It’s hard to believe I just had my 18th anniversary at Personify and seven years in my current position overseeing our RPO client relationships. So much has changed for me, our delivery team, and for our customer relationships (partnerships) in the time that’s passed.
Personify launched our RPO division in 2009. A key client, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, was poised to relocate and expand its HQ. The expansion would drive their hiring needs from a few dozen to a few hundred annually. We previously serviced the client as a traditional third-party search firm, contingent and retained searches. For years and we built and strengthened the relationship to the point it opened the door for a turnkey RPO offering. While working in a contingent fashion we had to “sing for our supper” every day to deliver quality talent and a worthy customer experience. That attitude carried over into the then new RPO offering. The customer truly was ALWAYS right and if they wanted something, we always did everything we could to deliver.
As we launched our RPO Division, we positioned Personify as scalable, customizable, and agile based on our client’s needs which often, differentiated us from our competition. As we grew, we honed our craft, improved our RPO delivery, diversified our client base beyond healthcare into manufacturing, industrial products, and high tech, and eventually earned Baker’s Dozen status. As our client base became transitioned to “lean” manufacturing, we evolved right along with them. As time went by, we focused more and more on standard work, recruitment metrics, and delivering against customer objectives by continually focusing on KPIs.
Jeff Bezos speaks of being “customer obsessed” and even though Personify doesn’t generate $300B in revenue, our value is tied to that exact sentiment. We’ve never lost the “sing for your supper” mentality where we do our best to always deliver value for the customer based on what she/he wants. While our business has grown and our delivery model has improved through years of refinement and optimization, we have never forgotten, and we will never forget, that we exist to serve our customers. Without them, we are nothing. The value of that outlook moves well beyond qualifiable client partnerships.
Where does this history lesson of the Personify customer experience leave us?
It is a well-known adage that it costs an organization 5x more to acquire new business than it does to keep existing business. An Invesp survey found that 44% of companies focus more time on new business acquisition than on retention even while Marketing Metrics tells us that selling to a current customer is 70% more productive than non-customers. When your customers don’t just know but feel your dedication to delivering for them it helps build the bonds that cement relationships in place.
Feedback I get daily from our current clients validates this idea. It feels much better to customers when we, as an RPO provider ask ourselves “how can we make this work” instead of saying “why this won’t work” when a client has a request. If it won’t damage our business at Personify then let’s figure out how to deliver for our partner. Period.
To be a successful partner as an RPO you cannot hang your hat on filling jobs faster, delivering better retention rates, or generating savings. Those are table stakes for an RPO provider. Forgetting the “customer obsessed” mindset can, and will, render KPIs moot. Viewing every customer conversation with empathy, being flexible to their needs, seeing issues beyond the horizon, and continuing to focus on what you can do to help them balances the scales and drives longer and better customer relationships. I’m proud to say our longest tenured RPO client, a multi-billion-dollar organization, is in its tenth year with Personify and our newest Our newest client partner is led by people who have worked with us in three different organizations. The combination of metrics and relationships is the reason why. We call it, “singing for our supper,” and we are happy to do it.
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