Considering Customer Service as a Sales Tool
The two best ways to improve operations of a business are to increase sales or decrease costs. In today’s environment, decreasing costs is difficult which is why so many companies focus on increasing sales. Businesses work to increase sales through marketing, prospects, trade shows, direct sales and a bevy of other traditional channels, but what most companies don’t realize is that increasing sales via customer service can be highly effective. If you manage your customer service plan properly, it can be as valuable of a sales tool as competitive pricing and high-quality products. Most importantly, great service goes beyond being helpful and courteous, it’s about impact, advocacy, retention, up-selling and repeat sales.
“One happy customer can equal as many as 9 referrals for your business.” – American Express
So, if you haven’t considered customer service as an important sales tool, ask yourself this question:
Do you have what you need to maximize your customer service?
If yes, then congratulations. When launching your new customer service strategy, make sure to include detailed, ongoing training and continue to optimize it based on customer feedback to retain customers and increase sales.
If your answer is no, then consider one of two options:
- Hire or retrain your team to enhance your customer service program internally with a focus on service as a sales channel
- Partner with an experienced customer service company-contact center to get help from professionals.
While having an in-house customer service department is typically within most company’s comfort zone, this option requires more day-to-day oversight than outsourcing. Additionally, this option usually costs more, often results in lost focus on staff’s core duties and can lead to average service levels with limited sales potential.
On the other hand, partnering with an experienced, professional customer service company for your call center is often cheaper in the long-term, yields better sales/service results and allows your staff to concentrate on core competencies that cannot be outsourced.
“72% of businesses say that improving the customer experience is their top priority”- Forrester
While there are clearly arguments in favor of each method, consider the following before making a decision:
- Cost-Effectiveness: What are the true expenses of maintaining an in-house call center – staffing, training, compensation, equipment, supplies, management and software? To accommodate your call volume, determine whether the cost per hour would be higher with an in-house solution or by contracting with a professional customer service firm. When outsourcing you can often reduce your all-in customer service expenditures significantly and still increase the quality of your service and sales quantity.
- Customer Needs: Think about what your clients require and assess if it can be provided internally. Do customers need availability outside of your office hours, to communicate in a different language or via different mediums (text, chat, social media, etc.)? Do customers need to speak to a real person more quickly than you can support with a shared internal team or need the dedicated, personalized attention of someone whose only role is to help them?
- Complexity: Are customers getting the service they need with one-call resolutions or are they having to repeatedly call back to solve the same issue? Can your team be trained to provide universal support? Do you have the time to train them? Is there someone on staff that can create, maintain and support ongoing training?
- Time: Is your service team there for customers when they need them? Is your team neglecting other key business initiatives to offer customer service support? Is this the best and most cost-effective use of your staff’s time & resources?
No matter what your answers are, the customer service partner your company considers will have a major impact on your decision to outsource. You must determine if they can develop a program that meets your company’s specific needs. Are they experienced, flexible and capable of managing all types
of service needs? How do they hire and train their agents? Are they technologically sound to ensure your customer’s data is secure? These and other questions will help guide your company to a decision that will maximize your customer service to care for your customers and increase revenue.
Interested in having a conversation with a reputable, proven call center partner? Claro is here to help. As an industry leader with deep expertise in refining the customer experience, we offer customized solutions to maximize service, cultivate brand loyalty and help your business grow. 888.589.2492 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Solomon, M. (2015). Shark Tank’s Daymond John: Three Reasons Customer Service Trumps Everything. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2015/06/30/shark-tanks-daymond-john-three-reasons-customer-service-trumps-everything/#4858b14e4af7
- Mclovor, M. (2015). How to Outsource Customer Service The Right Way. Retrieved from https://biz30.timedoctor.com/the-lazy-mans-guide-to-outsourcing/