I think recruiting software deserves a little more attention to support and the help than most software. Many recruiters using commercially developed recruitment software are using it all day long. In fact, they never leave it except for lunch, coffee breaks and naps. Other software applications are come and go like drive by’s. However, even if it is “drive by” software the customer can still have a serious problem that demands fast customer support. I am only trying to point out that continuous use software should have a more in depth and responsive support program. The continuous use customer naturally has more dire problems when the continuous use software is failing vs. “drive by” software.
Several things we consider when looking at recruiting software support are:
- How quickly can the customer reach someone?
- How much knowledge does the support person have of the recruiting software and of the recruiting industry?
- How much empathy does the support person have for the recruiter’s problem?
- How much confidence does the recruiter have after the support call?
- How much time has elapsed between problem and resolution?
- How many people did the recruiter with the problem have to talk to before the problem was resolved?
- Is there a quality check initiative in the customer support program?
I am not going to say too much about the above when it applies to both “drive by’s” and “continuous use software” but I will rant and rave about industry knowledge, empathy and confidence.
How quickly can the customer reach someone?
I think a good standard response time is about 4 business hours for the recruiting industry. If the problem is “The recruiting software is down and I am going to lose my family, house and eldest child.” than the response should be immediate. I also think it is a good idea for the recruiting software vendor to “put his/her money where his/her mouth is”. If response is not made within 4 business hours the customer should receive some kind of monetary credit. I do not believe that a recruiter who depends on the recruiting software for his/her livelihood can trust the words without some sort of monetary penalty if the support is not available in time.
Notice that I have not asked you to consider whether or not you get a live person on the phone. This comes up often at our firm. I believe there is a problem with live coverage. Have you ever called your health insurance carrier, phone company, federal government or Dell? Chances are that you may get a live person after much patience and you have pressed all the correct buttons as directed by the prompts. The person you have reached is clueless. He/she can’t help you but may direct you to someone who can. I would much prefer to dial a number and leave a message regarding my problem and have the confidence and comfort that someone will call me back within 4 hours that can actually solve my problem.
How much knowledge does the support person have of the recruiting software and of the recruiting industry?
This is a “biggie” for recruiting software. I absolutely hate calling someone like Dell or EarthLink and getting transferred to someone in India who answers with a robot like voice and gives me scripted answers to scripted questions. I feel that recruiting software problems are more dynamic, complex and derive more from humanity than pre-programmed responses.
I cannot believe that any recruiting software vendor can be proud of, or even claim to have, a support program if the support person has not been thoroughly schooled in the profession of recruiting. Unfortunately, I have to admit that our company can do much better in this area. I am seriously considering have all support people who have contact with recruiting customers spend one month with one of our recruiting customers as a trainee. I just cannot figure out how to absorb the time and money to follow through with this.
How much empathy does the support person have for the recruiter’s problem?
This has happened to all of us. You make the call to get help and you actually get your answer but you are still troubled, confused and you wish you could have talked to someone who had more empathy for your rather human problem.
Recruiters are getting beat up all day by clients, and applicants and other recruiters. When they make a call for help they usually need a shoulder to cry on and sometimes patience because they are angry, frustrated and even scared. Empathy is an absolute must from any customer support person.
How much confidence does the recruiter have after the support call?
Like I said above, supporting a person whose very livelihood depends on the functioning of recruiting software is more than simply answering questions. This person must have confidence in the software. All software has bugs and does not always work the way we wish. The support group has the challenge of helping the recruiter be a better recruiter rather than fix the bug. In fact, if the recruiter walks away happy and with more confidence of our support and the bugs remain unfixed than the support person has done their job.
How much time has elapsed between problem and resolution?
Don’t know, but the customer must know that they are not being ignored or treated from a pre-written script.
How many people did the recruiter with the problem have to talk to before the problem was resolved?
It is really nice to say “you will always get a real person on the phone when you call”. Call me weird but if I have to go through “phone button hell” and then have a real person who “records the incident”, please shoot me!
Is there a quality check initiative the customer support program?
If the recruiting software vendor does not have a continuous program to ask candid questions about “how we are doing” and is willing to publish them then the vendor does not have a good support program.