As a marketer, I’ve always been fascinated by the customer service experiences that I have as a consumer and the different methods used by companies to communicate with customers. I’ve had bad experiences and great ones and it was a very good experience yesterday that I would like to share as it provides some insight into how we can improve our candidate experience.
A little background. I’m traveling around Europe for the first two weeks in August and as such, I’ve been preparing for the trip over the last month getting a new passport and completing other important tasks. One of my to-dos was to alert my bank and credit cards of my trip so they don’t freeze my account thinking someone stole my card and is gallivanting across Europe.
I was able to set up a travel alert easily online for Bank of America but didn’t see an option to do so with my American Express credit card. And as such I decided to use Twitter to see how this was done.
So I wrote the tweet below:
@askamex I'm traveling abroad for 2 weeks and looking to put a travel alert on my credit card. What's the best way to do that?— Chris Brablc (@cbrablc) July 21, 2014
Here was the response from Lisa at American Express, which occurred within an hour of my initial tweet:
@cbrablc Hi there. Thanks for tweeting us. We made the process easier for you so no need to notify us each time that you travel.— Ask Amex (@AskAmex) July 21, 2014
@cbrablc If there are any concerns with a transaction, we may require that the Merchant contact us for approval.— Ask Amex (@AskAmex) July 21, 2014
@cbrablc Since you will be traveling more than 100 miles from your home remember, your card offers Global Assist— Ask Amex (@AskAmex) July 21, 2014
@cbrablc We value and appreciate your membership. Keep us in mind if you have other questions while traveling! Enjoy your day. ^Lisa— Ask Amex (@AskAmex) July 21, 2014
It’s a great response right!!!? Not only does it answer my question but it provides more information that could prove valuable for my trip. Overall, as a consumer, it was a great experience and one that I’ll remember as I continue my relationship with American Express.
But how does this tie in to the candidate experience and what we can do to better engage with candidates for our career opportunities?
The experience above is what we have come to expect from customer service organizations and when we don’t receive it, our perception of that company is greatly diminished. Slowly but surely this is becoming the case for the candidate experience. But the bar is lower, leaving much more room to improve and meet candidate expectations.
So as we improve our candidate experience what should we take from American Express’s customer service team? Here are a few important trends:
Response Time in Minutes or Hours Not Days: When a candidate asks a question, how do you measure your response time? Is it in minutes and hours or in days? Customer service organizations today focus on getting back as soon as possible to customers and the better we can do that from a recruitment marketing perspective, the better our experience will be perceived.
That is to assume that you advertise channels on your Career Site for candidates to ask questions about your process whether it’s via email, online chat or social media. In each case, it’s integral that you consistently monitor and respond in real-time to these inquiries.
The goal should be to get back in the first hour as I saw when reaching out to American Express.
Provide Value Add Information: The first goal of any response to a candidate is to ensure you answer their question in full. If you don’t do that then you risk alienating the candidate.
But there’s a greater marketing opportunity here as well. Any question from a candidate provides a chance to provide extra value to the candidate. Whether it’s pointing to employee stories and videos, social channels to follow and/or your Career Site where you provide information on your hiring process.
As you saw in the tweets, Lisa pointed out benefits I receive as a member of American Express that I was not aware of. And while I may not use them, it’s good to know they are there should I need them.
Make Personal: Whether your communications are automated through technology or responses from team members, always make sure to make them as personal as possible. Always remember that while we as an industry can think about recruiting in transactional terms at times, to the candidate it’s a very personal experience. The more candidates feel like they are dealing with real people, the better their experience will be.
I really like how American Express has their customer service reps put their name at the end of the Twitter responses is a great touch. Thanks Lisa for your help!
Candidate perception and expectations for finding and applying for jobs is still relatively low but is raising every day. And organizations are already starting to improve the level of service they provide in the process with IM Chat, better messaging and expectation setting on their Career Site, social recruiting and more streamlined apply processes. But we aren’t quite there yet as an industry and it represents one of the better opportunities out there to stand out as an organization to qualified candidates looking to further their careers.