What it means to be an important client – and how can you tell if you’re not?

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What it means to be an important client – and how can you tell if you’re not?
Joanna Fagbadegun

What it means to be an important client – and how can you tell if you’re not?

In this blog, I hope to help you identify if you’ve become an unimportant client and consider you how might take action.

When you’re going through the sales process, potential recruitment partners will ensure that you feel a top priority client. In the early days of a new recruitment partnership, as the account stabilises and optimises, you’ll feel the love of their senior executives and will likely regularly meet the MD or CEO.

Three, four, maybe even five years on; is your RPO or MSP partner still as attentive? Have they lived up to expectations and delivered on their promises?

In my opinion, outsourcing even a portion of your recruitment is a big decision, and the solutions you put in place with your partner are likely to be complex yet will need to remain agile in this increasingly challenging market. It’s therefore vital that you have a strong and trusted relationship with your recruitment partner, and that you can tangibly feel your importance to them.

In this blog, I hope to help you identify if you’ve become an unimportant client and consider you how might take action.

Identifying your importance

If your talent solutions partner continues to consistently deliver on their promises made to you, during the sales process and beyond, then this to me demonstrates that you are an important client.

As an important client, your partner should neither be complacent nor be afraid to have difficult conversations. You chose them for their expertise in this space and for their ability to continually improve and adapt to your needs, even if it means re-shaping their model to support evolution. If you sense a lack of flexibility or willingness to adapt, which I believe are core requirements in an RPO or MSP partner, you may have cause to question how important you are to them as a client.

Another way to identify if you’re an important client is to look at the quality and consistency of their account management team. Did you meet an excellent account manager during the sales process who supported implementation, Go Live and beyond – only to be moved internally to a larger (a.k.a. ‘more important’) account before the end of the initial contract term?

Although it’s a hot market for recruiters right now, and all talent solutions providers are feeling the pain of relentless head-hunting and unprecedented salary inflation, if your current partner cannot retain their best people, or are choosing to move them away from your account, alarm bells should be ringing.

Similarly, your importance could be gauged by the involvement of your partner’s senior leadership team. A clear signal that you truly matter is having executive-level sponsorship throughout the term of the contract, and not just during the RFP process, or for difficult conversations or remediation.

Lorien is an innovative and agile recruitment outsourcing provider, specialising in tech, digital and professional recruitment. It’s our mission is to find good work for good people, and our staff are not just tech specialists who speak the same language as your hiring community, but we also ensure that they’re a great fit for your business based on both experience and culture. Our long-tenured senior leadership team is focused on customer experience and satisfaction. We want to understand our clients at a deeper level and deliver candidates that are more than just a number.

Actions to take if you feel low priority

If informal feedback given during your weekly or monthly sessions with your partner results in no discernible improvement, then I would recommend utilising a formal review session as an ideal forum to raise any concerns or issues. If you are an important client, as soon as you reach out to your RPO or MSP partner they should be making themselves available to you, eager to understand more, and keen to respond, reply and if necessary, rectify.

If your issue relates to account team personnel, and it’s the first time, I would always suggest both sides work collaboratively to reach an agreement on go forward actions – as an important client, your partner should place a heavy emphasis on your satisfaction but also on supporting their people. It may be that additional resource needs to be committed to the account to support the existing team, or on occasion coaching or L&D courses may be useful.

However, if the issue relates more fundamentally to the service delivery, often evidenced by repeatedly missed SLAs, then your contract can guide you on this – via service credits for example. However sometimes you may find that the service levels in the contract no longer align to your company’s core objectives, and it’s worth reviewing them together with your partner to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose.

Ultimately, if you’re feeling ‘unloved’, there is no harm in benchmarking your provider by speaking informally to other providers, talking to your network for references and other feedback, or seeking advice from peers online via LinkedIn, which offers opportunities to compare and contrast experiences. If you’re interested in an informal benchmarking conversation, I’m available at joanna.fagbadegun@lorienglobal.com.

Does size matter?

If you don’t feel that you are an important client to your recruitment partner, and decide to explore the market, a common question you may have is ‘will the size of my RPO and MSP partner impact their ability to offer a best-in-class service, or my importance to them?’. Simply put – no. Working with an enterprise (big) provider doesn’t mean that they will naturally have better capability to deliver against your specific talent needs, or that with a smaller provider you’ll suddenly be more important as a client.

Excellent service delivery is all about the internal workings of the RPO and MSP provider – for example, do they have a structure in place to enable their account managers and senior leaders to give the necessary time and attention to their clients from both a tactical and a strategic perspective? An internal structure which empowers a more than transactional relationship between partner and customer not only drives collaboration, proactivity and understanding, but will also keep everyone pulling in the same direction. 

In addition, to this you should seek evidence of agility and flexibility – be sure that your potential partner’s scale doesn’t prevent them from being able to make decisions quickly or get caught up in layers of red tape. Speed of decision-making will deliver better results in the current fast-paced climate, so if you have changes that you need making quickly it helps to be reassured that your potential partner can take action swiftly.

A strong approach to attracting, engaging and retaining your future workforce is critical, so if you are concerned about whether you’re a high priority client, I would encourage you to take action. Challenge your service provider to exceed your expectations, demand responsiveness and agility, and look for a partnership-led service where smart and credible specialists will deliver consistently for the ongoing growth of your brand. And if that doesn’t work, there are a variety of options to take your business elsewhere.

If you’re interested in learning more about Lorien’s award-winning MSP/CWM and RPO/Total Talent solutions, click here. And please contact me if you have any queries or questions relating to our tech and digital specialist delivery capability, and our talent solutions service lines.

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