You have a hidden second sales team… here’s the answer to the best kept secret in business: it’s your customer service team.
If you are managing a customer service team, take a moment to self-reflect on how you’re managing them. What are you training and coaching them to do? I know that when I first starting working with them, I started out on the “good manners” path. As we went along, I realised something: they were already ‘good mannered’. They didn’t require any direction on how to use people’s names, how to thank customers properly, or how to ensure their nails were manicured. They were looking for something else; a much higher level training that would include advanced level communication skills, opportunity recognition, questioning techniques and high level people skills. These were not Customer Care 101 students; they were graduate students looking for PhD level people skills.
These are the same level people skills that our sales training delivers to our sales professionals daily. Clients were saying to us: “Yes, that’s what we want! We want to align our customer care culture – the language, the communication professionalism with our sales department.” So we began to bring parts of the sales program into customer care, and the participants loved it! They instantly understood how to adapt the techniques to the world of ‘farming’.
They saw our nurturing questioning techniques and Transactional Analysis as applicable to dealing with difficult people and situations, something they were called on to do on a daily basis. Participants also were redefining their role in sales. They were no longer simply order takers, but active farmers digging into the present and future needs of customers and taking sales to the next level on their own. They understood that once a new client was attained, their role was to both retain and grow the relationship. Customer service providers are professional, dedicated employees that play a key role in the growth of the company’ sales and customer loyalty.
Following the lead of our clients and their customer service providers here in Metro, we re-wrote the customer care program for Sandler’s 200+ offices around the world. That program is now Sandler’s second largest and is available in English, French, Spanish, Turkish, Mandarin and other languages in over 30 countries around the world. We simply followed the lead, and the needs of our customers. Isn’t that what it’s all about?