Sales and customer service have an opportunity for symbiosis that is often not utilized. This failure often arises from a lack of communication or infighting. Setting up communication channels between sales and customer service helps prevent inter-company resentment and sets positive customer experience as the shared team goal.
Our firm recently experienced the poor customer experience that comes when sales and customer service are not trying to work in each other's best interest.
Our office manager, Cheri, was alerted to a problem with our website. Cheri called our hosting company's account manager who transferred her to customer service's technical support. Cheri was assured it was a simple fix.
After a short wait for technical support, Cheri relayed the problem. Customer service attempted a few fixes to no avail. Customer service then told Cheri that the problem was due to an external issue that was not supported without a higher service tier and that our account would need to be upgraded. Customer service transferred Cheri back to sales.
Sales looked at the issue and said that customer service was wrong as the item in question was their service and fell within our current agreement. Cheri was then returned to the customer service agent that told her, "the sales rep doesn't understand the technology", and told her that she needed to speak to him again to get the issue resolved before further support could be offered.
Not wanting to be bounced back and forth further with conflicting information, Cheri worked with our web developer to circumvent the problem rather than correct the host's issue.
Keeping customers happy is a team effort for sales and customer service professionals. If the sales team and customer service teams establish open lines of communication, they can share valuable information that will help them keep customer satisfaction high.
Sales people should alert the customer care team about new clients or changes to client delivery including suggestions on how to serve that client most effectively. This should happen proactively, independent of a problem, but is essential if a client raises a problem and the issue is actively under the process of being resolved.
In return, customer service professionals should keep the sales team aware of what aspects of the product or service are most helpful to customers and used most often. If problems arise in the account, the customer service team should have a process to alert the sales reps on complaints, intended resolutions, broken customer commitments, or termination of contracts or services.
Most importantly sales and customer service should work behind the scenes so that customers are not subjected to internal problem solving, or worse infighting. That just exacerbates the problem that the client experienced in the first place.
Sales and customer service need to have one another's back and present a cohesive experience to clients. Any internal friction or communication needs should be dealt with directly, efficiently, and behind the scenes.
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