5 Best Practices to Align Your Sales and Customer Service Experience

Best Practices to Align Sals and Customer Service Experience

Gone are the days when sales leaders and their reps needed to focus solely on closing the big deal and hitting their numbers. Today the focus is on delivering an excellent customer experience across all touchpoints that aligns with the consumer’s pain points, your company’s values and how you can help the customer by providing the solution they need.

Consumers expect better, and more personalized, customer service, but most businesses haven’t entirely caught up with them. Pay close attention to the customer service experience — and invest in its ongoing improvement — and your company will likely see a boost in revenue and a better sales performance from everyone.

Best Practice #1: Work on Tearing Down Silos within Your Company

It’s critical that the customer receive a consistent image of your company from the multiple associates with whom they may be interacting. But, what if members of sales, marketing, customer support and product development aren’t talking and sharing information about customers, the products and the sales funnel? This creates silos between departments that restrict collaboration and negatively impacts the customer experience, which diminishes credibility and potentially costs you business.

Establishing shared goals, clear roles and, above all, foster open and transparent communication between departments within your company will help every department understand their role in the customer experience that leads to customer success. Companies with aligned sales and marketing have 36 percent higher customer retention rates and achieved 38 percent higher sales win rates. But despite the fact that business leaders know how critical alignment is, few feel that departments across their company are actually aligned. 35 percent of marketing executives feel their teams are not focused on a customer experience strategy, and only 12 percent said their teams were strongly aligned. Taking the time to tear down the silos within your company will require hard work, but the benefits of having an aligned sales, marketing, customer support and development team will pay for the upfront work over and over again when you delight your existing and new customers.

Best Practice #2: Deliver a Consistent Brand Experience across All Touchpoints

These days, customers and prospects are likely to interface with your company across a wide variety of touchpoints, including your website, social media accounts, blog, in person, over the phone, via email and more. And, of course, sales reps are not the only people who interact with customers across these numerous channels. Everyone who interacts with the customer plays a part in their overall satisfaction...or dissatisfaction. Delivering an excellent, on-brand experience across all channels goes a long way in securing your customers for the long run, but the key to delivering a consistent brand experience is in the ability to share and document every customer interaction across all departments. Make sure that members of all of your departments are in continual communication with each other to ensure customers are treated well and  that they receive a great brand experience each and every time they interact with your company.

Best Practice #3: Keep Your Outsourced Teams in Step with Your Internal Efforts

Many companies use third-party vendors these days—and for good reason. Outsourced teams can help your company reach more prospects, nurture more leads, handle customer service calls, respond to social media activity and so much more. But, one of the keys to getting the most out of your vendors is to make sure they are aligned with your internal goals.

Kyle Tillar of NuGrowth Solutions suggests the following tips to improve your sales management process that can be easily applied to managing and aligning your outsourced teams:

  •       Have a standardized process that everyone uses
  •       Set clear KPIs for everyone to follow and track
  •       Train all of your reps consistently — both internal and outsourced
  •       Provide support and follow-up education to address learning or performance gaps
  •       Provide incentives and motivation to meet sales goals
  •       Communicate personally with each and every rep, showing you value them and their service to your company and customers
  •       Don’t forget to say thanks and recognize star performers

Best Practice #4: Map Your Customer's Journey to Understand the Customer Perspective

It makes sense that you need to understand the sales journey from the perspective of the customer in order to make improvements to it, right? A great early step to aligning your sales and customer service experience is mapping that journey. You need to know how your customers view your company before you can make any effectual changes, and stepping back to assess your organization from a holistic viewpoint will allow you to see the gaps or roadblocks in the journey.

Perhaps you aren’t familiar with customer journey mapping — but it’s time that you understood how they can help your company improve its processes and offerings. Adam Richardson of the Harvard Business Review defines a customer journey map as “a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.” The journey map captures each step of the customer’s path through initial exposure to your company, the marketing and sales experience, signing an agreement with your company and the support process once they’ve become a customer.

Not only do customer journey maps capture what is happening at each step in the process, they also capture the emotional state of the customer. Is the prospect excited by a new product you’re launching soon and submits a query on your website for more information? Is that prospect then disappointed or annoyed that it takes five business days to receive a response from that query? Work with your sales and support teams — as well as some trusted customers — to help you chart the journey and the associated emotions.

Best Practice #5: Solicit Candid Customer Feedback to Improve Your Processes

If you’re serious about improving the customer service experience your company is delivering, you need to go straight to the source for feedback: ask your customers if they’re happy with their experience and what they would change. And, don’t be afraid to ask just because you think you might receive negative feedback. To the contrary, constructive criticism can go a long way in helping you to improve your processes and make positive change across your organization. Receiving negative reviews is more believable than perfect ratings. So, even if a customer leaves a negative review about your company on an online forum, for example, take the opportunity to address that feedback head-on and use it to inform your processes moving forward. Feedback is excellent, but you must use the feedback to fix the process or issue. Apply the insight you gain into the customer journey — from positive and negative feedback — to make every interaction with your teams that much better.

Take Steps to Improve Your Sales and Customer Service Experience Today

Today, the task of customer service is everyone’s responsibility. Each and every person at your company — both internal and outsourced teams — has a responsibility to deliver a great, consistent customer experience each and every time they interact with your clients and prospects.

 

Better Together: How to Align Sales and Service With the Customer Experience

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