Customer care can be easily forgotten when you start your search for a new Applicant Tracking System. You will no doubt have a list of thing you’d like to have (if not, we have a checklist for you!).

It may be that you are monitoring your applications via a spreadsheet and manually tracking them. It may be that you are responding to each email individually to acknowledge applications. It may be that you spend hours phoning around to schedule interviews only to lose track of who has accepted which timeslot. You want to solve the issues that are at the forefront of your mind and absorbing all your time. That’s only natural.

In amongst the many thoughts about technical specs, functionality, usability and platform integrations, did you spend much time considering the customer care you’d expect to receive from your ATS provider? With all the enhanced functionality in the world, you are unlikely to make the best use of the software if you are not well informed on how to best use it – or supported in solving the problems that you routinely face.

But before it’s too late and the handshakes have been done, what is the best way of evaluating the approach of the supplier to giving customer focussed support?


Read between the lines

Throughout the sales process – from enquiry, to phone calls and demos – all the way through to sealing the deal, how have they handled your concerns? Suppliers need to really take the time to understand your pain points in order to offer a solution that will truly stand the test of time. Are they interested in your problems, or interested in selling you their solutions?

Only a truly configurable system will be able to meet your exact needs. If they aren’t interested in finding out what those needs are – chances are they don’t have the system for you. If you’re finding that it’s a one way conversation, that your niche concerns aren’t taking centre stage and your biggest problems aren’t being solved then you’re on the way to a system that will soon become irksome. And you haven’t event started to sit on hold waiting for their support yet!

Choosing an ATS guide promotional banner

What happens post sale?

Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, that really friendly person you’ve been speaking to constantly for weeks – where do they go? And who are you speaking to next? Once you’re on the books, does the line suddenly go cold? Or do you have your own Implementation Consultant assigned to you – someone just as friendly as the first person? Someone that will take you through the process and be there for everything you need and the questions you may have.

It’s important to understand what the journey looks like before you sign up, as standard implementation process can be anything from 3 months to 6 months if you’re getting a product configured to your needs.


The system has launched! What now?

Getting an ATS in place is only the start of your interaction with your ATS provider. You’ll naturally have questions on the system even once you’re using it every day. You’ll have days where it seems everything isn’t going to plan and only urgent support will do. There will be system upgrades to understand and utilize. What then?

Do you have someone on the other end of the phone/email/instant messenger ready to help you? Are they able to solve your problems, or do they continually need to get back to you? Are they prompt and helpful, or are you chasing them up and not receiving a response?

Good support is invaluable, and once you have it you thank your lucky stars. For everyone else, they spend their time on the phone, on hold, in a queue, ‘awaiting a resolution’. All the time you saved by implementing the system is now being absorbed in trying to problem solve it. Those nice people you met first time round have disappeared – and you’re left waiting for the next operator to give you some inefficient assistance.

There is no functionality in the world that makes up for poor support. Nothing so smooth, shiny and seemingly user friendly that you are happy to stare at it for hours trying to work out why you can’t get it to work. So, when you’re on your ATS selection journey, take a minute to pause and remember: customer support matters.

Further reading:

Choosing an ATS – 3 Key Considerations

How to assess an ATS provider – Data Protection

How to get more from your ATS demos

About the author

Tristan Potter

From recruitment into central government, to financial services and the charitable sector, Leah has worked across many industries in her wide ranging career! Now working as Hireserve's Senior Marketing Executive, Leah covers all things marketing - from maintaining our social media channels to managing logistics for events across the country.