It has been customary for businesses to keep sales and customer service in different departments. Each has a different manager, team members, and even different goals all driving towards to making profits for the company. It was traditional thinking that the sales team brings customers in while the customer service team retains them. While the different departments work toward one goal - making money for the company - they ultimately have different methods, often contrasting each other. For the longest time, this concept has been accepted and many believed it worked.
Experts are now saying this shouldn't be the case. Brad Cleveland, president and CEO of Incoming Call Management Institute, a worldwide organization dedicated to advancing the call center profession, emphasizes the importance of sales and customer service integration. If a company has separate groups for sales and services that report to different teams and have different goals or objectives, Cleveland recommends dismantling those divisions and integrate service and sales capabilities.
Customer Service + Sales = Positive Customer Experience
When a customer buys a product or service from your company, he also purchases the experience that goes with buying it. An experience is a whole process of deriving a benefit from the product. And no two separate departments can accomplish that experience alone. Sales cannot provide this experience - it can start the experience, yes. Customer service cannot provide this experience if it cannot offer products that solve problems and cultivate better experiences.
An example of this explanation is how Verizon trains its customer service associates. Verizon trains its customer service agents how to solve problems but also acquaints them on how to provide the ultimate experience a customer can benefit from their services by offering value-added solutions. If a customer calls in complaining about charges on their bill, a customer service agent doesn't immediately process a refund or simply give the customer a breakdown of their charges, he would analyze the customer's plan and usage and recommend a better alternative to keep costs down for the customer. If the customer would benefit from a higher plan with broader coverage, this doesn't only keep the customer satisfied, it will also factor in the sales department.
The key here is being able to solve customer problems about your service or product and being able to offer value-added solutions that are both win-win for your company and customer.
Fill a Need + Provide a Benefit = Profit
No matter how much we drive for the integration of sales and service in a company, it wouldn't even have much importance if the goal of the company is misplaced in the first place.
If the goal of a company is to make money FIRST, customers will always feel this. It will always break down to making profits without making quality products or providing efficient services. Customers will know they are not a priority. Or even providing products or services isn't the priority.
When a company's goal or objective is to fill a need for consumers or provide a benefit by using their service or product, the money will eventually come. When you have this goal to fulfill an underlying need for a better experience, this will trickle down to your company's organization.
Your passion will be imbibed within your organization. In fact, hiring the right people, the same ones that are willing to subscribe to your company's purpose will make it easier for departments to run. They just need to share the same values you set for your organization.
Customer Service AND Sales ALWAYS: Not a Competition but an Integration
With the same values being the driving force between service and sales, the overall result would always be a POSITIVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. Your goal is the same. Your message is the same. The outcome will be the same. When you not only work together but also share the values and goals of the company, it will provide the best outcome - quality products and service, customer loyalty and ultimately, the goal companies aim for in reality: profit.
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