Customer Service as a Profit Center

Well my first experience in customer service was as a Tier 2 Tech Support person, if the customer service rep could not solve the customers problem it got transferred over to me. At the start of my first day on the job I The Vp Of Marketing and Sales had me in their office they said “There’s people in the back – factory that make things, and people out in the field selling things, then there’s you who we have to have, and you just cost the company money.” With such an inspiring start to my career at that firm one need not wonder why they, were bought & sold a bunch of times until they are well, they effectively no longer in business. I’ve heard it said treat your employees they way you want them to treat your customers. The culture of a company reflects the top and what the top rewards gets done. So what does a frustrated, angry customer cost? Bad news travels fast these days and it can cost you the whole company.

Outside Sales Is Very Expensive

How many times have we heard it costs 10x 20x 100x to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one? Yet exactly how many times have you seen or experienced a company that has a clearly defined strategy that they execute on to do so? I recently took a Salesforce CRM Trailhead class on this topic and thought I would share my key findings with you.

Proactive Customer Service Methods

Good regular check ins work best when you understand the customers preferred communication methods and style this is best tracked in your CRM. For example does this customer prefer email or a text? Track this info, some folks hate getting texts from companies or emails or posts etc.

Regular Personalized Check-ins: Reminded me of what Sales Trainer Tom Hopkins taught me: Don’t send Christmas Cards everyone does that, instead send 4th of July Cards, Thanksgiving Cards or if appropriate Birthday Cards. Acknowledge Significant Milestones: Such as years as a customer, hitting Bronze, Silver, Gold status due to purchase level, etc.

Product & Service Communications

Product Life Cycle: no product lives for ever, if your product buy cycle is 24 months, having a program to reach out to customers at 20 months will be appreciated. The same goes for products that need service, a friendly reminder with a discount is often appreciated. Advice on expiring warranties: Contact customers before the warranty expires and offer extended terms or service reminders, or maybe an upgrade.

Thanking Customers

Again at my first customer service tech support position one of the field sales people thanked me for going the extra mile. They were surprised that I was so grateful for my hard work being acknowledged. Then their light bulb went on and they said “Ya they hand out complements around here like man hole covers!” Since I don’t know if I could even pick up a man hole cover much less hand it to anyone it creates quite the picture. Other than perfunctorily & obligatory business thank yous do you all take those next steps to thank customer and employees that serve them?

Give them a shout out online: On your Corp website, Social Media (if they agree), a personal call from Sr. Management, get creative. Thank You Gifts: Put a little something extra in the box when shipping the order, maybe a product sample, or leftover trade show gifts. Get creative.

Develop Customer Advocates: In our social media driven world it is peer to peer advocacy – word of mouth – tweets that have far more weight than all the ads on the internet. Your customer are often part of social networks that are beyond your reach. a Gentile ask from a familiar Customer Service Rep is often all it takes to gather up a bunch of positive comments & testimonials.

Your Customers Service Center need not be a sunk in cost for solving complaints & problems. It can be a profit center when used correctly. It should be the key part of the strategy to retain customers. By partnering customer service with sales & marketing to drive your efforts it will amplify your brand message. When it comes to communicating with customers Customer Service has a level of trust that sorry to say Sales & Marketing doesn’t. This gives them a huge leg up when softly suggesting add on’s or when gathering information.

A large part of this post was derived from the Communications Skills for Customer Service Salesforce Trailhead Badge Link here: https://trailhead.salesforce.com/content/learn/modules/communication-skills-for-customer-service-agents

About Phil Sallaway - Manager Orange County California

Manager at SalesForceMaven in Orange County California. He is a Salesforce Consultant with a strong Marketing & Sales background.
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