PROFESSIONAL SERVICES RECRUITMENT - The best appointment you'll make

We've always done it this way

 21st Sep 2021

I love tech and convenience, if you can marry those two things up for me then I’m sold! 

Digitalisation is the modern way. So much of what used to be paper-based, and at times were also lengthy processes, can now be achieved by a few thumb movements and taps on a smartphone. Booking holidays, grocery shopping, online PT sessions and so much more. What were historically laborious life-admin tasks, such as changing energy supplier or opening a new bank account (more on that later), can now be done with relative ease from your sofa and without having to converse with someone.  

I even renewed my mortgage just before the first lockdown and the entire process was digital – very slick and convenient. What made this easier is the mortgage provider assigned someone to me to take me through the steps – they had thought about it from my perspective!  

In recruitment, we have seen candidates go through lengthy recruitment processes, compliance and onboarding procedures and start in new roles, all without having to leave the comfort of their own home and enabled, predominantly, by having an internet connection. In the past, these things could present all manner of logistical and scheduling issues.  

What has been made even more apparent throughout the pandemic, however, is that it’s the people (and their mindset) behind the digital processes that are as, if not more, important. Those industry leaders and everyday folk who excel in their roles, understand what customers need and want and install processes and tech that deliver. Simple right? 

Maybe not. I’m sure at some point in the recent past we’ve all experienced being on hold, with a recorded message telling us to go to the website for more info and that the business we are trying to call is receiving “a high number of calls due to the COVID-19 situation”, or we’ve been waiting for what seems like an eternity to be assigned an operator on a ‘chat’ function, only for it the ‘operator’ to be a series of automated/scripted responses………. and don’t get me started on trying to speak to someone, anyone, one single human being anywhere in the world, about where my missing parcel is!! 

When they work, these processes, such as the aforementioned mortgage renewal, are fantastic and undoubtedly will continue to have a massive part to play. They make certain aspects of our everyday life easier. But what about when they don’t work as they should, or they are a process that suits the company and is dressed up as being convenient for the customer? 

I’m sure most people would agree that going to a website to have a query answered is more convenient than spending 25 minutes on hold but what happens when the query can’t be answered via that method?  

Is there any substitute for being able to speak to someone in real-time?  

Recently at W&A we opened a new business bank account. We have a long-standing and strong relationship with one of Britain’s best-known banks, they’ve been good to us and vice-versa. When we enquired with them about opening a further account it was at the height of the pandemic and we were informed that again for some of the previously mentioned reasons, it might take 6-8 weeks for our new account to be opened. “6-8 weeks” I said incredulously, “that can’t be right?”- but it was. Importantly though we received good communications from a person, a living and breathing person from our bank to tell us about the ‘how’s and whys’ of the situation. Good customer service.  

So, we turned our attention to other banks and specifically to a couple of high profile, digital challenger banks who talk at length about their nimbleness, speed, quality of their tech, streamlined processes, modern way of banking etc etc.  

Both offered entirely remote and digital processes to set up the account, which of course involved uploading various compliance documents and background checks – all of which were easy for us as a customer.  

Likewise, both banks' processes were validated by facial recognition from a smartphone, giving account holders access and the like. Crucially however, for the first of the two digital banks, this process simply did not work on more than one device. Moreover, each time we tried we received an error message to tell us there had been an issue but no context as to why it had failed. Of course, there was a ‘Help’ function, but it didn’t answer or solve our particular issue – nor could we reach anyone at that specific stage in the process. After a few attempts, we pulled the plug and approached the second bank.  

And I have to say the digital process was seamless – easy to follow, well-constructed, good tech and quite simply, it worked!  

Needless to say, that is the bank we opened the new account with.  

The recruitment sector in general and we at W&A are on a digitalisation journey and the pandemic has accelerated this, hopefully for the long-term benefit of everyone, but what is always at the forefront of our mind is what do our customers need and want.  

Of course, our candidates and clients want slick, convenient processes that are user-friendly and sustainable but, at times, they just want to speak to us, as people who know them, to ask us questions that can’t be answered from a script or a bot.  

Digital processes are the modern way, but they must be underpinned by the right tech and backed up with nuanced customer service – that only humans can provide.  

To speak to W&A about how we can partner with you to help you secure the best talent, please contact Ross McQuarrie on 0131 225 8030 or  


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