What’s the point of customer service? A cost centre with the sole goal of getting the customer off the line as quickly as possible?
Nope. Customer service is about customer success. It’s about creating and maintaining a sense of not just satisfaction, but happiness with your company’s service through nailing the correct solution. Doing that well means a customer service and sales alignment.
When you start thinking about it like that you realize that actually, far from being a gaping hole bleeding money, customer service is absolutely key to a company’s ultimate concern: revenue. No matter how flashy your marketing and convincing your salespeople, you’re not going to be able to dress up a poor customer experience and succeed in the long term.
Unhappy customers leave. And tell all their friends about what a bad experience they had.
But the customers you impress not only stick with you but talk you up to their peers. You can’t buy that kind of marketing.
The First Step to an Awesome Customer Experience: Align with Sales
Traditionally, and quite often still, a salesperson closes a deal, and that’s it. They’re gone: the customer passed along to customer service.
The book Marketing Metrics found that you’ve got a 60 to 70 per cent chance of selling to an existing customer, while you’ll only succeed with a new customer 5 to 20 per cent of the time. Certainly, you do need to find new customers in the first place, but why not also use your expert sellers where they’ll see greater success? That's what customer service and sales alignment is all about.
Certainly, customer service has the expertise needed to actually get the customer set up and supported, but does it really make sense to let that sales relationship go? Of course not.
A salesperson that engages with the customer repeatedly, if only occasionally, means you build that relationship. It takes some of the load off customer service as the department solely responsible for retaining the customer, and it allows the more naturally sales-oriented reps to revisit packages and investigate cross sells and up sells as appropriate. That’s revenue you’d otherwise forgo simply because nobody’s talking.
It also means that when a competitor’s salesperson comes knocking at your customer's door, they’re less inclined to hear their pitch. Through reliable salespeople and customer service dedicated to driving their success, they already trust you.
Sales is a Sneak Preview of the Customer
We’ve discussed how customers expect personalized experiences. They don’t want to feel like just another number on your spreadsheet, funnelled through to the next department while information falls away. They don’t want to express a concern to a salesperson and then find it unaddressed the first time they reach out to customer service.
Customer service can treat sales as a sneak preview of the customer. The sales rep will have learned a little about the customer and would have tailored their message to appeal to them. That information should make it to customer service. What about your company are they most confident about? Are they a little skeptical about anything? Did they explain a particular concern they absolutely need you to deliver on?
Get these details and act upon them before the customer even asks.
Send Some Information Back to Sales!
As you interact with your customers, you’ll learn about them too. You’ll be able to identify those customers that are good candidates for heading back to sales for new services. Not only that, but when you’ve got happy customers that are talking to their own contacts about your service, you may be able to glean leads to send back to sales — along with everything you know about them.
When you involve Marketing in this process, we call it the flywheel model. It’s a self-promoting cycle that adds a little momentum at each touchpoint. The three departments work together with the customer to continue to deliver and grow. Share information, build a personalized customer experience, dedicate yourself to your customer’s success, and always work on building trust through providing the right solution. Those are the ingredients for a strong, long, and fruitful relationship.
Need a Hand Aligning Sales and Customer Service?
If you need the real nitty gritty on bringing Sales and Customer Service together from an experienced team that’s proven the concept again and again, try us.
Flawless Inbound is a revenue growth agency specializing in helping B2B companies achieve marketing, sales, and customer service growth and success. We’ve helped more than 60 B2B organizations across Canada and the US and are always happy to meet for a quick advisory call.