Sales & Marketing

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Alarming disconnect between disciplines of sales and customer service

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Customer service is often regarded as something outside the sphere of the sales team, according to Sales Commando. But if the concept of customer service is not built into the sales philosophy from the beginning, there could be trouble ahead.

Sales Commando’s Doug Tucker confesses that he is surprised by the findings: “If you are a talented sales professional you can sell anything to anyone – once. The real challenge involves building relationships with clients so that you are the first person that they think of when they need to buy the type of product or service that you are offering, and that they recommend you to others.”

It is the shift in emphasis from one-on-one customer contact, which was the norm until recently, to high density call centres, which has been largely responsible for the separation of sales and customer care. This has resulted in a generation of sales teams who have forgotten the essentials of customer service. 

Tucker believes that the model of ‘battery-farm’ style call centres, backed by an impregnable customer care section that does more to protect the company’s sales figures than help the client, has been especially injurious. “These call centres often only allow their sales team to operate from a script, which is a disaster for them because they have no autonomy and are effectively unable to build up a proper relationship with the clients. However, it is even more harmful for the client, who is often badly let down once the sale has been closed. Thankfully, current trends indicate that these are being phased out.”

The findings point towards the need for improved sales training, which should considerably lessen the need for an overloaded customer services department. When your clients imagine that sales always involves them feeling bullied and rushed into making a decision that they may well later regret, it makes everyone’s life more difficult and less pleasant. 

“What this ultimately means is that you have to spend a lot of time overcoming resistance to your profession before you can get down to the business of promoting your product,” says Tucker. “Sales teams need to be armed with the ability to develop long-lasting relationships with clients. My belief is that sales professionals should always take the extra step. Doing a little bit more than your job requires is an excellent investment for the future.”

Indeed, customers should feel that they can speak to their contact in sales at any time and voice their concerns and reservations. 

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