In right this moment’s period of uncertainty and disruption, staffing companies throughout each vertical should ask themselves: What technique ought to we use to compete on this unstable market? To information our dialogue, let’s borrow the framework used within the staffing-focused ebook Breaking By, by Mike Cleland and Barry Asin, which cites to 3 contrasting strategic approaches. These embrace operational excellence (competing on value), product management (competing on leading edge expertise) and buyer intimacy (competing on buyer focus). Now, greater than a decade after Marc Andresen proclaimed that “software program is consuming the world” and in a brand new period the place he has claimed that AI would possibly reserve it, this text explores whether or not it’s folly to embrace a method that’s not explicitly tech dominated.
Earlier than we proceed, I need to dispel two frequent myths about customer-centered methods. First, buyer intimacy isn’t incompatible with using expertise. The truth is, in right this moment’s staffing trade, probably the most profitable buyer intimacy companies require a purposeful tech stack that serves the pursuit of a superb buyer expertise. The crucial distinction lies within the primacy given to expertise. Specifically, is it a device or is it the technique?
Second and relatedly, there’s a crucial distinction between pursuing buyer intimacy as a tactic versus a method. The latter requires a a lot bigger dedication than merely coaching your staff to be well mannered, heat and responsive. To be a bona fide technique, companies should as an alternative radically commit to creating the client the long-term point of interest for choices, initiatives and workflows.
A survey of the current trade means that product management is certainly the predominant technique. Lots of the most profitable corporations have embraced this technique to nice impact by leveraging staffing platforms, automation and AI. For these companies, the intention is to compete by frequently creating and implementing state-of-the-art expertise. As an example, Aya Healthcare, a agency within the healthcare vertical that closely incorporates expertise, noticed almost sixfold progress in a two-year interval after introducing a staffing platform mannequin in 2020. Because of the seen success of technology-centered methods, it’s tempting to suppose that the staffing trade requires a technology-first technique.
Regardless of the prevailing development towards technology-focused technique, let’s discover two dynamics that make buyer intimacy a viable strategic choice.
First, as increasingly staffing corporations obsess over turning into extra frictionless and automatic, the belief and reassurance provided by human-led interactions will turn out to be extra crucial than ever. Whereas automation might assist to cut back ache factors and enhance efficiencies, one of many elementary parts of our trade is belief. If the trade tilts towards a extra transactional, tech-based mannequin, this will likely create a fair larger premium on belief for a lot of candidates and firms. This can be very true in area of interest and specialty markets, which require a better diploma of buyer understanding.
Second, as giant swathes of the staffing trade embrace a technology-first technique, buyer intimacy will function highly effective aggressive differentiator. This distinction will seemingly turn out to be sharper as expertise turns into extra necessary within the staffing world. In a hyper-automated period, a considerate human interplay will be immensely highly effective. As a easy instance, think about the tradeoffs between an e-card and a handwritten notice. At first blush, the e-card ought to win each measure of efficacy. It’s adaptable, value efficient, scalable and have wealthy. Regardless of this, there isn’t any escaping that it’s far more significant to obtain a handwritten notice. Equally, replicate in your extra irritating chatbot and cellphone menu experiences. Once more, customer-focused companies can not ignore expertise altogether; nonetheless, they are able to create a robust differentiator by specializing in the client’s desires and desires and delivering worth accordingly.
Predicting the long run generally is a fraught train, however we will be assured that staffing companies might want to fastidiously weigh and think about the optimum strategic pathways throughout this ongoing period of technological disruption. No agency can reach all three domains, nonetheless, so robust choices can be required. Despite the fact that product management methods are having fun with appreciable reputation and acclaim right this moment, it might be a mistake to low cost the worth of a customer-focused technique. If something, the second and third order results of technological developments and disruptions might create a fair extra beneficial lane for companies that make use of a method based mostly on buyer intimacy.