February 16, 2012
The most important aspect of sales is getting the customer. The most important aspect of service is keeping the customer. Both impact the bottom line. Customer trust is essential to repeat business. But trust will erode if your customers hear one message from a sales representative and a different message from a customer service representative.As a salesperson, you need to have a good reputation not only with your customers, but also with everyone on the customer service team. This means that you need to communicate frequently and openly with customer service reps. This is especially important when promises have been made to the customer. Customer service representatives need to give ongoing feedback to members of the sales team. They can alert reps about the types of situations that increase customer complaints or enhance customer satisfaction. Employees in both departments experience the highest levels of customer contact in the company. The quality of communication between the two departments can significantly increase or decrease customer loyalty. There is nothing worse for a sales rep than a customer service rep denying a request that had been promised to the customer. There is nothing worse for a customer service rep than a customer making a demand that requires breaking the rules, only to find out that a sales rep assured him or her they could do it. There is nothing worse for the customer than to be caught in the middle between the promises of sales and the rules of customer service. Customer loyalty increases when employees in the sales and service departments present a united front to customers. Schedule a monthly meeting to open the lines of communication between sales and service. If it’s not possible for everyone to attend, assign a liaison from each department who can report on behalf of his or her team.
Sales topics should include special promotions being offered by sales, new customer profiles and any other sales activities that may impact the service department. Customer service topics should include frequent requests, trends in complaints and new policies that may impact sales. Customer retention is the lifeblood of any successful sales operation. It takes trust, and every salesperson needs to build trust with all employees in the organization if they want to keep their existing customers. Most importantly, open communication between the sales and customer service teams will give everyone the opportunity to do what’s best for the customer without compromising integrity.