There is a popular opinion in the business world that customer service in sales is a myth. We at Helpy think that this statement is misleading because they really represent two sides of the same coin, which ultimately boils down to customer experience. Therefore, the coexistence of customer service and sales guarantees success in both departments. Without superb customer service, you cannot close a deal. On the other hand, without a sale it would be impossible to continue building long-lasting relationships with your customers.
Only complete cooperation between these two departments can lead to memorable customer conversations, which can further help you build a community of true brand ambassadors. Positive word-of-mouth is a winning marketing technique regardless of which phase of evolution our industry may be in. Additionally, when you consider that 68% of customers would switch companies due to poor customer experience, you will want to ensure that all of your interactions are positive.
On the chart above you can see that your customer retention rate may suffer more because of low-quality service than a product failure! Yes, customer experience nowadays is that valuable! In the age of market saturation, it is no wonder that customer experience gets highly competitive. Many companies have recognized this trend and have focused their business strategy on deploying tools that will help them deliver exceptional customer journeys.
Moreover, companies that cherish customer-centric business models are 60% more profitable than their competitors who don’t. This number means they have a huge competitive advantage, right? Unfortunately, customer horror stories are also possible in these cases and you may end up dealing with an angry customer. This unappealing scenario may happen due to a product failure, a rep’s mistake, or it can be the result of your customer’s non-related troubles. In any case, you need to be able to handle these kinds of situations and acquire or save a customer no matter what. At the end of the day, they are your customer and they help to keep your business machine humming!
Let’s see how you can convert your customer service to sales and keep purchase numbers high!
1.Educate your customer service team on the sales process
Your customer service and sales teams should work closely together to set customer expectations. Sales pitches won’t work if support is weak, and vice versa. This is especially true when a salesperson encounters a lot of resistance or even customer aversion to your product or service use. A customer may become hostile due to a price hike or because your newest product has not yielded results as promised.
In any of these two cases, your salesperson and customer service rep should collaborate and provide support or relevant product information to redefine your customer‘s expectations and win them every time. If your employees don’t work together you risk having a completely misaligned customer communication, resulting in a churn rate that keeps growing. However, if they are on the same page, they can remove all roadblocks on a customer’s journey to help grow your customer base even more!
2. Sales department should nurture customer relationships too
Customer service in sales? Yes, indeed! Salespeople only engaging with customers during the sales cycle is a thing of the past! Of course, they are still responsible for starting a conversation with a potential customer and closing a deal. However, a successful company also trains their sales stuff to nurture friendly conversations and provide post-sale support too. This will help to build unbreakable customer relationships. That being said, let’s not get confused. Support in terms of a product or service that can help your customers solve their problems and reach their goals is still the job of a customer rep. The salesperson is only there to contribute to this helpful interaction by building another touchpoint between a customer and your brand.
They should create an image of a person your customers want to talk to via your support channels or social media. Obviously nobody wants to talk to someone who is constantly trying to squeeze more money out of their pockets. And emotional connection is critical to building a long-term relationship with your customers. A Harvard study revealed that customers with an emotional bond to a brand are twice as likely to become loyal customers compared to the customers who just expressed satisfaction with a service or product delivery.
3. Encourage support reps to cross-sell and upsell
Are you under the assumption that you can’t turn customer service into a sale? Well, if you use the right tools, even your customer support reps can help upsell and cross-sell your products! Support reps are the employees who talk to customers the most. They are familiar with almost all details of a customer lifecycle, which makes them the biggest source of customer behavior intel. They can form a winning approach to further enhance your customer’s life by offering the right product at the right time.
They have a unique ability to spot the key moments in a customer journey when an upsell or cross-sell option may sound appealing. In this way, support reps can make a strong case for another purchase. After they identify the sales opportunity, the only thing left is to inform your salesperson that it is time to close another deal! Timing is crucial to the success of an additional sale! When you’re aware of your customer’s needs you won’t come across as pushy and risk losing him or her.
You’ll also double down on the trustworthiness of your brand. In fact, you will be perceived as kind and helpful because you provide things relevant to them at the moment!
4. Provide instructions on data exchange
Having a clear overview of all customer interactions, preferences, and relevant personal details is a competitive advantage! You can’t sell or provide support for a client if you know nothing about them, right? The process of customer data collection used to include a massive amount of paperwork, which made building customer relationships extremely slow and inefficient. Today, customer support technology is at the core of effective customer data collection!
With an easy to navigate CRM platform, all your authorized team members can easily access your customer profiles and histories to learn about their needs and keep track of thei replies to salespeople and support reps. Can you imagine how much money and time you could save by incorporating a transparent administrative practice such as this one?
Moreover, it is not only easy for your employees! You can also oversee all their work, track customer satisfaction and trace team problems on an easy-to-navigate interface! The beauty of a CRM platform is that you can authorize or restrict access to customer profiles based on the company roles. You can also send notifications to push your reps to work harder to deliver superb customer experiences!
Now both your sales and support reps can gain an insight into what is going on with a current customer and start a new conversation without worrying about interrupting anything.
5. Align the growth of the teams
In a time when an investment in customer experience can double your revenue, it is surprising that companies are not putting enough effort into aligning two important points of a customer lifecycle: the sales and support. CEO’s often chase quick growth of sales numbers to satisfy investors. This strategy forces sales reps to close profit-oriented deals that can lead to dissatisfied customers. Following this practice is a win for the sales team, but it quickly becomes a burden for support reps.
While they may be able to double their month over month customers or achieve other flashy financial results, the support staff suffer and their quality of service goes down. It’s not a surprise that this leads to a massive dissatisfaction among your support reps and your customers because reps don’t have enough resources to solve all customer issues in a timely manner. That is why it is extremely important to align the growth of your sales and support teams.
This cannot be achieved by looking at customer service KPIs such as First Response Time (FRT) because they won’t tell you how satisfied your customers are or how many of them you have lost this month. Instead, make sure to track the customer churn rate. If the number is extremely high, it is a warning to inspect your sales and support capacity immediately or you risk wasting a large amount of financial resources.
One survey showed that to recoup the cost of acquiring a new customer, the average SaaS company needs to keep a customer for 12 months! Now these short-term sales winnings don’t seem that appealing, do they?