No matter how conscientious and professional a staffing firm is, there are sometimes occurrences that can strain relationships with clients or even rupture them. Coming back from these incidents may seem impossible, but it is important to uphold the firm's reputation and to retain business from that client if at all possible. Even if a client relationship does ultimately end, it's best to not burn bridges and to leave everyone as satisfied with the conclusion of the relationship as possible. Here are a few tips on how to repair fractured business partnerships:
Decide the Effort is Worth It
All staffing professionals involved in the account should meet and establish that repairing the relationship is a priority. While mending relationships can be difficult work, if all stakeholders decide it is worthwhile it will go much more smoothly. A preliminary meeting can also help professionals generate ideas and strategies to help get the relationship back on track, which is likely to be helpful for all involved. A focus on why the client is important and how to fix the relationship is necessary for the hard work ahead.
Determine What the Firm Contributed
Repairing the relationship is likely to involve an apology, or at least an exploration of what went wrong. The Harvard Business Review noted it is also useful to look at what the firm feels the client did wrong, as overcompensating for those perceived shortcomings can exacerbate the situation. If there are long-lasting issues that seem not to be anyone's fault anymore, it may be useful to look at them in terms of how each party has reacted rather than who was originally the source of the problem.
Make an Action Plan
To set a relationship right again, the staffing firm will need buy-in from the client as well as from internal stakeholders. Getting it is likely to be easier with a concrete plan of action rather than a declaration of nebulous intent to make things better. An action plan can focus on many things, from addressing current issues to heading off possible future problems at the pass by implementing all the current staffing industry best practices. If the client is dissatisfied with the quality of candidates it receives from the firm, it's not enough to say they will improve – it's necessary to write a plan for exactly how that improvement will happen.
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