I was recently having a talk with Mike Miller, my friend and fellow mystery shopping industry expert, about customer service.
At one point in our conversation, the disconnect between good sales and good customer service came up. I’ve seen it many times before! Salespeople make promises when they’re trying to sell a product or service, then the rest of the people at the company can’t deliver on it because it’s unrealistic or they were unprepared and uninformed. And suddenly, you’ve got a customer service problem on your hands. Your customer is trapped in the middle, awash in overly optimistic promises and woefully lacking delivery, and she wants a way out immediately.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Many companies see each department as independent moving pieces. Sales is sales. Customer service is customer service. Technical support is technical support. It shouldn’t be this way…any employee with the same company name on their nametag or business card should be informed of policies, procedures and capabilities in the same way.
Mike told me he rarely sees companies that have this figured out, and that’s scary. Here’s a simple example: If you go to Best Buy, you automatically interact at least with a salesperson and a customer service person at the register to hand over your money. And chances are, at some point you’ll also be interacting with the service department. If you have to deal with a rebate, you may be dialing into their call center. And that’s just one store.
Back to my headline: Is there room for overlap between customer service and selling? Answer: There had better be! Don’t fall prey to the dreaded silo effect.
These days, it’s really easy for a disgruntled customer to go out and tell all her friends how badly her experience sucked. And if she has a big network — or you have a lot of disgruntled customers — you’re going to have to work harder and harder at finding people who don’t think that just to get people in the door.
If your supposedly excellent customer service can’t follow through on the promises your supposedly excellent salespeople have made, then nobody’s doing their job right. Work — and think — together, and you’re guaranteed more happy customers.