or can be kept, even if they were sincerely made.

For example, it may be easy for some agencies to stand in front of a client and tell them they won’t have any problems filling their back-breaking sweatshop positions with their super-packed inventory of people begging to give their all for minimum wage. But when the rubber meets the road and the positions go unfilled (because, you know, human trafficking isn’t legal anymore, at least in this country), making promises you can’t keep will inevitably lead to a rift in your relationship.

Be real with your clients and prospects. If a position is going to be tough to recruit for, tell them! They may be disappointed and they may even try somewhere else, but they’ll respect you in the end.

Providing Poor Customer Service

Joe the Temp shows up at gate A instead of gate C, wearing flip-flops and shorts instead of jeans and steel-toes. This might be forgivable as a one-time oversight except for the time last week when your staffer forgot to drug-test Sally before she went to work and promptly passed out in front of her machine in a THC-induced stupor, or the time you sent somebody to run a complicated machine whose only experience was the fry line at McDonald’s.

Failing to communicate, to inform clients of order statuses, to check in on new starts, to counsel employees when asked, to send qualified employees, and to properly transmit information about the job (everything from work requirements to dress code and even break and lunch times!) can equal a level of customer service that is unacceptable to a client who can replace you by merely engaging the next suitor/agency rep who comes walking through the door.

Failing to Establish a Relationship

We can try our dead-level best to have every possible safeguard, policy, and system in place designed to ensure our customers are provided the absolute best in customer service. We can hire the best people, provide the best training, and do everything right…

… and we’ll still mess up.

Yes, it’s true – despite the best intentions and designs of man, we are all human and, consequently, we are all destined to mess up. I doubt even the most highly rated staffing agencies out there haven’t lost a client or two because of this very fact. That’s why relationships are so important. If we’ve made an effort to get to know our clients, to make a personal connection with them, and to value them as individuals, the occasional mistake or mix-up will be merely a bump in the road between friends instead of
a relationship-ending disaster.

There are plenty more ways to lose clients, up to and including looking at someone the wrong way. Sometimes we’ll lose them because of our own mistakes and sometimes it won’t be our fault at all. The important thing is to never, ever take our clients for granted – because once we do, another beau will come swooping in and steal them away.

This article originally appeared on StaffingTalk.
Image: David Castillo Dominici/
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