Sales and Customer Service – The Missing Link

sales-customer-serviceThe importance of customer service in regards to successful and repeated sales is obvious. Good customer service encourages repeat business, customer loyalty, and has happy customers spreading the word about your company. Bad customer service can crush sales. Here are two quick scenarios that prove this point, and should help us sales professionals appreciate the importance of including customer service into our sales training.

Sales Scenario 1: Popular furniture store sells me bunk beds for my kids. Salesman was professional, knowledgeable, and worked hard to close the deal immediately. When I had a minor issue with the bed a few weeks later I called customer service. My first surprise was that customer service was not open on the weekends, even though sales was. When I called during the “regular” business hours, the customer service representative was defensive and lacked any enthusiasm. She had no spirit of “helpfulness,” that I would expect for someone in her position. What kind of effect did this have on me? Well, I need additional furniture, but I’ll be checking out the competition. That’s a huge impact!

Sales Scenario 2: Popular phone company provides my home multiple services. The price and convenience are great. However, customer service is also not open on the weekends. When I was able to get through to them after being on hold for 15 minutes, the service representative was condescending and presumptuous. More surprisingly was when I asked about a component that I thought was covered under my service agreement, I was told I had to purchase the item. There was no empathy or appreciation for my inconvenience. That said, it was no big deal. I was about to pull out my credit card when she suggested I could purchase the item cheaper at a different store. Although I appreciated the tip, I was stunned that this woman, who cared so little about her job, still had one. An easy sale was lost, and my distaste for this company has grown. What will I do the next time the competition offers me the same services.

Had these companies understood the critical link between sales and customer service, they would respond in ways that complete and complement the sales process. I would have recommended friends and family to these companies, and gone back for more – that’s huge!

The point to all this is that customer service plays a key role for repeated, successful selling. No sales techniques or tips can help if customer service can’t support the sales team. A lot of accolades are given to sales teams that hit their quotas, as is right. However, whether a one man show, part of a small sales team, or a large corporation, successful selling relies upon a support system that understands the goals and vision of sales.

What do you think? How important is customer service to sustainable sales?

By Theo/DH

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