Staying close to clients

By Steve Nikols, CEO, Pay plus HR


The importance of building close relationships with clients shouldn’t be overlooked. With that relationship, you’re creating trust in your service, your advice, and yourself.

At Pay plus HR, it’s about providing the tools clients need, the processes we map out for them, timely responses, and accurate service.

As a service provider it’s a constant work in progress, but it’s all part of deeply knowing our clients and their needs. Depending on process frequency, we might speak on a weekly or even daily basis. The client then feels that you’ve got their back, from a support perspective.

Being a good listener is important. We sometimes find that a client’s lack of understanding or experience in payroll and HR prevents them getting their message across accurately, so we probe, ask the right questions, listen and understand their needs.

Most clients are very, very busy and don’t want to be caught up in something they don’t really understand. They expect that information from us as quickly and accurately as possible. It’s important for a valued relationship that we respond in a timely manner with confidence.

So understanding the intricacies of a business enables better service and a confident response.  The implementation process of any new client is building their profile, which lists anything we need to know about them, from awards to EBAs, plus the individual business’ idiosyncrasies – they like to do it this way, they like to be responded to in this manner.  This attention to detail is critical and probably where Pay plus HR is a bit different. We adapt to our clients, it’s not ‘one size fits all’.

To not have intimate client knowledge could have negative outcomes. Without that deep knowledge any provider would be second-guessing, which could impact their client’s operation, create a lot of additional work, and impact on client revenue.

Whereas knowing the client deeply allows us to pick up on situations, such as whether they’re on the right award or not, and provide feedback. If there’s a new manager, we can reflect on our history with their business and be consistent with advice, opinions and how they like to do things.

Our team are not only specialists in payroll – they are ‘human being experts’ too, with the capacity to build those close relationships.  This can be a challenge because, predominantly, people in payroll are introverts. We’ve had to stretch personality types to open up with their clients, build rapport, share more information.

Some people do this naturally, others need a little push. But when done well, the whole partnership dynamic shifts, from just another service provider, to becoming part of our client’s business, a trusted partner that understands who they’re talking to and what it’s all about.

For example, a client called recently, concerned that some members of his team weren’t taking lunch breaks and that it could potentially be costing him a lot of money. Our payroll expert checked the relevant awards and was able to advise that some of the client’s staff were entitle to a paid lunch break while others weren’t. Our quick response eased his anxiety and confirmed there was no issue.

In another example, a hospitality client thought they were paying above award, but due to the intricacies of the award we found they were actually underpaying. We corrected that quickly before media scrutiny, helping their business to rectify the problem and avoid reputational damage.

The fact is, it’s our job to know these details. And by staying close to our clients, we can ensure they achieve the best possible outcome, for their particular circumstances.

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