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6 Steps to Re-aligning Sales and Service Teams for a Better Customer Experience - RDI Corporation - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Working hard to improve the customer experience your company delivers? Making sure your sales and service teams are in sync is a great way to bolster your customer experience. Steven MacDonald of SuperOffice says it simply: “…companies that deliver a superior customer experience outperform their competition.” But how do you re-align sales and service teams to provide customers with an unforgettable experience before, during and after the sale? Here are six steps to help get you started.
Step 1: Create a Shared Customer Experience Vision
To deliver a great, positive customer experience to your customers and potential customers, you need to make sure you have created a cohesive customer experience vision that you share with all departments across your company. Because sales and service likely interact with your customers and potential customers more than any other departments, it makes sense to make sure they’re aligned and share your vision.
MacDonald of SuperOffice suggests defining your customer experience vision by creating a set of statements that will act as your guiding principles. He offers the example of Zappos core values, a company that has been super successful at infusing these values into their products, their service, and their customer experience. Once your C-suite has defined your company’s key values, you’ll need to share them with each and every employee and make sure everyone is committed to upholding them. As MacDonald says, the principles of your customer experience vision “will drive the behavior of your organization.” Post them on your office walls, include them in all training efforts and espouse them as doctrine whenever you can.
Step 2: Understand Who Your Customers Are
If you expect to be equipped to deliver a better customer experience, you have to be willing to take the time to get to know your customers. This will include both your current customers and potential customers whose business you’d like to capture in the future. One great way to understand your customers better is by creating buyer personas. Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot defines them in the following way: “Buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help us all — in marketing, sales, product, and services — internalize the ideal customer we're trying to attract, and relate to our customers as real humans.”
Someone within your company may have the skills to create user personas, or you may want to hire an outside firm experienced in User Experience (UX) to do so. Developing personas helps folks in sales and service gain a better understanding and deeper empathy for customers. Depending on your business type and the variety of customers you have, you may need to define anywhere from 2 to 8 user personas.
Step 3: Make a Connection So You Can Provide Value
At the end of the day, your customers are people — not numbers. So, make sure your sales and service teams are treating them as such. Creating an emotional connection with your customers will go a long way in improving the customer experience at your company. A study from the Journal of Consumer Research found that more than 50% of an experience is based on emotion. Because emotions shape the attitudes that drive your customer’s decisions, tapping into their emotions can help your sales team close the deal and can help your service team provide the very best customer support.
MacDonald of Super Office writes: “Customers become loyal because they are emotionally attached and they remember how they feel when they use a product or service.” Taking the time and effort required to make a true emotional connection with each customer will help boost your company’s revenue and reputation through increased loyalty.
Step 4: Share All Customer Experiences Between Teams
Making your customers or potential customers feel like your company is wasting their time is certainly one of the last things you want to do. Don’t create a bad customer experience by neglecting to share customer information or experiences across the teams of your company. If a customer told your support center about a problem they’ve been having, you need to have a mechanism in place to immediately relay that information to your service team who can work quickly to address the problem — so the customer doesn’t become frustrated, have to call back or, worse still, take their problem to your competitor.
One great way to make sure customer data is exchanged between your sales and service teams is by requiring everyone at your company to use a comprehensive CRM solution. As Didi Zheleva of InTouchCRM writes, “The focus of each and every business is to thrive through building long-lasting relationships with customers and a well implemented CRM system will help you do exactly that.” Make sure that everyone at your company understands the importance of regularly updating — at least once per day — your CRM system and consider enforcing consequences for those who don’t comply. Making sure everyone shares all customer experiences and data across your company is that important to improving your customer experience and making sure each person has a positive, consistent experience.
Step 5: Listen to Feedback (Customer and Employee)
Good or bad, being receptive to incorporating feedback into your customer experience process is critical to making improvements. Peter Karpas of Entrepreneur suggests checking “existing review sites like Yelp, Facebook or Angie’s List to see what your customers have to say and determine the best way to improve their experience.” In fact, you might have more luck getting feedback from these online forums than from sending out an email survey or conducting a phone survey.
Karpas reminds businesses of addressing all types of feedback: “…don’t neglect the negative reviews. Though they may seem like a bullet to dodge, negative reviews provide a valuable opportunity to address, salvage and potentially build a loyal (and profitable) customer relationship.” Use negative feedback to both address and try to correct one specific situation, as well as learning for the future for how to fix broken or ineffective processes.
Step 6: Measure ROI
While customer experience may seem like a bit of an intangible process to measure, you truly can measure the ROI of your improvement efforts. A 2014 article by Tom Hoffman entitled “Connecting Customer Experience With Business Value” enumerates the 8 most popular customer experience metrics:
1. Customer satisfaction
2. Net Promoter Score
3. Impact of customer experience on customer retention/renewal
4. Impact of customer experience on revenue
5. Impact of customer experience on customer lifetime value
6. Impact of customer experience on operating margin
7. Customer Effort Score
8. Impact of customer experience on share of wallet
While Hoffman says that many companies struggle to track ROI on improving their customer experience, he says this is a very worthwhile endeavor. He names the following as the top actions for improvement taken based on customer experience metrics:
- Improve customer-facing operations
- Review results across the organization
- Improve channel interactions
- Report results to the entire organization
- Improve non-customer-facing operations
- Reward customer-facing employees based on results
- Reward executives based on results
Make Sure You’re Aligning Sales and Customer Experience at Your Company
Think your smaller-sized company doesn’t have the resources, people or know-how to truly improve your customer experience? Think again. As Karpas of Entrepreneur writes: “An amazing experience is truly what creates loyal customers and helps you make more money. Because they’re smaller and more nimble, entrepreneurs and small-business owners already have an advantage for achieving this competitive advantage.” No matter the size of your company and of your sales and service teams, investing the time and resources into aligning sales and customer experience will reap big rewards for your business.
Publish Date: June 23, 2016 5:00 AM
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