If you’re like me, when you hear the phrase “customer service,” you automatically think of the poor people on the other end of the phone that strictly deal with angry customers. They’re the ones replying to the (honestly entertaining) comments on Wells Fargo’s Instagram pictures as well. Basically, they’re the ones that try to ease tense situations and get the customer and the company on good terms.
If you’re like me, you’re wrong! Customer service is a crucial part of selling any product or service. It extends so far beyond a phone line or an Instagram comment.
Customer Service Matters
Believe it or not: 42% of consumers switch brands because they are put off by rude or unhelpful staff. (New Voice)
Additionally, 73% of consumers say friendly service reps can make them fall in love with a brand. (RightNow)
To boil it down to the simplest terms: customer service is having the best interest for leads, prospects, and current or past clients. That’s right! It’s about your sales reps putting customers above themselves, above their wants and needs, and above their quotas!
If your sales reps can master putting the customer’s best interest above their own, they are already in the correct context of selling that enables customer service in the first place.
If they aren’t, it’s important to look at the big picture.
My Customer Service Story
I had my customer service “aha!” moment when I was a sales associate at the global corporate flagship of Ted Baker London. If there’s any industry where customer service is related directly to selling, it’s retail.
One of the most important things I learned while working at Ted was the importance of selling for the customers, and not for myself or my numbers. You may not believe me when I tell you that for the best salespeople, selling the right products to the right customers comes before commission. But it’s true.
This means a few things. The first is that I was the customer’s friend in the fitting room. To correlate this to a typical B2B sale: the fitting room is to retail as prospecting calls and meetings are to a standard B2B sale. Now, back to the fitting room. If I’m my client’s “friend” for the half hour they are trying on clothes, there are expectations that I must meet. For example, I need to give my opinion.
This is when the shocking statement I made earlier comes in. I was taught to only sell clothes that looked the best on clients, just as your sales team should sell the best fitting products to prospects.
This meant being honest and transparent with my clients. If a garment didn’t fit properly or just didn’t suit the client, it was my responsibility to be truthful. Even when it meant I was losing the sale of an item.
Stay tuned for my next blog post that will cover the why. I’ll go through the lessons I learned from the story above as well as why it’s important to have customer service integrated in your sales process.
Or, if you can’t wait, check out my eBook on Customer Service!