In many organizations, Sales departments and Customer Service departments are often treated as separate entities with distinct objectives: the Sales team does the legwork to get clients on board and in the door, while the Customer Service team maintains the client relationship by addressing the client's ongoing needs as they arise. Because of this, the two teams usually receive very different training and direction.
In today's marketplace, however, the distinction between Sales and Customer Service is becoming less pronounced, and the relationship between the two is becoming more reciprocal than ever thanks in large part to social media and the ever-growing prevalence of online customer reviews. In recent years, top-performing businesses have innovated ways to have their Sales and Customer Service departments collaborate and learn from one another with the goal of teaming up to capitalize on the strengths of each.
Why is collaboration between Sales and Customer Service a smart business move? Because...
Bad Customer Service Costs You Sales
Perhaps now more than ever, companies with poor customer service are doomed to lose out on sales. Every customer has access to a wide digital platform on which to air their grievances with your company and your customer service department. Online reviews, social media posts and comment sections, YouTube videos, and discussion forums like Reddit all provide dissatisfied customers with a means to vent their frustrations.
When a customer experiences unsatisfactory customer service, no matter which department it came from, you can assume that many prospective customers will learn about it. Research shows that social media plays a role in purchasing decisions for about 19% of consumers - and that number soars to 47% for the millennial age group. This means that even without a bad review going viral and becoming a PR nightmare, you could quietly lose any chance of closing a deal with potential customers whose impression of your business has been tainted.
Good Customer Service Drives Growth
Just as poor word-of-mouth and online reviews damage your ability to make sales, positive reviews and testimonials can go a long way to serve as social proof that you are worth doing business with - especially if the positive experience extends to before, during, and after the transaction.
Providing top-notch customer service is not just a defensive move; it can also be used as a unique strategy that sets you apart from the competition. Top-performing companies invest in excellent customer service with the goal of keeping customers who will share their positive experiences with their friends, family, and social media networks. Instead of treating customer service as a cost of doing business, treat it as an investment.
Good Customer Service Aids Sales Efforts
Customer service can be so much more than improving an individual customer's experience - it can also improve your company's overall communication and problem-solving strategies, increasing efficiency across the board for both your Sales and Customer Service teams. Instead of simply resolving each customer's inquiry, engage them to learn more about what’s important to them. This gives your team the opportunity to offer additional solutions.
With proper training, your Customer Service team can learn how to gather relevant customer data to share with the Sales team. This will allow one or both teams to effectively upsell or cross-sell products and services. An effective Customer Service team is your company's front line for listening to the problems and concerns of clients. With input from your Customer Service team, your Sales team can learn how to improve, ultimately resulting in increased sales.
Many companies continue to treat Customer Service as a cost of doing business, undervaluing and underappreciating the potential of the department to affect the bottom line. By viewing your Customer Service team as a revenue generator rather than a profit eater, you can tap into new business opportunities. The best way to start on this path is to realign the operations and goals of your Customer Service department so they are closer to that of your Sales department.