When RPO Clients Aren’t Exactly Loyal: Best Practices for Earning and Keeping Business

As an RPO provider, you already know the client experience you provide is crucial to both retention rates as well as new business earnings. However, as an industry, RPO providers receive a Net Promoter® Score — a good barometer for satisfaction in the industry — of only 16%. A score that is well below the threshold for what a client might consider satisfactory service quality (for context, global NPS standards classify 50% NPS as excellent and 70% NPS as world-class).

Perhaps more concerning, this reflects client loyalty tendencies across the industry. A jarring 91% of HR services clients would consider leaving their existing provider if they were referred elsewhere by a personal or professional connection.

Think about that for a moment: that’s 9 out of 10 of your existing clients who would consider taking their business (and their money) to a competitor simply by receiving a referral.

This lack of allegiance presents RPO providers with an opportunity to differentiate on the service experience they provide — to exceed expectations and not just check the boxes. Where (and how) can your organization capitalize on these opportunities? Let’s break down a few proven strategies to improve the client experience and build loyalty.

Preventing Attrition and Increasing Retention

Service quality extends beyond how hardworking your team is or how much effort you’ve put into perfecting your business, what matters is how your clients perceive your service — the value they believe they’re getting in relation to cost of services.

If you want to keep your clients committed to working with you, you need to establish a service experience that provides them the reassurance a competing provider won’t offer up a more desirable experience. The first step in meeting your clients’ needs is taking the time to understand them. This is where a client feedback initiative becomes an invaluable resource for RPOs to get first-hand feedback from clients before being at risk of losing them over an unidentified service issue.

With a client feedback program (like a survey), you get the chance to gather honest, candid feedback from your clients about their expectations and how well you’re delivering on them. You can gauge:

  • The value you’re providing your clients — are they satisfied with your services?
  • The service quality they’re experiencing vs. the experience you think they’re experiencing
  • Any problems and/or challenges they’re facing
  • Any potential service issues they’ve experienced — where your opportunities for service recovery (save an at-risk client!)
  • A client’s likelihood to refer you to others

Not only does this feedback loop give you the chance to course-correct and improve on service issues before they escalate, it’s also shown to increase customer satisfaction significantly. According to our data1, firms that survey at least quarterly or after each engagement have a much higher NPS score (30% NPS and higher) versus those who survey only once or twice annually (NPS scores ranging from 8% to 13%).

The key takeaway from this data? Clients want to be heard and have a voice. They want to know you are listening and that their feedback is valued. In fact, 9 out of 10 HR service clients say it’s important to have an open line of communication with their HR providers1.

Amplifying Your Supporters

Another strategic advantage that comes with executing on a client survey initiative is being able to easily identify those clients who are your biggest advocates and willing to refer you or share their praises to others (labeled as ‘Promoters’ in the NPS® world).

Delivering top-notch service quality is important but receiving visibility into that service, especially on a public forum like an online review site or directory, is where your bottom line will see a substantial impact.

If you’ve identified a happy client, whether through a survey or through a positive comment from a client directly, capitalize on the opportunity to ask for a review or testimonial. Doing so can:

  • Attract and convert new business. Even with a referral, 63% of HR service industry buyers will still go online and look at reviews before working with a new firm1.
  • Improve search engine performance. Google loves reviews. Building up a strong collection of reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other review sites is only going to give you a stronger online presence.
  • Head off negative reviews. It’s much harder to combat any negative reviews you receive if you don’t have any positive reviews to balance it out. Don’t wait for that first negative review to hit a review site to start scrambling for reviews — make it a priority before it becomes a “reputation crisis”. Statistics show it takes 10 positive reviews to outweigh a negative review in the eyes of a potential client.

Don’t be intimidated to ask for reviews, either. Our data shows that 4 out of 5 HR services clients are willing to share a testimonial, but only 1 in four are actually asked to do so1.

Service Quality is the Path to Success (Not Cost of Services)

If you need more convincing that service quality should be at the heart of your strategic initiatives – HR services buyers rank service quality as the most important factor when choosing an RPO firm to work with, ranking higher than industry expertise and even cost. These purchasing influences further reinforce how persuasive compelling reviews and testimonials can be to validate the service experience you provide.

At the root of it all, if you prioritize your efforts into understanding, measuring, and leveraging the client experience at your organization, you’ll be well-positioned to not only foster more loyalty in your existing clients but stand out to prospective clients.

Interested in implementing a Net Promoter Score program at your firm?

ClearlyRated would love to help!

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