Let’s start with a simple question! If you buy an amazing smartwatch from a popular brand but their customer support is not ready to answer you nicely, would you ever buy from them again?
No, right! You won’t even recommend them to anyone.
Sales and customer service teams should go together like bread and butter. Day and night. Ocean and beach. Mountains and sunrise. Unfortunately, both these departments work in silos and the impact goes way beyond a decline in sales and poor customer service. It puts the brand’s name at stake forever.
As per HubSpot, 68% of consumers say they are interested in buying from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences. This suggests that any brand that wants to win the survival race should align its sales and customer service teams.
Let’s dig deeper into this and find ways to align sales and customer service teams.
1. How Siloed Departments Affect Customer Experience?
For most companies, customer retention is an important goal. The stats also show that organizations that break down silos see a 10% increase in customer retention. But operations don’t always seem to be going in this direction.
On one side, the sales team tries to close maximum deals. On the other side, the customer support team tries to manage customer expectations set by the sales team. Both teams are busy focusing on efficiency and easily overcoming customer satisfaction. The problematic structure results in siloed departments.
As the teams are divided by functionality, they feel separate and sometimes, in competition with each other. Did you know that 56% of customers say they have had a negative experience due to company silos? Without a doubt, there can be several negative consequences of such a structure but the customer suffers the most. Here’s how.
1.1. Missed Opportunities and Unclear Communication
When the sales and customer service teams are not aligned, it can irk customers. Sometimes, customer requests go unnoticed and expectations are overlooked, which results in dissatisfied customers.
For instance, a customer sends an email to a customer service rep about an acquaintance interested in their product.
Now that the customer service rep doesn’t know who in the sales team will take care of the request, it gets lost in the inbox.
Such a scenario is mostly common in larger companies where the emails are never forwarded to the right person. Such a customer, after feeling neglected will never do business with this brand and won’t even recommend it to someone else. Hence, a sales lead is lost.
In another example, a sales rep who promises a special discount to a customer to close a deal, if forgets to inform someone in the sales team, will frustrate the customer who may never come back to them.
1.2. Disappointed Customers
Customer retention is difficult in a scenario where the customer is compelled to explain his issue to several salespeople one after the other. As per stats, 65% of customers said they have changed to a different brand because of a poor experience.
Some of the most common reasons why a customer leaves a brand are:
- Customers feel a lack of appreciation.
- Customers can find a person who can help them with all the answers they are searching for.
- The customer support is rude and unhelpful.
- There are multiple people involved in the conversation.
- Customers have to wait for long hours to speak to a representative.
Without a doubt, helpful and meaningful conversations land successful deals.
2. What If Sales and Customer Service Work Together?
There is no denying the fact that both sales and customer service are strong departments by themselves. A connection between the two can have a positive impact on both the company and its customers.
The need is to have a continuous loop between marketing, sales, customer service, and every other department in the company because the ultimate goal is to make your customers happy. For mainly sales and customer service, such a relationship can be of great benefit.
- The sales team will have new leads and opportunities.
- Customer support can prioritize big customers and hot prospects.
- The support team can cater to the customer’s requirements in the context of sales.
Unfortunately, there is no connection between siloed departments. But if they work together without friction, there can be numerous benefits.
2.1. Customer Retention and Loyalty
Salespeople love to get new customers from time to time. It’s not wrong obviously. But this should not result in them overlooking their existing customers. In another scenario where the sales team works hard to convince customers to buy from them, they may leave because of poor customer service.
Existing customers are as important as the new ones for a business. As per Bain & Company, higher customer retention rates can boost revenue by 25% to 95%. This requires both the teams to work together and there won’t be any differences and the customers will get what they want.
2.2. Detailed Data
Your sales team needs to know who your customers are and what they want. This is the key to closing many deals. And your customer support team needs to know this information to encourage positive customer interactions that boost revenue.
This is possible through alignment.
The customer support team can tell salespeople about the complaints and pain points their target audiences have. The sales team can keep the support team updated with information like pricing details, competitor offerings, etc. that can help them build trust among their customers.
2.3. Personalized Experience
New Epsilon found that 80-90% of customers find a personalized customer experience more appealing while purchasing any product.
When sales and customer service are frontiers of any business model, it is their duty to keep their customers engaged and happy. A customer-centric model can help in providing customers with a tailored experience while ensuring flexibility and efficiency.
2.4. Increased Revenue
If there’s one thing that is on every sales and customer service team member’s mind is that they have to drive revenue. It all comes down to earning your customers’ trust and they’ll be with your business for the longest time.
This will also give your teams more upselling and cross-selling opportunities. When the churn rate is low, sales reps will be able to close more deals.
3. How to Make Sales and Customer Service Work Together?
It is true that the sales and customer services teams are set up differently and they function separately. However, these two departments share a lot of similarities and the most important is to fulfill customer’s requirements.
Any business wants to easily convert its leads into paying customers and this requires both these frontier teams to work in harmony always. Even a study revealed that teams that are highly engaged help increase your profitability by 21%. This is the key to happy and satisfied customers.
To avoid churn and a drop in revenue, here’s how businesses can make sales and customer service work together without friction.
3.1. Create a Shared Goal
What do you think is the major cause of differences between the sales department and the customer support department? It’s the difference between their goals and priorities. The sales team is more focused on earning returns and the customer support team is more into saving costs.
A sales rep focuses on obtaining immediate results and wants to close deals as soon as it can. It doesn’t even care about the cost. A salesperson’s effort is mainly counted as:
- The number and length of phone he/she makes with a prospect. Some organizations expect their sales reps to make at least 60 calls per day.
- The number of meetings set up.
- The number of leads generated.
On the other hand, a customer support rep’s job is to reduce operating costs. A customer support rep’s efforts are measured by:
- How quickly they can resolve tickets and customer complaints.
- How well they can reduce the number of tickets.
Businesses need to consider the metrics/goals/motivations that drive their sales and support teams. In case their goals or motivations are conflicting, they must come up with common goals that will get them to work together.
For example, you can ask your sales and support teams to keep their expenses low and focus on cost savings.
Without a doubt, both the sales and customer support teams work towards improving company goals and it’s the business’s responsibility to ensure that they don’t have competing goals. Instead, make sure that both teams understand what the other is doing. They should appreciate each other efforts and help them with the challenges they face. This will help improve overall business productivity.
3.2. Know your Customers
Who are your target customers?
Both your sales and customer service teams should know who you want to target for your services or products. To ensure that they have an identical idea, create buyer personas together. If needed, you can also involve your marketing team in this.
Once you all have a clear understanding of your ideal customer and created buyer personas, it’s time to map the customer journey. Identify the touchpoints that your customers need to hit to become paying customers. Also, prepare your reps for the possible questions that they may have to answer in the future.
The ultimate goal is to build long-lasting relationships with your customers to take your business to new heights.
If now, you are thinking about the way of learning about your target audience, the best is to ask them. Trust us; it’s better than making assumptions.
Try to engage with your followers through social media, send emails asking for their feedback, study your competitors and their customers, etc. Store all this information in your CRM and create buyer personas using it.
3.3. Use the Same Technology
It’s obvious that your sales team might be using some kind of tools and apps to connect with their potential customers to close deals. Also, your customer service team might be using some tools to speak to their customers to meet their requirements. It would be great if some of these tools were the same.
A CRM can work wonders for both your teams. It’s better than wasting a company’s funds on different tools, just to create misalignments and unnecessary problems in the end.
Prepare a list of the features that you would need in your CRM. For instance, the sales team would want automation tools to send follow-up emails automatically. On the other hand, the customer support team may be interested in real-time reports.
Kylas can be a great choice for both your teams. It offers powerful automation reports and analytics features.
The good thing about Kylas is that it integrates with several third-party applications. This means that even if both your teams need different tools, you can always integrate them.
3.4. Promote the Exchanging of Customer Data
Be it the sales team or the customer service team, documenting customer data is useful for both of them. Sales reps must be able to access the ongoing interactions of the customer service team with the clients. This will help them make an entry at the right time.
Salespeople also need to know if the customer is likely to renew the subscription or turn away from your brand.
The best you can do is encourage in-person conversations between the departments in your company. Exchanging emails and all is good but speaking face-to-face can be a better bet. This is a great way of building rapport and trust among them.
If you haven’t done it yet, implement a Kylas sales CRM as soon as you can. This will help track the entire customer experience and keep all your teams on the same page.
When every customer interaction such as emails and phone calls gets recorded, customer experience automatically improves.
3.5. Create Cross-Team Reporting and Training
For some companies, it might seem a little unusual. But yes, there are some companies that don’t encourage interdepartmental communication. Maybe they that it will hamper their productivity or will encourage mindless conversations and even fights!
However, these fears have nothing to do with reality. On the contrary, organizations benefit when people from different departments come together to exchange information. It works even if it is just friendly banter.
According to Tim Eisenhauer, an internal communications expert, such interactions help strengthen company culture and reduce social awkwardness among peers.
It’s essential for both the sales and customer service departments to understand where they need each other’s skills. For instance, the sales team needs to understand that customer service teams know how to deal with customer requirements and provide solutions. The customer service team should know that the sales team’s primary focus is building trust with customers.
When both teams understand what the other does for their company, they can work together in collaboration.
In some cases, cross-team training can be a great way of making them well-versed in each other’s roles and responsibilities. You can pair team members from different teams and allow them to observe one another for a day at least.
This collaboration will influence your customers. If they notice any inconsistency between your teams, they may even turn you down and look for some other brand. So, it would be best if the salespeople invest in customer relationships and the customer service team understands the sales process.
3.6. Define Customer Journey
When we are talking about successful customer acquisition and retention, customer journey mapping plays a crucial role. When there is a well-defined map of your customer’s journey, the collaboration between the customer service and sales teams becomes easier.
Each team would have an idea of the stage which the customer is in and let them make improvements if needed.
- Awareness is when the customer is getting an idea about your brand and product portfolio.
- Consideration when the customer is considering whether or not to purchase the product.
- Acquisition is when the customer has bought from you and is using your product/service.
- Service when the customer needs your service, support, or other help in using the product.
- Loyalty is when the customer is considering whether to advocate for your brand and purchase again.
You can define the customer journey stages as per your business and the products/services you offer.
3.7. Identify Opportunities to Cross-Sell and Upsell
In most companies, the customer service teams have the data that can be of great use for the sales teams. This needs the customer service team to work with the sales team and help them find answers to all their questions. It’s true that the customer service team is not there to sell but in some situations, they may cross-sell.
For instance, if a company sells mobiles and a customer calls customer service to find out when their phone will arrive. After answering their questions, the customer service rep can also check if the customer needs earphones.
Also, the sales team can help identify which repeat customers to upsell or cross-sell to, based on the feedback from the customer service team.
Both upselling and cross-selling must be done at an appropriate time and situation. Sales reps can sense such situations. On the other hand, customer service reps build a rapport with the customer and guide them to a solution. This relationship can be used to upsell products.
Recent research found that for customers who use live chat before making a purchase, there is a 10% increase in average order value, a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour, and a 40% conversion rate. So, if possible, you can also upsell and cross-sell via live chats with your customers.
4. In Closing
At the end of the day, sales and customer service both aim to achieve customer success. When both these teams work together, the customer feels satisfied. And when the customer is happy and satisfied, your company wins. The day your sales and customer service teams start working together, the results will be worth it.