We are not widgets, and great customer service is knowing when to tell you it's not ready yet

  • We do our best as Consumer Reporting Agencies to be sure the information we provide is accurate and complete, and in the face of probably some of the most daunting local, federal and global regulations it can seem like an insurmountable task and therefore could create serious risk taking.

  • Sometimes the pressure to act on those risks have the potential to put an entire organization in a burdensome position, and those pressures may be applied in places that should never be expected to take such chances.

For those that I've spoken to in a sales or account management role most of the time they believe their service is impeccable and for the handful of clients they support it most likely is without question. For those that I've spoken with that focus on operational processes (getting the work done); they either feel overwhelmed and pulled into too many directions or in many cases I've observed "that's not my job" as their point of view. This is usually driven from high volumes of work and top down directives that often don't give much room for consideration of the human factor.
So we are not widgets... and great customer service in knowing when to tell you it's not ready yet

As a long time member of the background screening industry I have had the opportunity to work on innumerable projects that have focused on everything from bringing new products to market, to deciding if we're going to have Coca-Cola or Pepsi products in the breakroom.


I have spoken to all levels of Management and Leaders in the industry and the one challenge that continues to bubble up time and time again is, "How do we provide our clients with the most amazing customer service possible?"


For those that I've spoken to in a sales or account management role most of the time they believe their service is impeccable and for the handful of clients they support it most likely is without question.


For those that I've spoken with that focus on operational processes (getting the work done); they either feel overwhelmed and pulled into too many directions or in many cases I've observed "that's not my job" as their point of view. This is usually driven from high volumes of work and top down directives that often don't give much room for consideration of the human factor.

The fact is that gathering, validating, re-validating and publishing data that will be used to determine someone's ability to get a job (often also known as provide for their families) is an extremely important job to get right the first time.

We do our best as Consumer Reporting Agencies to be sure the information we provide is accurate and complete, and in the face of probably some of the most daunting local, federal and global regulations it can seem like an insurmountable task and therefore could create serious risk taking.


Sometimes the pressure to act on those risks have the potential to put an entire organization in a burdensome position, and those pressures may be applied in places that should never be expected to take such chances.


Within each company there is a need to differentiate and depending on who you talk to that could mean product offerings, turnaround time (let's be honest it's always turn around time), ease of use, applicant experience, client experience etc...


But one thing that has never failed to show up in the selection process of a screening vendor is that clients always want to know how great and consistent the customer service will be compared to what they've dealt with in the past.


In all my years I have yet to speak to more than a handful of clients that have a similar definition of what amazing customer service actually means to them. Ultimately, it does boil down to how quickly they are able to get a person from interview to sitting in the job they were hired for as quickly as possible and I understand that as well.

More importantly though I believe it's critical that while the pressures of hiring can be intense, I cannot think of a more important element of a client relationship than making sure they understand that due diligence should always trump expediency.

These screenings, each and every one are unique and therefore you can't line up a hundred thousand of them and expect to get 99,999 of them complete at the push of a button. Most of the time we won't know the simplicity or the complexity of a person until we've seen the data laid out before us. Although I readily point out that there have been amazing strides in automation that have gotten us much closer to a push of a button...but the outliers are the ones that create the most noise, and I have seen it get very loud.


So we are not widgets... and great customer service is knowing when to tell you it's not ready yet because we want all possible doubts eliminated followed by consistent, clear and helpful communication until the order is satisfactorily completed.


Oh, and P.S. we will still try to move heaven and earth to get them done absolutely as quickly as possible.


Note: This article was first published on Chris Syrock's Linkedin Blog


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