Feefo’s Panel Debate: Lifting the Lid on Customer Service

Unemployment is at its lowest level in 40 years in the UK; a fact that’s transforming the recruitment industry.

At least, according to the panel of industry experts who came together last week to discuss Feefo’s new report: ‘Exploring UK Attitudes Towards Recruiters’.

Moderated by DeeDee Doke, editor at Recruitment Magazine, the panel consisted of: Tom Hadley, Director of Policy at REC; Nick Kirk, MD of Michael Page; and James Cumming, MD of Re:find. Together they explored the issues highlighted in the #FeefoRecruitmentReport.

One of the main points discussed was the shift, seen across the recruitment industry, from a ‘vacancy’ lead market to ‘candidate’ driven. A transformation fuelled by high employment levels and therefore a scarcity of skilled candidates. This shift highlights the importance of customer service in the industry.

Tom comments that REC believe the future of recruitment lies in “world class customer service” and touches on REC’s ambition to change the reputation of the industry. Although, the report finds that 92% of people who engage with a recruitment agency trust them. So we must be doing something right!

James, from Re:find, has a similar view - recruiters are becoming “Talent Advisors”; forming closer relationships with both candidates and clients and becoming more aware of their personal brand. At the end of the day, anyone job hunting is more likely to remember the individual consultant they worked with over the agency.

So, what does that mean for agency branding and culture? The panel all agree, having a deep-rooted culture and values, that every consultant is invested in, is important for the success of an agency. Because that culture will shape how the individual recruiter interacts with customers.

Our Head of Marketing, Ben Dalzell, who attended the event, agrees. From his perspective, “Meet’s unique culture is what sets us apart from our competitors.” For Ben it’s also one of the reasons Meet partners with Feefo, “Our Feefo page is a reflection of the way we work with candidates and clients.”

Another topic raised was the role of technology in the industry. Nick recalls that, at the time, many thought the rise of LinkedIn was the death of the recruiter. 15 years after its launch the industry is booming, and actually, embracing LinkedIn as a recruitment tool drove that growth.

Nick is an advocate for embracing new technology available in the industry, from machine learning to AI. From his point of view recruiters are best positioned to use this technology as they understand, better than anyone, the recruitment process. Therefore, it becomes an “enabler.”

In many ways’ technology is intrinsically linked to improving customer service. Feefo’s report finds that 49% of respondents biggest pet hate is receiving irrelevant job information from recruiters. However, the panel discussed various technologies such as machine learning, and AI which can overcome these problems, streamlining the process and predicting which profiles’ best match vacancies. What effect will this have on the role of the recruiter?

The event left us feeling reflective on the changes the industry is experiencing. Moving jobs is one of the most life changing decisions a person can make. Obviously, you want to make sure you’ve got the right support. That means customer service is hugely significant in the role of a recruiter but also, makes it unlikely that technology, at least at this stage, can replace human contact and empathy in the recruitment process.

For Meet’s Head of Digital Marketing, Ben, “Technology won’t replace the recruiter. But, the age of the old school recruiter is over. If you want to stay in the game you’ve got to adapt to the changes – that means being tech savy”.

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