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The Importance of Customer Service within Recruitment

ASC’s Operations Director, Jane Storer talks about the importance of customer service within recruitment and how to get it right.


Jane has been with ASC since the beginning and became Operations Director in 2007. After working in an entirely different sector, Jane moved into recruitment because she wanted a people focused career. This is still very important to her today and every aspect of her role affects the customer service ASC provides to clients and candidates from having the right procedures to welcoming new people into the business.

Her dedication to maintaining and consistently improving the service ASC provides has supported the recent achievements of REC Audited Status and the Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award 2019.

From the social to the serious side of recruitment, Jane talks through her career and how the importance of customer service within recruitment is about focusing on people.

Have you always worked in recruitment and what inspired you to start working in the sector?

Before I started in recruitment I worked for a Wine Merchants where part of my job was sampling new product lines and attending wine tastings!

A dream job I know but for some reason I wanted to broaden my horizons. I visited an agency to talk about a career change, they actually asked me to join their team and I started out as a Temp Controller many years ago!!

What does your job involve as the Operations Director of ASC?

As Operations Director I have a very broad role.  The main aim is to ensure we have the procedures in place in order for our teams to be able to focus on providing the best service they can to both candidates and clients.

When we welcome new members to our team, I spend the first 2 days with them to bring them up to speed on our business, all HR policies and systems.

Another large part of my role involves HR and training and I work with all teams across the business.

What’s the best part of what you do?

The diversity.  No two days are the same and I am still learning all the time. 

What have been your biggest challenges working as a Director at ASC?

When we first started the business we were in the middle of a recession but the biggest challenge by far was working through the “credit crunch” of 2008/9.  We had to dig deep to ensure we kept the momentum going and motivate our team in a very difficult time.  But I guess they say “what doesn’t break you, makes you stronger” and I certainly found out a lot about my personal determination whilst going through this challenge.

Another challenge is the ongoing – legislative changes we as Directors have to ensure, not only do we understand, but are able to roll out to the teams to embed in our day to day routines. 

And, of course, we all face challenges every day having to handle a wide range of queries both internally and externally.

Talk through your biggest achievements at ASC?

Over 15 years ago I was instrumental in winning a Managing Agency Contract with a global company to supply all of their staff on a permanent, contract basis.  The contract covered Finance, Customer Service, Sales, Marketing, HR, Logistics, Production Operatives and Manufacturing Management. 

Over the entire length of the contract we have retained extremely high direct fulfilment levels and have engaged with other agencies, some of which are global players themselves, in very niche areas.  Not only am I proud of winning the account initially, but retaining it for over 15 years is the bigger achievement as far as I am concerned and that has to be credited to the high levels of customer service provided by our team.

ASC have recently received REC Audited status and the Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award 2019, what do you feel has supported these achievements?

In terms of the REC Audited Status – it was all about embracing the ethos of the REC and ensuring I had a full understanding of their policies and procedures.  These were then embedded into our internal Best Practice procedure and training was provided throughout the business. It is also a big part of our On –Boarding for new starters.  From here on it is over to the teams – they don’t just work to the guidelines as a tick boxing exercise – they truly want to provide the best possible service they can. This has been shown in the feedback received through the Feefo platform, which isn’t just about ASC as a business but the individuals who actually provided the service.

To gain Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award is truly amazing.

Recruitment is all about customer service, what do you feel is the key to getting this right?

Listening first!!!  We cannot provide an effective solution if we do not listen to what our candidates and clients are looking for.  Then it is all about keeping everyone in the loop and providing meaningful feedback.  We want everyone we deal with to feel comfortable about asking us questions because there is no such thing as a silly question.

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the recruitment industry, how do you ensure ASC isn’t perceived incorrectly?

The starting point has to be the expectations we have for the teams.  The recruitment industry of old was heavily driven by targets – not just revenue but daily activities and set “phone time”. This possibly contributed to some of the misconceptions in terms of service levels.  We encourage our teams to be creative with their working days so that they have the freedom to make their own decisions.  One of our Brand Values is Respect – ‘treating those we come into contact with as we would wish to be treated – with respect, honesty and integrity’. I see this on a daily basis throughout the team.  We can’t help everyone we come into contact with but as long as everyone is treated with honesty and politeness, I am happy. 

People are a company’s biggest asset, how do you get the best out of your people?

I guess a lot of this is down to what I have said above – first of all we make sure they have the tools to do the job – processes, policies, systems, advertising budget and the skills to do the job through personal development and training.  The other aspect is a little more intangible but it’s all about creating the right environment. Myself, Neil and Mike along with the Management Team, have an open door policy, we want people to feel they can approach us if they need support or guidance from a personal or career perspective.  Oh and of course you can’t forget our nights out too!!!!

 Most memorable moment at ASC?

Being interviewed by Hugh Pym who at the time was the Economic Editor for the BBC and appearing on the national news!  I had no warning and my only regret is that I didn’t have enough time to get my hair done!!!  And my Brummy accent being apparent for all to hear!

Any funny stories from times gone by?

Gosh – there are so many – I have been here for 28 years!!!  Most surround the people and the laughs we have had.  One personal moment was when I got married and the girls forced me to have a hen night – I didn’t want one, but they organised it in secret and bought my fancy dress outfit. I was Head Teacher, they were all very naughty school girls and they arrived in a 1950’s bus!!!  It was all in the “best possible taste”.  We had such a good time and they ensured that I followed a tradition in having a “send off” that I may have otherwise missed.  I also felt that although they were out for a good time themselves, the lengths they went to showed that they were really supportive to me.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Food and drink in the main!!!  I still love a good night out and the current trend of cocktails takes me back to my early days of my 1980’s social life!!! 

Best piece of advice for people working or looking to work within recruitment?

Be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions – it is a job full of highs and lows.  Make sure you truly have a passion for helping people coupled with a tenacious approach.  You will encounter knocks along the way but the rewards both financially and emotionally far outweigh the negatives.

Does Jane sound like the type of Director you’d like to work for?  We’re always on the lookout for new talent. Send your CV to marie.weston@asc-connections.com

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