7 months ago
February 21, 2017

How Important is Customer Service in Sales?

This article lists a few of the ways customer service impacts sales and the steps you should take to optimize the gains and minimize the losses.

Claire McConnachie

Too many businesses underestimate the power of quality customer service to influence long-term sales. Good customer service should not be seen as a bonus, offered once the numbers look good-rather, providing the best experience to customers at all stages of the purchase cycle should be a corporate goal from day one. In this article, we’ll discuss just a few of the ways customer service impacts sales and the steps you should take to optimize the gains and minimize the losses caused by the handling of your customer relationships.

Returning Customers

The most obvious connection between customer service and sales lay in return customers. A customer whose experience with your company after their purchase doesn’t meet expectations is far more likely to explore the offerings of a competitor or forgo any purchase at all.

A single unfortunate encounter with a member of the company may not be bad enough for that to be a rational decision, but expecting customers to always make the most logical, profitable decision is Business 101 thinking. By encouraging proper customer service at all levels, macro and micro, a company decreases the odds of that one bad encounter.

Satisfying the customer results in higher sales anyway, so this isn’t a hard decision to make.

Word of Mouth

Customer service doesn’t exist in a vacuum. How you treat prospects and past customers, the quality of the customer service, travels by word of mouth as much or more than any details about the quality of your services or product. Think of the times you’ve heard “The product was great, but the customer service was a nightmare” and how much that put you off that ‘great’ product.

On the other hand, positive word of mouth will make your sales explode. People love knowing they aren’t taking a gamble on being problem-free with their purchase, that the company they are dealing with are the ‘good guys’. That’s right-customer service, perhaps than anything else, writes the public narrative for how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ your company is.

Facing the Competition

In sales, you need to offer value over the competition. When the competition steps up with a product you can’t directly compete with-it will happen eventually, unless you’re really pushing to innovate-you need to be strong on ‘intangibles’ to stay in the running. Offering good customer service can back sales up in those difficult times like nothing else.

There are many examples of companies offering average products and doing amazingly well because they’ve built a relationship with their customers that the competition can’t overcome. That’s the role of customer service in sales. To build and reinforce that bond.

Mindset

To clarify, customer service shouldn’t be solely the purview of customer service representatives; it should be a mentality present in anyone making contact with a customer. Salespeople shouldn’t roll over and play dead for prospects, but they shouldn’t leave them begrudging their purchase either.

Customer service exists almost solely to service the often-neglected final phase of the buying cycle, the remorse phase. Any big purchase eventually begets doubts-customer service at all stages keeps those doubts manageable. Neglect that phase and people try the competition next time or tell their friends to try the competition. Not a good thing for sales in the long term, even if you’re profiting in the short term with high-pressure sales and negligible customer service.

Claire McConnachie

Claire is a Western University graduate with a background in recruiting, sales and customer service. As a Recruitment Consultant, her goals are to place the best people in the right roles resulting in satisfaction for both the candidate and client.