Sales and Customer Service: How to Overcome Love-Hate Relationships
There are dozens or even thousands of important topics on successful business out there, yet let’s focus on something that is really vital (and pain point) for every organization. More than often customers have not very pleasant buying experience due to the inconsistency of cooperation of the sales and customer service teams, and there are a number of clients who won’t repeat this experience once again. And we know that lost customer is hard to bring back, and therefore, your company suffers loss - in the reputation and the income.
In the ideal world, support and sales teams share trust and have collaborative relationships.To make it happen in real life, both camps should agree on the end goal - a positive customer experience. Once, the mutual target is known, there should be developed a productive partnership that in the end will turn into growing number of gains in the march towards the ultimate shared objective.
Now follows the question - Where to start? To place a good beginning, consider a new perspective on how both teams can improve customer acquisition and development process of long-lasting relationship. The alignment of sales and support team lies in the working with the same clients across both departments at the same time.
Problem: How to Engage Sales and Customer Service to Collaboration
To kick things off, let’s face the music, many organizations eager to increase their income and do this by accelerating their growth. These actions fall on the shoulders of the sales managers who do their best to close more deals. Thus, sometimes their (sales reps) jobs depend on the numbers they deliver to the company bank account, and as a result of the ongoing efforts, the sales team may incorporate less qualified opportunities for getting the desired target.
Yet, it is not the end of the story. There are many clients who turn to the customer service in order to get what they were promised, but both - clients and support reps are surprised: customers find out that what they want is impossible, and customer service figure out that the company offers new services (from the sales team promises to the customers).
All this creates ice between these departments. Sales and support start to ignore each other and avoid passing vital information or items. Besides, there is also a mutual finger pointing: sales accuse customer service of customer churn, and customer service blames sales for selling non-ens. Meantime, none of them think about their customer needs.
Alignment as a Key to Inhouse Success
Every journey of problem-solving starts with framing, so as the first step sales reps and support managers should look further beyond the stereotypes and cliches concerning their performance. Inefficient infrastructure may become a bottleneck to overall business development and burn a pile of money on poor customer experience.
A well-placed question uncovers insights and provokes new ways of looking at the world. It makes sense that both teams ask themselves a question - Are we aware of what does the specialty of sales/customer service require? The newly learned things will surprise the representatives of either department.
Sales managers may find out that support team knows how to talk to clients, figure out the main core of the issues they face, represent the company brand, compile documentation, and enable self-service. In their turn, the support team will understand the sales role in learning customers’ issues and specificity of internal workflow, aid in developing an ideal solution for each client, along with teaching others about the updates and enhance the transition.
In fact, to deliver an outstanding customer experience, sales and support service need to focus on measuring the delivery part and discard any biases against each other. Besides, sharing the same goals and being on the same page gradually facilitates the customer development process. Once those two (sometimes rivalry) camps start to collaborate, both teams will have trust, empathy, and understand that working together facilitates (and aids in the success of) achievement of the unified objective.
The sales and support alignment may require a kind of strategy (or at least few tactics to go live.) By crafting a sound strategy and taking a holistic approach to enhancing customer development. Moreover, if this initiative succeeds, the result will be seen in such points as
- each member of both teams get more confidence in the flow of interactions with leads and clients,
- the ideas can be developed and shared openly,
- the working atmosphere is amiable (and therefore, more productive),
- company culture is improving, and
- your customers are more satisfied dealing with your brand.
Value of Cross-Team Training
To solidify a vision of cooperation in the minds of sales and support managers, initiate regular cross-team training. Apart from improving communication and understanding, employees will see what challenges other company members have and learn more about the inside environment. This means when your employees understand the history and context, and sharing experiences will counter communication barriers.
Once every manager knows how the others work, you may drive in some changes to the business strategy - your organization will have enough energy to cope with the new tasks and help customers to achieve expected (and desired) results with your product or service.
Create time and structure to capture competing solutions to a problem in detail. Sounds like a nice idea, though when to do business and earn money then? This roadblock can be tackled by outlining some best practices in guidelines for sales and customer service teams. When these tips are in place and actually used, everyone seamlessly works with clients.
Remember, it’s not necessary to change a standard component. Company culture, team dynamic, workflows of sales and support have a direct impact on how your organization works with customers. Thus, all the mentioned above points can be customized in correspondence to clients’ requirements and expectations. The goal-oriented teams take and input information into CRM systems and view report dashboards for aligning to each other performance and deliver outstanding customer service.