Every year, businesses lose billions of dollars in sales due to bad customer service. In 2016, a survey from NewVoiceMedia quantified the amount of money lost that year by US businesses at roughly $62 billion.
That number accounts only for customers who decided to switch providers directly because of poor customer service. But the real number is even higher:
If you quantify those factors, the number easily rises to the 100s of billions.
These numbers shouldn’t surprise us. Most of us can tell at least a few stories of times when we received such terrible customer service that we vowed never to do business with that company again and told all our friends to do the same. You may also know a few brands or companies you don’t do business with because people you trust have had bad experiences with them.
The problem compounds.
We all know this problem exists, but in the sales industry too often it is seen as a “customer service problem,” a silo apart from our own part of the organization.
This is a mistake.
The buyers’ experience during the sales process impacts whether they make the purchase, how much they spend, and how long they stay with us. Additionally, customer service after the sales process impacts whether they continue to buy more or to upgrade or expand their purchases. It also impacts whether they send you referrals that can turn into additional revenue.
The sales department should care a great deal about customer service.
To get a handle on how organizations can improve customer service and thereby improve sales, it’s helpful to think of customer service in two buckets:
During the sales process, the most important thing is to focus on understanding your buyers, their initiatives, (all) the stakeholders, their decision-making process, and train your people with the right set of tools and skills to provide guidance and value. Your salespeople should have the mindset of being helpful and first guide prospects to become buyers, then to make a decision. Their focus should not be to ‘sell’ per se, albeit that will be the outcome if they are speaking to the right audience and doing a good job. So, in a sense, they’re providing a service.
When salespeople, the process, and the tools they use are focused on serving the customers and helping them get what they need from the process, good customer service is a natural result. Customers will feel seen and heard and you will build the trust upon which you can build a long-term business relationship.
Membrain helps with this by providing the enablement structure to guide salespeople through the sales process, ensuring consistency across the organization and reinforcing customer-friendly behaviors. It also enables hand-off between sales and customer service, further smoothing the customer journey and providing a cohesive experience. The visualized workflows also provide marketing with a vehicle to share the right content at the right time.
It’s a mistake to think that the sales process “ends” and that the sales team can wash their hands of a deal as soon as it’s closed. Instead, organizations should focus on how they can extend the relationship of the sales team with the customer. By remaining in a relationship with the customer in a structured way, the sales team improves trust by demonstrating that they care about the individuals beyond the sale. A structured post-sale process also opens opportunities for the customer to buy additional products and services from you after the initial purchase.
Likewise, the customer service team can become an extension of the sales team by managing a sales-friendly process after the initial sale. Both departments should be focused on the success of the customer. This explains why customer support departments are renaming themselves to “Customer Success” departments, with a more proactive mission than just to "support" customers.
Once again, Membrain provides a unique capability to support and enable this customer-friendly approach by allowing clients to build their post-sales process right into the CRM to guide salespeople and customer service professionals through the customer-focused process.
Also, all the information that is gathered during the sales process migrates automatically to the customer service process, ensuring a cohesive experience for the customer, and enabling the customer service team to become a true customer success team, focused on delivering the promises made during the sales process.
At Membrain, our entire focus has always been our own customers’ success. We built and update our platform to make it easy to implement all the best practices for high performing sales teams, in one beautiful platform. We’re currently working on a new module to be released later this year that will make it even easier to grow with your customers and provide excellent end-to-end service to customers.
Do you want to make HOW you sell a competitive differentiator? Great - let’s speak!
George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills and processes.