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 so that is why so many companies focus on increasing sales. We work hard at this through direct sales, marketing, prospects, tradeshows and a bevy of other traditional channels, but what many companies don’t fully realize is that increasing sales via customer service is highly effective. If you manage it correctly, customer service can be as valuable of a sales tool as competitive pricing or high-quality products. Just remember, service is not only about being helpful and courteous, it is also about impact, advocacy, retention, upselling and repeat sales.
So, if you haven’t given customer service the importance it requires, it’s time to ask yourself this question:
Do you have what you need to maximize your customer service?
If your answer is YES, then congratulations. Just make sure to create a great customer service program and continue to optimize it based on customer feedback so you 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 professional help
Having and in-house customer service department assures more day-to-day oversight than outsourcing and is an option that is more solidly in some company’s comfort-zones. However, this option usually takes more money, often results in lost focus on staff’s core duties and can lead to average service results and limited sales potential.
On the other hand, enaging 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.
While there are clearly arguments in favor of each method, consider these points before making a decision:
- Cost-effectiveness: What are the true expenses of maintaining an in-house call center when you consider staffing, training, compensation, equipment, supplies, management and software? To effectively service the volume of customer needs is your cost per hour more than it would be when contracting with a professional customer service firm? Its often the case that by outsourcing you can reduce your all-in customer service expenditures significantly and still increase the quality of your service and the quantity of your sales.
- Customer Needs: Think about what your clients require and assess if it can be provided internally. Do customers need availability out of your office hours, to communicate in a different languages or via a different medium (text, chat, etc.), to speak to a real person more quickly 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 resolution or are they being transferred between departments? Can your team be trained to provide universal support? Do you have the time to do it? 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 having to neglect other key initiatives to offer customer service support? Is this the best and most cost-effective use of staff time & resources?
Now, no matter what your answers are, the customer service partner your company considers and their capabilities will have a major impact on your decision to outsource. You must determine if they can develop a program that meets your company’s needs. Are they experienced? Flexible and capable of managing any type of service need? How do they find and train agents? Are they technologically sound so your customer data will be secure? These and other questions will help guide your decision so you are able to maximize your service department to care for your customers and increase revenue.
Interested in having a conversation with a reputable, proven call center partner? First Associates 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. 888.486.2509 or solutions@1stAssociates.com.
- 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/