How Better Customer Service Generates Higher Sales

BY C. Lee Smith
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With January 1st behind us, most reps are relieved to start a new year. Are you doing everything you can to help them sell more? Two recent guests on our Manage Smarter podcast pointed out how better customer service generates higher sales. Managers and reps must focus on the right customer service elements of the sales process to make their quotas this year.

Customer Focus

Jason Bradshaw, the author of It’s All About CEX, understands the value of treating existing customers right. He knows it’s easy to get tripped up in the customer service promise, the one when we falsely believe that we must be “all things to all people.” Before you know it, your entire department is burning out as they try to deliver too much.

A more effective approach addresses customer interaction from a 360-​degree vantage point. The product should delight the customer. The delivery service, the phone interaction and the billing should all be seamless and memorable. When you give the client something they don’t expect, like a month of free service or an ad at a greatly discounted price, that experience forms a memory. And those memories “become the stories that we tell, good or bad, about the places we work and shop.”

While we may be on the road to recovery, many of your clients are still operating under greatly disrupted conditions. If your reps have increased communications and their customer service level, they have made it easy to do business with them. As a result, they are in a better position than their competitors in terms of increasing sales.

If your reps haven’t done enough to improve the overall customer experience, start working with them now. Bradshaw points out that even a 1% improvement each day will make a big difference over the course of a few months. Whether it’s reaching out with a support call or sharing an article of interest, your reps can improve their credibility and business when they make improved customer experience a core activity. Once the customer shifts from “being satisfied to being loyal” your reps have the chance to keep selling to them.

Revenue Focus

Jason Reichl, CEO of nimbly, says sales reps often forget who they’re working for. In fact, since the pandemic started, reps hunkered down and worked harder. In some organizations, as they watched their co-​workers being furloughed, reps pointed to data to justify their existence. Instead of delighting customers, they were telling their bosses about how they scaled up their phone calls by 200%.

Sales managers can improve this situation by shifting everyone’s focus back to the customer. The customer-​facing rep wants to do a great job and they also need credibility in the eyes of the customer. To make this happen, you may need to recast responsibilities. Clients expect seamless onboarding, training and billing. If your sales enablement system isn’t delivering these services for the client, you’re also failing your rep. It’s time to think of your sales department as a revenue operations department where every person plays a role in improving outcomes. When that happens, revenue rises.

Better Customer Service Generates Higher Sales

Delivering great customer service can quickly take up more time than anyone has. To stay ahead of the growing demand, especially at a time when customers are struggling, your reps must learn to prioritize. Unfortunately, your overwhelmed reps may only have time to address problems for the customer that complains the loudest. 

Your more organized reps might make lists that contain both important and urgent daily tasks. While that’s a partial solution, in 95% of cases, Reichl observes, reps will end up handling the urgent items. Meanwhile, they ignore the important items. These important tasks could be the ones that will ultimately generate more revenue in the long term. Coach your reps to spend no more of 50% of their time urgent tasks every day. The remaining time spent on important tasks could make a big difference.