Have you ever had a negative experience as a customer? It sticks in your mind doesn’t it, poor customer service can ruin your day and put you off a company forever. Therefore getting customer service right is absolutely crucial for every sales business.
What’s the best way to instill a culture of good customer service at your company? By fostering an atmosphere of open-mindedness, dependability and attentiveness. You can achieve this by learning from the best practices of the sales industry and adapting them to customer care.
Using customer service selling skills
Mixing sales and service? Absolutely as both aspects of the business cycle are interdependent so it makes sense to identify the winning aspects of one area and adapt them for another. Your mentality should be to constantly sell your company and its product to the customer via excellent customer care long after their initial purchase.
Loyal customers mean guaranteed revenue so it is absolutely crucial to get customer service right. The ways to achieve this take many forms including the physical, online and psychological. Let’s take a look at using sales skills in customer service.
Understanding body language
Most people decide to buy a product based on their emotions. This same can be applied to customer service, customers will often remain loyal based on emotional impulse as much as financial interest. In person facing companies you have to ensure your employees understand body language to establish and maintain emotional connections.
Mirror your customer’s language and tone to establish a connection. This goes beyond being just friendly, if the customer is stressed or upset you should express empathy. Maintain eye contact, smile and stand up straight.
It might sound simplistic but there’s a reason business gurus talk about body language; It works. Sales people know the value of confident and positive body language, customer service employees would do well to adopt this attitude.
Tone is one of the most important aspects of customer service today. This is because most customer service is now carried out online via emails and messaging boards. In this environment your tone matters as much as your vocabulary.
Consider this example; A customer writes to you irate about a missing product, they’re extremely unhappy and behaving rudely. You cannot get angry in response but being direct could come across as sarcastic. If you act authoritatively but empathetically however, and subsequently resolve the issue, the customer will respect you and more than likely continue their patronage.
This is about emotion as much as info. If the customer feels they’re respected and that you’re listening to you, you can calm them down.
This requires a degree of creativity and attentiveness. Continuity of tone between your LDRs and SDRs is a good way to implement a positive tone system through your sales chain. Research the tone each customer responds well to and maintain that tone throughout your relationship.
Determination and remaining calm
Keep calm and carry on was the British government’s mantra during WWII and it applies to customer service as well. As one must keep calm and focused during a tense or difficult sales meeting, one must also exercise patience in customer service. This goes far beyond encounters with angry customers.
There are many ways one can practice keeping their cool be they breathing exercises, meditation or mindfulness. Practice scenarios in your head too to prepare for surprises and those crucial decision making moments. Perhaps one day a major customer will tell you they want to leave, what will you do? How will you respond?
Plan for as many scenarios as you can in advance as one would plan for potential clients in sales, and keep your cool. With the right mindset you can weather any situation. This applies especially to people working in sales solo.
As Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius said – ‘Be like the cliff against which the waves continually break but stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.”
Keeping customer service employees motivated can be difficult, especially compared to a sales team. Sales people often work for commissions or other incentives whereas customer service agents tend to have lower wages and more rigid contacts. So how do you motivate them to be attentive to their work?
Fostering a positive and rewarding work environment will go a long way to improving attentiveness. Offering perks like free corporate training and work related education goes a long way to improving motivation. According to one study 66% of employees would remain at their company if it offered good benefits.
You can also adapt the commission systems frequently used by sales teams and tweak it to suit customer service. A commission can be awarded for every customer retained over a certain period. Give a bonus for retaining a customer who was set on cancelling their plan. This rewards dependability and fosters team initiative.
Anyone working in sales will tell you that no customer is the same. No customer’s needs are the same but a lot of companies make the mistake of not offering tailor made customer service.
Customer service employees can learn from their sales colleagues by utilizing their adaptability and creating tailmore made experiences for their customers. Over 60% of customers change their contact methods frequently, why should the customer service be the same for every communication channel?
Good customer service agents require a great degree of mental flexibility to respond to a variety of situations. Keep their intellectual agility going by rewarding creative solutions and suggestions made by your team to improve your efficiency.
Aptitude is important but without attitude nobody gets anywhere. Sales professionals and customer service employees alike succeed the most when they maintain a positive, problem-solving attitude.
When salespeople are good at problem solving they can take a big picture view of the sales process. They can plan for new customers to higher levels of detail and pre-empt any problems that may arise. If they’re poor at problem solving they won’t apply novel solutions to problems and may avoid issues altogether.
The same applies to customer service agents. By utilizing and improving problem solving skills they can use a preventative strategy and predict where issues may arise with some customers. A positive problem-solving attitude will also help customer service employees to identify opportunities to boost your company’s relationship with customers by offering additional perks and products.
To sum up
Close cooperation should be forged between people and departments working at all stages of the sales pipeline. This shares ideas quickly, improves employee morale via increased fraternisation and vastly improves efficiency at all levels. Always consider that if something works for one department why wouldn’t it work for another?
Keep an eye on the Revenue Grid blog as we continue to expand our range of articles on sales and other areas of business. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our social media pages to stay informed of our latest developments.