Remaining with the Team Selling theme today (a day early, yet is too important to wait), I want to emphasis a missing link in most sales organizations. It has to do with the level of Customer Service – with emphasis upon the level of internal communication, record keeping and knowledge transfer.
Here is a statement I believe is more true today than ever…
When a Customer has a relationship with a Company and they interact with different people, they expect all of those people share the same history about the customer – regardless of who they talked to.
That is valuable information. When shadowing sales people making customer calls, I can remember several situations where the customer was upset. Upset with the company, not necessarily the sales person, because they had one of those experiences of calling the company, being placed on hold, transferred to someone – who responded by saying “that not my job” and transferring the customer to another department. And, this continues for several transfers, even returning to the original person the customer spoke to!
Now it is bad enough the customer gets transferred around, the real nail biter and nerve catalyst is the number of times a customer has to repeat the same story to each person they talk with. This activity creates frustration and sometimes anger on the part of the customer – why? Because no one is taking responsibility to fix the problem or even follow-up with the customer. The lack of follow-up and responsibility of action creates lower customer satisfaction marks relative to your company.
The consequences of lower customer satisfaction is a crack in the relationship foundation. This means a competitor now has an opportunity to enter into the situation and talk to the dissatisfied customer. You and your company are now at risk of losing an account. Remember, a customer with a high customer satisfaction ranking towards your company is not one to start opening bids and quotes for a new seller. Loyalty is created and it makes your life simple.
The question for you -and for functional managers within the team sell group- is what systems do you have in place to insure that all important customer conversations are documented and anyone who interfaces with a customer is aware of recent activity?
Also, what training has been applied to the basic element of phone conversations with customers looking for help and the satisfaction of problem solving? Everyone should have the attitude to take responsibility for helping a customer – completely.
Recently, I overheard a administrative assistant dealing with a frustrated customer who had been connected somehow to her. She took control of the situation. Told the customer that she was not the person to fix this situation, however, she would transfer the customer to the person after briefing the fix-it person before transferring the customer to the person who could fix it “And, if the customer had any issues to call her back and she would get it fixed!” She then gave the customer her direct phone number AND her complete name. Not a general customer support email address or main phone number with no extension number – a direct link to a real person who could and would help the customer.
Personally, I was very impressed with the assistant’s actions. She was young and energetic and most importantly she really wanted to help the customer – an individual – on the line. I share this because it does not matter WHO takes the first step of responsibility. Anyone and everyone within the company should be focused upon Customer Satisfaction. It – customer satisfaction – is the one thing that creates long term and profitable customers for your company.
Can your “Sell Team” begin the process of enhancing the customer service for your team and then influence, educate or train others within your company to take the same responsibility? This is the signal that Team Selling is truly in place with your organization. Everyone is selling – even if it is only as simple as helping a customer find what they need.