What Meal Do Your Clients Crave?

by Marcianne Kuethen
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customers being offered ice cream flavors they don't want

Here’s a great question to ask yourself, no matter what business you’re in: What meal do your clients want to be served?

Recently, our recruiting and leadership team met to discuss what our clients really value–things we strive for all the time, such as integrity, total honesty, persistence, responsiveness, transparency, a hiring partner, and a good hire whose contribution justifies what we charge to find them. Afterwards, our CEO wrote this:

“Have you ever gone back to a restaurant expecting a great meal? Maybe you’d eaten there before and your experience was terrific. The food was great, they played music you like and it wasn’t too loud, the service was just right, and you left satisfied? I’ve got a place like that. Right after we’re seated they bring hot bread and an oil/garlic/vinegar mixture to dip it in. They bring decaffeinated hot tea for my wife and an Italian cream soda for me. I order the same thing every time…because it’s so good. We’ve eaten at this place a dozen times, and every time my experience has been the same. Great atmosphere, excellent food, and excellent service. We don’t go out for dinner that often, but when we do, this place is one of a few that tops my list.

Or, rather, it used to be. Then something changed. It was hard to put my finger on it at first, but something was different. All of a sudden, I didn’t like it as much. My wife pointed out that they had expanded the bar and dropped a barrier that separated it from the regular dining area, changing the atmosphere from restful to energetic and noisy. I guess they were feeling the economic pinch and decided go after a different market. So they turned this place into a sports bar. There are now flat panel TV’s all over the place and something’s different with my favorite dinner. I’m not sure…maybe they changed chefs, too. It’s subtle, but something’s different.

Now this place is okay. When we go out to eat, it’s on my list, but it no longer tops my list.

Our exercise in yesterday’s meeting was the beginning of an ongoing dialogue about WHAT MATTERS TO OUR CUSTOMER…WHAT OUR CLIENT VALUES. Like my once-favorite restaurant (before it became a sports bar), we should be paying attention to why our customers come to us and what we serve up that keeps them coming back. I want us to pay close attention to what’s important to our customer. If we don’t pay attention,if we assume we know and stop thinking about it, we may wake up one day and discover they’ve gone to eat somewhere else. We may lose customers if we stop serving the food the way they like it. Well, we don’t serve food, but we do provide a service and they have many, many to choose from when it comes to professional recruiting when they need that service.

Let’s pay attention to WHAT OUR CUSTOMER VALUES. Think about that in your next conversation with a candidate or a client.”

It’s good food for thought! Whatever your service or product, could you be better off today asking yourself, “Why do my customers come to me? Am I serving my clients what they crave? Does my team regularly ask our customers how we can serve them better?” Or, like that restaurant that lost a favorite customer, are you blindly forging forward without considering those you may have lost along the way?

We always value your feedback. Is there an area where we can serve you better? If so, call (714) 993-1900 or contact us. Or if you have a general hiring question or situation you’d like us to address in an Ask an Expert Q&A, please email a paragraph of 250 words or less to psherman@www.amtec.us.com. Amtec’s Ask an Expert columns are written for the benefit of our employer audience and should not be construed as legal advice. Names, situations, and details will be altered to protect privacy.

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