As anyone in the staffing industry will tell you, we are nothing without our clients and associates. Both are important, integral. Without either one, we wouldn’t be in business. Like a giant, ever-changing jigsaw puzzle, it’s our job to match them up with each other, to make perfect fit after perfect fit, all the while trying to keep them both happy and content (or at least happy enough to keep using our agency to solve the puzzles).
Now, as everyone knows, that’s an impossible game. Someone is bound to become unhappy at some point along the way. As staffers, however, it’s our job to make sure it’s not the client. I’ll go ahead and say it: while we deeply appreciate everyone involved in allowing us to do what we do, in a zero-sum game, one client is far more important to our business than one associate. Fair or not, that’s just the way it is. It comes down to simple numbers – there are fewer clients out there and they are tougher to get, so upsetting and losing the business of one of our clients can affect everyone, including our associates, in a negative way.
So, we bend over backwards, jump through hoops, toe the line, and do just about everything imaginable to make sure every one of our clients feel that they are our ONLY client. And, believe it or not, some clients, by the demands they put on agencies these days, seem to really think that’s the case! But, despite this, would one of them, really, want to BE an agency’s only client? While on a sales call to a major prospect we actually got into this topic of conversation, and it was eye-opening. There are two agencies currently doing business with this prospect. One of them is on their way out, and the HR recruiter was frank enough to tell us one of the reasons why:
“We are basically their only client,” he said.
I responded with a “Really?! Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Then they could focus all their attention on you!”
He responded with several drawbacks, which I will summarize here. First of all, an agency with only one client is severely restricted in recruiting. As a client, one attractive benefit of using an agency is that it opens up another avenue to recruit for your business. Someone could come in the office looking for ABC company, yet end up being sold on XYZ company by a competent staffer who knows what the best ‘fit’ is. If the staffing agency didn’t hire for ABC company, that prospect would have never darkened their doors in the first place, and would have never ended up at XYZ company.
Second, employees of an agency that doesn’t deal with a variety of clients lose valuable perspectives, best practices, and the tremendous overall wealth of knowledge that comes with staffing multiple clients across diverse industries. Our goal should be to work as a partner with our clients, helping to make each and every one of them better. We can only do that well if we know what we are doing, and working with many clients expands that knowledge base quickly.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, if you are the only client doing business with an agency, what does that say about the agency? It means they are most likely incompetent, possess poor sales capacities, or both. And if that is indeed the case, how good of a job are they really doing for you?