5 Best Practices for Aligning Customer Service and Sales Teams
Customers in a variety of fields now expect more personalized care than ever before when they interact with businesses. This means that sales and customer service teams must work together to create a seamless, unified customer experience and stay aligned.
If a customer has spoken with the sales team, it is possible that they will expect their history and information to be readily available to the customer service representatives as well, rather than lost in a separate documentation system.
It makes sense that teams often turn inward for help, becoming more and more reliant on each other rather than on other teams in the customer satisfaction process. However, your best resources might actually be on a team that is pre-sale or post-sale; the customer service team has incredible insight to assist the sales team in their work and vice versa. Your company will benefit because clients will feel the seamlessness of their experience, and your teams will also be more satisfied because they won’t feel isolated in their tasks.
Here are some great ways to align your customer service teams and sales teams.
Get Everyone Hooked on the Same Customer Journey Vision
Many of the most successful companies these days attribute their success to an overall vision: often it is a willingness to go the extra mile to make a customer happy, or a deliberate turn to enthusiasm in customer contact calls. Regardless of what you choose to be the hallmark of your buyer’s journey, pick something that can be consistently applied from marketing, through sales, and into the customer support teams.
When your customers notice that pleasant greetings, outstanding knowledge, and a willingness to go the extra mile are consistently available to them, their opinion of your company will only continue to grow. Company retreats can be great places to get everyone focused on the bigger vision and a great side effect is an opportunity for every team to learn more about what the other teams do and appreciate them.
Connect Teams Digitally For Easy Information Flow
Your company’s preferred CRM may be excellent, but if your company is using it in such a way that data isn’t flowing clearly from one team to the next, you are missing out on a great alignment opportunity. By combining all conversations, emails, and support requests into the same client data system that is shared with all necessary teams, you allow any representative to pick up the phone and talk knowledgeably about current and past client history.
Even the most polite sales rep may frustrate a customer if they don’t have access to the information they need to continue solving a problem. Invest the time in getting sales to document the process of getting the customer in the first place, and in exchange, get customer service to document any issues or positive feedback they offer down the road.
Meet to Discuss High-Profile, High-Volume Clients
When your company relies on a few large clients as opposed to many smaller ones, it is worthwhile to get the stakeholders on the sales and customer support team together to run down the basics of what those clients have been up to. Both teams can provide clarity for each other about what the pain points, use cases, and long-term goals are for your high-value clients. When much of your business comes from just a few clients, it’s important for everyone to work together as a combined team to proactively solve any issues they experience and provide a stellar experience.
Identify and Share Opportunities to Build Brand Loyalty
Sometimes, a support call will yield information that makes it clear that the client is interested in another one of your products. In other contexts, a sales representative might need to bring customer support into the conversation to solve a prior issue first and then land the next upgrade opportunity. Regardless, keeping that key information within a single team doesn’t benefit anyone. Building brand loyalty has to do with doing what other companies often cannot do, i.e., align their teams to offer exactly what the customer needs or wants in the moment. The best sales are the ones that help the client meet their specific needs fully and achieve their business goals, and opportunities to have those conversations often happen naturally when your clients are on the phone with customer service.
If you can upsell, cross-sell, or renew a client’s interest organically and get them to the right sales person to complete the process, they will feel cared for and you’ll be part of your company’s success. Facilitating these kinds of interactions also makes the members of individual teams feel supported and effective, which can go a long way to reducing employee turnover and increasing the longevity and experience of your employees.
Pass Along All Feedback For Iterative Improvement
Both customer support and sales teams keep data and analytics about what is working (and not working) along the buyer’s journey. This data is often most relevant inside the team, but another team might actually have a better or more interesting insight if they can get their hands on those numbers. This isn’t about a blame game – getting the teams in a room together and discussing analytics should always be about ‘what can we try next?‘ rather than ‘why didn’t we make that sale?‘ Excellent customer care requires sharing the insights you glean from customers all the way up the channel. Otherwise, the resources and time it takes to gather that data is truly underutilized.
Aligning these teams is worth the time and attention to detail that such an effort requires. Word-of-mouth advertising has amazing ROI, and aligning your teams might be the start of an excellent conversation about your company’s ability to satisfy your customers’ needs no matter how many team(s) are involved.