Blurring the Boundaries between Sales and Service for an Elevated Customer Experience
Suraj Gupta • June 10, 2019
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“Across the globe, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.” – Microsoft
The rapid change in the market from product-centricity to customer-centricity continues to be at the heart of transformation. A vital impact of this transformation is on the sales and the service functions – the two departments which have often worked in silos. But they key to the much-needed seamless customer experiences brands need to offer lies in blurring the boundaries between these.
Here are five benefits of having sales and service teams work in unison can elevate the experience customers have in every interaction with the brand:
#1 The customer becomes a single entity with a progressively enriched profile
In the past, multiple customer records were maintained by the organizations based on who the customers interact with. In reality, the customer is a single entity with a single intent. However, the inside-out view of the organizations often led to siloed processes that created a severe lapse in delivering consistent customer experience. Customer focused companies model their process around the customer journey and look at the customer as a single entity that runs across departments albeit some customizations.
#2 Service teams can personalize the experience with access to all past customer interactions
72% of consumers say that when contacting customer service, they expect the agent to “know who they are, what they have purchased and have insights into their previous engagements.” – Microsoft
Service reps must have the entire history of all the client interactions in the sales cycle right from first contact in order to personalize the experience. With the intel on what led to a purchase decision, what was the important nudge factor, a service rep can better cater to resolving queries or responding to requests.
# 3 Service teams can upsell and cross-sell too
“52% of consumers say they have made an additional purchase from a company after a positive customer service experience.” – Dimensional Research
Here is where the real impact of blurring of boundaries comes to play. Today, organizations are missing out on a large chunk of upselling and cross-sell opportunities. The reason? Service teams do not have the full context of the customer to upsell. They are not aware of what the real deal and what opportunities are available.
Example from a CX world – An online gaming company based out of California is an excellent inspiration for the upsell through unified sales and service systems. When you call the service team, as a customer, you will be firstly greeted by your first name, and then a resolution is offered based on the issue. If the issue is not immediately resolved, the customer service team proactively provides more play time depending on the sales agreement. The customer service team then recommends an upgrade or offers a free trial to a different game depending on the usage pattern of the customer. The customer service could do this effortlessly as they have full access to the records and can make an instant judgment on what benefits can be offered to the client.
#4 Sales can tailor their approach towards customers
The new-age car sharing / cab companies is a classic example in which cab drivers rate and provide feedback on customers based on several parameters. This feedback is stored on the service system which is connected to the sales system. When the client books a cab the next time, the sales team (behind the application) has complete access to the transaction history and knows how to respond to such queries. A great feedback from the driver can mean incentivizing the customer with an automatic upgrade or the opposite can mean sending soft feedback.
#5 Remove the barriers of visibility across sales and service
Here is an example from the Manufacturing industry – Say, a customer ordered equipment worth millions of dollars for a high-value project. The order was created in the ordering system and then it goes to the fulfillment system for the equipment delivery. However, the installation (field service team) has no visibility on the shipment and technician schedules are not aligned resulting in delay causing a loss of time and money. In the CX world – the order is created and passes through the fulfillment and the service team immediately. The service team is well aware of the probable date and fixes an appointment with the client for the installation. This process gives visibility to the client and helps them plan to ensure zero downtime.
The big question
Blurring the boundaries between sales and service, while beneficial for customers from an experience point of view, has an equal, if not more, number of benefits for the service provider. With a wider scope for upselling / cross-selling, reducing revenue leakage, improving customer relations, creating more brand advocates, it can turn service into a growth engine, and sales into a service optimizer.
A CRM and Customer Engagement Transformation Practitioner. Loves working with clients to transform their customer experience to make them Digital Native. Specializes in IT Consulting, Salesforce, Cloud Solutions, Digital transformation, Organization Strategy & Transformation, Design Thinking