Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of Desmond Doss who served as a combat medic in World War II at the Battle of Okinawa. He was the first and only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for actions above and beyond the call of duty during World War II. He brought belief, integrity, courage, and heroism together to deliver amazing results in saving lives as he charged into the hell of battle without a weapon.
Consistent with the US military code, he didn't want to leave anyone behind.
In business, customers seek one primary thing from salespeople: a solution to a problem or challenge from someone who truly understands them. Every business should commit to not leaving any customer behind and therefore to empowering everyone in their team, from every facet of the business, to heroically deliver what customers expect and need... exceptional personal service.
The age of the empowered customer has kicked down those old cubicle walls that previously separated sales and service teams. Customers now expect personalised and unified information from the first person who answers their call, opens their email or reads their social message and it doesn't matter to them which department they sit in. If a business can't provide this experience, all it takes is a quick browse online for an eager competitor to pounce. It's not only tech-savvy millennials who are voting with their feet - 70% of consumers and 82% of business buyers surveyed in the recent State of Sales Report from Salesforce agreed that technology has made it easier than ever to switch suppliers or service providers.
So, is it as simple as rounding up your sales and service teams and throwing them in a room together? If only it were that easy.
Map the customer journey
You would be surprised at the number of businesses, large and small, that have no idea what their individual customer's journey looks like in real life. This is a critical first step in aligning your teams. Firstly, challenge each team member to play the role of a customer in your business. They need to see through the customer's eyes and walk in their shoes. During this exercise, they must process and predict every touch point, decision, barrier, question and pain point. Chances are, sales and service employees will identify things they could do differently or how they could improve the way they work together to ensure the customer can seamlessly purchase your product or service and become an advocate in the market.
"Place an empty chair in every meeting to represent the customer. They are the most important person there so consider them as you discuss strategy, manage issues and make decisions." [paraphrase] Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO
Break down barriers
As I said earlier, if you have partitions in your office, pull them down. Collaboration and communication between sales and service people is paramount to providing the ultimate customer experience (CX). Recent Accenture research revealed that legacy business structures and siloed management practices are putting constraints on employees. In fact, 73% of executives surveyed in the Technology Vision 2017 report said that corporate bureaucracies are stifling innovation and productivity.
The only difference between sales and service roles in my view is when they're in front of the customer: sales do the deal and set expectations, and service seeks to meet or exceed those expectations after they've signed the dotted line. It's important to realise that one couldn't survive without the other, so it's up to business leaders to encourage a culture of sharing data, collaborating, integrating and talking to each other. The result: you have fewer silos, more internal touch points, better lines of communication, and better processes, which all lead to better customer experiences.
Customers want a personal consultant, not a sales or service rep
Customers today expect a highly personalised online shopping experience, so why wouldn't they expect the same in a store, office or showroom? By connecting the two customer-facing departments and empowering them with a complete 360-degree view of the customer, they can enhance the customer experience, drive growth, loyalty, and advocacy. We all know what it's like to be greeted by name at your local restaurant, this should be the case in any business regardless of who they speak to or how they engage at any given moment.
For instance, real estate website, Domain, integrated their Homepass app on the Salesforce platform to replace the old pen and paper open home check-in process with a seamless mobile experience. Each customer's buying journey was recorded, analysed and integrated to the agent's CRM. The technology ensured real estate salespeople and the service call centres had the right data and information to have personalised conversations with the right customer at the right time.
Sell smarter, not harder
I hate to hark on about the end of the old sales or service model, but change is happening right now. By 2020, 51% of consumers and 75% of business buyers expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before customer contact. This can only be achieved if:
- Your business and employees know their customer journeys like clockwork
- Leaders encourage and set an example for a culture of collaboration and data sharing. Leadership is behaviour, not posters or slogans.
- Barriers between customer facing roles are abolished
- Salespeople sell smarter, not harder. This means leveraging the power of technology to make sense of masses of disparate sales and service data we have at our fingertips to provide meaningful insights, predictions, and actions.
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Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published on LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award-winning blog. Also, visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.