It’s no secret that customer service and sales don’t always get along. Whether that’s because they’re often split into two different departments, or that communication between them isn’t as good as it could be, it is rare to find an organisation that has a seamless integration between pre-sales and after-sales support.
But the value of this relationship can’t be ignored, and when done right, it has the power to grow revenue, increase sales and expand market share. So where do organisations start in order to ensure the bridge between sales and customer service is effective, efficient and robust?
The importance of two-way data flow
In many businesses, the customer journey is seen as a line, where they get passed from pre-sales to customer service, depending on if there is any follow-up or ongoing assistance required. But this is a very ineffective process when it comes to the overall goal of an organisation – to grow and delight their customers.
It is much better to have both functions working in conjunction with each other, where they are able to communicate effectively both ways. Why? Because of the opportunity, it presents to both pre and post-sales to do their jobs better, and more efficiently.
Consider this: a customer service representative spends a majority of their day speaking to people who are already using their service or product. They will hear both the positive and negative aspects on a regular basis and will have valuable insight into what leaves customers either happy or unhappy. Of course, this could be vital information for sales representatives who are constantly looking to redefine their target market and to serve potential clients needs. But if there is no way for this feedback to be given to salespeople, how can they use it to their advantage?
How to build better internal customer service
The first step is to educate each team about the role the other plays in the business and to the type of work they do. This helps each team to realise and appreciate the work of the other and builds mutual respect between them. Ultimately, both teams are aiming towards the same goal: to help the organisation thrive in its marketplace.
A two-way data flow is not only a necessity in a business, it is a tool that, used effectively, can result in numerous beneficial outcomes, from having a cohesive team working in unification, to customers that feel taken care of and supported no matter where they are in their journey. In short, it makes for better internal customer service.
As noted in this article by Customer Experience Insights, it is crucial that everyone has the same definition of:
- A great customer experience,
- Customer expectations, and
- Successful customer interactions.
Having solidarity on the three points above will ensure both teams are on the same path and will help them to realise that every action they take is not necessarily about ‘doing their job’ but fulfilling the needs of each individual customer.
It’s important that management is completely on board too, and lead by example – so division leaders should regularly meet to discuss ideas, ensure processes are working, and resolve any issues that arise.
Why internal customers matter
Internal customer service is not just about respect, it is about understanding how one interaction can lead to a chain of events which can impact on a business in a variety of ways.
For example, if the sales team relies on technical support from the service division in order to win a new client, then there must be a level of cooperation and collaboration to earn the customer. On the flipside, support requires sales to set the correct expectations with new customers so they do not have to placate an unhappy customer who has been misled about a product or service.
The value of exceptional service
Great customer service should be a key strategy to differentiate your business and retain clients. Why? Because it will result in customer loyalty, and in today’s competitive marketplace, that equates to value.
“One of the most effective ways to grow leads and sales is through referrals,” says Grant Holland, SalesStar CEO Australia and New Zealand. “If you haven’t got gathering referrals as part of your sales process, then you are missing out on a goldmine.
“But referrals only come when two things happen. First, the client has to have a fantastic experience that exceeds their expectation. Second, they must get significant or massive value out of your service, product or engagement. With these two conditions met, they can then be asked to share referrals. It’s why delivering fantastic customer service is so crucial for perpetuating and expanding your growth.”
Returning customers, and those who introduce their friends, family, colleagues and people they know to a business, are undoubtedly a huge win for any company. But this can only occur if they are given exceptional service from every part of the organisation. If they don’t feel valued, understood, or if their requirements aren’t met, it will be difficult to retain them as customers.
In order to do it right, organisations should rethink the relationship between their sales and customer service teams. Nurturing the relationship will lead to sales growth from repeat customers, greater business recommendations, and raving reviews about your company’s consistent and quality service.