(The article originally appeared on Babette Ten Haken’s blog)
ypically, customer service doesn’t factor into the sales equation unless something goes wrong in the delivery or implementation of your products, services or platforms. Have you ever been there?
Do you avoid discussing customer service when selling?
You may not bring up the topic, but it’s top of mind for your customers. Consider adopting a proactive strategy. What would happen to your close ratio?
Here are three strategies for leveraging the value of your company’s customer service function during account acquisition
- Stop painting rosy pictures. Create realistic scenarios instead.
When we go after a new account, we focus on creating a trust-based decision-making environment. Our goal is for customers to be 100% confident that we can deliver on our promises. While this picture is idyllic, your new customer may appreciate your taking a more realistic approach.
What if something does go wrong?
Are you going to be completely out of the picture once you have their signature on the contract? Is your newly-won customer now at the mercy of the customer service department, who has been left completely out of your sales strategy? Determine whether your new customers have had any type of negative experience with a prior vendor in terms of customer service. This is your opportunity to create value, rather than avoid a buying objection.
- Be proactive and anticipatory.
Your customers are signing on to do business with your entire company. They understand you are not selling in a vacuum. They expect you to be supported by a well-oiled team. Meet their expectations head-on. Why hide the folks who make your company great?
Introduce various members of your support team to your new customers. You may find that customers appreciate knowing you have a support system focused on satisfying and retaining their business. Demonstrate that customer service isn’t just for when stuff goes wrong. When customers know the customer service function is there from the beginning, they get the impression that you all have their back.
- Develop a case study to demonstrate how customer service is part of their overall Customer Experience.
Your company probably has some terrific examples of how your customer service folks went the extra mile on behalf of customers. You may find that these business cases showcase resourcefulness and creativity on the part of your customer service folks.
Not all customer service stories involve having to fix something that is broken. Dispel the stereotype of the customer service department as the “complaint department” or the “customer disservice department.” You’ll be demonstrating, once again, how you work as a team on behalf of your customers.
Ultimately, your customers are buying into a solid experience of the value of working with you and your company.
The sales process is ongoing; it doesn’t end once the contract is in-house and you’ve been paid your commission. Do your homework on the breadth and depth of internal resources your company offers to your customers – including the customer service initiative. You may find that you are also educating yourself about “that” area of the company.
Customer service may be out of sight to you as you focus on new business acquisition. Customer service is a value-add top of mind for your customers.