Caroline Robinson, Director at Sandler Training, offers some top tips on Customer Service.
Seven ways your Customer Service team can increase revenues
There is a hidden sales force within your company right now... they may already have great relationships built with your customers. They speak to them regularly and help them each time. Most importantly, their relationships are built on trust. Where can you find this hidden sales force? It’s the customer service department. There’s only one problem: they don’t think of themselves as salespeople and are often simply reactive, rather than proactive.
Tapping into this unmined resource can produce incremental topline revenue. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply saying “Do it!” Guide your customer service team to follow these best practices and lay the groundwork for growing your business without adding to your personnel or your overhead...
1 - Overcome the stigma of sales.
The reason many of them choose customer service over sales is that they see salespeople as pushy, sleazy or self-serving. When they accept that there’s another way to sell that actually helps customers make smart buying decisions, they will move past this stereotypical view and be more comfortable in a sales role. Service providers are born to help. When they see sales through that lens, they’ll be open to the role.
2 - Have a customer service process for selling.
Another reason customer service providers avoid sales is that they don’t know how to approach or avoid push back. They may be uncomfortable dealing with what they consider awkward “sales” conversations. Arm them with a systematic process for taking a business development approach to service. A step-by-step process takes the pressure off them and your customer.
3 - Engage on more than a surface level.
When you ask customers about their problems, their thoughts and their challenges, you tap into their wants and needs. Ensure customer service providers are empowered to craft compelling questions and are actively listening to their customers.
4 - Check for icebergs.
The surface problem a customer brings you is rarely the real problem. Just like icebergs, 90% of an iceberg is below the surface and not visible to the naked eye. Customer service providers must learn to dig deep and find out what’s behind the visible issue; then match their products and services to those issues “beneath the surface.”
5 - Don’t just be friendly – be specific.
“Anything else I can help you with today?” is easy to reply to with “no.” “I see you’ve bought widgets by the dozen in the past. We have them on special this week. Is that something you’d like to stock up on when we ship the rest of your order?” This question, however, is specific, tailored and helpful. If the customer has a need, it’s easy to say “yes.”
6 - Develop sales antennae.
When a technician hears, “I should really replace this unit you’re working on,” this is a buying signal. Unfortunately service providers don’t always recognize this. They may believe it’s not part of their job to act on or follow up. Buyers take that as a sign of disinterest and shop elsewhere. Give them the tools to turn buying signals into revenue.
7 - Understand value rather than just price.
When they do, they will stop assuming that buyers only want the lowest priced items, and start finding out their needs and will match those needs to the right product. Customers need a return on their investment, and a customer service provider’s product knowledge, experience, problem-solving abilities and industry knowledge has huge value.
Revenue left on the table is vulnerable to the competition. Ensure your hidden sales force is prepared to uncover and bring that revenue home.
Sandler Training is launching a customer service programme in January to get meaningful and lasting improvements in how your people interact with customers (external and internal).
As ever this programme takes the unique Sandler approach of providing long-term reinforcement to get lasting change.
Click here to see programme overview http://www.cambridge.sandler.com/downloadc/145924/
For more information go to http://www.cambridge.sandler.com
Sandler Training is a business development/sales management company, providing world class training to help businesses in East Anglia grow and be more successful.