Sales and service are a continuum

Every interaction is a moment of sales and service to a customer. Sales and service exist on a ever shifting continuum, not as discrete functional experiences. Organisations treat these two functions differently because often the capabilities and the measures of performance differ. However for a customer, sales and service are just ‘getting what I need’.

Recently I was trying to make a change to an account with a provider. This should have been a simple service request to better align the product to my needs. However the provider clearly took the view that my request made me a retention risk. Instead of offering to help me meet my needs, they started to frustrate my efforts to make the change delaying matters with additional requests. Unfortunately the team wasn’t trained to ask the simplest sales question -‘why was I making the change?’. Had they asked, the change was a precursor to an additional purchase, not departure.

There is no surer way to lose a customer and miss additional business than to make it hard for the customer to get their needs met in any channel. Every interaction is an opportunity to find out what the customer needs and to make it happen now. The best way to keep a customer is to work to meet their needs to the best of your capabilities every chance you get.

Service processes that don’t facilitate a sales opportunity for customers miss huge opportunities. Sales channels that can’t fix other issues leave customers doubting your interest in their business. Creating a continuum can be as simple as helping service teams to ask a few key questions and supporting sales people with service issues. Theere are big opportunities in leveraging a moment that a customer is asking for your help.

Customers don’t wait. Customers don’t come back. Customers aren’t interested in your process complexity or functional model. Making sure you treat every customer moment the way they want. Meet customer needs as best you can offering a continuum of sales and service.

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