Whichever industry you work in, your customers’ experience (CX) is an important thing to consider. An improvement in that area is something 42% of customers will pay more to receive. But CX is inevitably shaped by the staff customers speak to. If your staff aren’t working together properly, your customers can suffer for it.
Sales and support teams don’t always gel as well as they can. This can have a significant negative impact on your business. Read on for tips on bringing sales and support teams together, and making both you and your customers happier in the process.
#1 Clarify Each Team’s Role
This sounds like a very obvious point, but it’s one of the most important ones. Sales and support teams have the same basic goal—providing a great experience to customers. However, they approach it from different angles.
Sales teams sell your products, but they also build relationships with customers in order to do so. They might build upon previous purchases, helping a customer move from one product or service to another one. They’re likely to be aware of your digital marketing strategies, and keep them in mind during customer interaction.
Support teams, in contrast, are problem solvers. They troubleshoot issues a customer is having and empower them to solve things on their own. More broadly, they represent your brand to your customers as well.
If your sales and support teams are butting heads, take some time to help them understand what each team actually does. You can get the ball rolling with a three-way call between the management and the heads of sales and support.
#2 Connect Your Teams Digitally
Since sales and support teams benefit from better communication, why not have them share a communication space? A central platform where both teams can chat, email, and share support requests helps everyone do their jobs better in the long run. Support teams can get quicker access to customers’ purchase history, while sales teams can draw on their colleagues’ knowledge to fill in any gaps in their own or address common concerns.
If you haven’t already, you should look into cloud services that facilitate such dialogue. CRM (customer relationship management) software can also be used in concert with communications platforms.
CRM tools can help you capture customer interactions across multiple channels, and make it easier for members across your teams to access all the crucial information. A support agent, for instance, could delve back into interactions your customer had with a salesperson before addressing an issue.
If you do start using a cloud-based CRM you’ll be in good company. SuperOffice says that today 87% of businesses use cloud-based CRM—up from 12% back in 2008.
#3 Meet Regularly
While a shared communication space is useful, it helps to have face-to-face meetings as well. These can be with the teams in their entirety, or on a one-to-one basis as required. Try to schedule these check-ins as regularly as possible, but remember that flexible planning is generally better suited to a dynamic workforce.
Encourage your staff to use video calls online to discuss concerns—large or small. This allows for greater team cohesion, especially if some of your team works remotely. Putting a face to a name (and allowing for in-person interactions) can help people feel like they’re part of a bigger purpose. It can also help avoid misunderstandings in the workplace.
#4 Identify Chances to Upsell or Build Loyalty
As mentioned earlier, sales and support teams approach things from different angles. As such, it’s important to have systems in place for transferring a customer between teams as required.
Imagine your support staff are dealing with a customer problem, and the customer expresses interest in another product you sell. How does your support team respond to that? Can they help that interest to flourish and inspire a purchase themselves? Can your support team pass the customer to the sales department easily, if required?
If sales and support teams can transfer customers between one another easily, this benefits both your customers and your employees. It makes the former feel like they’re in the hands of a professional, knowledgeable organization, and it makes the latter feel like their respective skill sets are valued.
#5 Understand the Customer’s Journey
While sales and support teams must work to understand one another better, it’s also crucial that they both understand the customers they deal with. A good way to do this is to have both teams go through the buying process on your website.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Is it easy to find what you’re looking for on the website? Is there sufficient information about what you sell, either on the product pages or in the FAQs sections? What’s the checkout process like?
Not only is this helpful for evaluating the journey, but it also gives you the chance to improve—maybe it’s time to consider a new ecommerce platform, by weighing up the pros and cons of Shopify vs Squarespace, for instance. Making such determinations can help solve problems before they reach your teams in the first place.
Try to look at things from the support side, too. Many customers resent problems like long hold/wait times, or the support staff lacking information. A dummy run of this process can be instructive for your team. Besides options like streamlining your checkout or adding more info on the site, you might want to add more visual content or improve your existing selection.
Another thing to keep in mind is your response times to customers. It can be frustrating if customers are being kept waiting for a long time before their queries are addressed. Think about a call forwarding service to cut down on those waiting times.
#6 Listen to Customers’ Feedback
Finally, try to get some feedback from your customers as well. They’re often well placed to tell you whether your customer service or sales process is effective.
Drawing out feedback from customers can be difficult. It can also be a bruise to your teams’ egos if they feel they’re doing things properly but receive negative reviews. However, team cohesion depends on people doing their jobs properly, and customer feedback is a valuable way to determine if this is happening. You could ask your customers to fill out an email survey; it’s something they can do on their own time, and without them feeling too pressured by you or your colleagues.
Above all, make sure you implement customer feedback where appropriate. By always keeping customer experience top of mind, both your sales and support teams will be able to work more effectively.
In essence, good customer experience depends on having a clear idea of your capabilities. Your teams need to understand what roles they play and how they work together for a larger purpose.
Everyone on your staff requires clear lines of communication with their colleagues, both for day-to-day queries and major announcements. And you can’t lose sight of what your customers think. You don’t have to take on board everything they say, but you can’t afford to disregard their ideas.