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Issue 461

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February 1 - February 22, 2016 16 Working World l B uilding a sales culture and creating a culture of exceptional customer service are closely linked but they are not the same. In fact, great customer service is a vital subset of a great sales culture—two processes that fuel one another. You cannot truly have one without the other. A sales culture means that everyone's in sales and that everyone knows the way in which what they do helps a customer say "yes." Regardless of the position you hold in a company, you do something every single day that has a systemic (and in some cases direct) impact on a customer's decision to do business with you. This is a proactive and conscious belief system that you and the organization uphold. It is built on a foundation of trust that begins with the CEO conveying a culture that every employee matters, and acknowledging that creating a happy customer is not easy. Everyone has their own examples of when they received extraordinary and subpar customer service. Southwest Airlines is an excellent example of an organization that employs a sales culture and also provides exceptional customer service; turning profits while making their customers happy along the way. On the other hand, some businesses seem more than willing to sacrifice long-term (and potentially lifetime) customers for that quarter's metrics or stats sheet. So what is the relationship between a great sales culture and a culture of great customer service? They are very tied to each other in several ways. 1. Customer service is about making sure clients are happy before and after a purchase, and that's why people come back. Right? Delivering great customer service and taking care of issues and complaints is a big reason for repeat purchases and increased sales. Everyone who comes into contact with clients and customers has a role in making them happy. It's not just the front line person who owns customer service. Everyone does. That demonstrates that everyone's in sales— sales culture. 2. Metrics are not customer service, and they are not sales culture. Yes, things have to be measured so people can fill out some form and can say, "I did it." Cool. What exactly did you do? Congratulations that you beat some arbitrary metric that says you delivered good service. The real measure of customer service is the proactive behavior that occurs when employees know how their actions impact the client, the way in which their actions lead to more sales, and when they take the time to build the bridge between what they did and how it had a positive effect. That takes time and a proactive attitude of showing people that what they did makes people want to come back. 3. Customer service is so MUCH more than answering the phone nicely or being measured on how quickly one responds to a client's problem. Customer service is about knowing that when a sterling level of service happens, it has a systemic effect on the company and the customer, who remembers it and buys more. One of the basic guidelines of sales culture is that everyone impacts the customer whether they know it or not, and it happens all the time. People need to be encouraged to recognize this fact and point it out every day. 2. Making clients happy takes a team. Your virtual sales team—those who work behind the scenes to solve FEATURE ARTICLE by Todd Cohen Regardless of the position you hold in a company, you do something every single day that has a systemic (and in some cases direct) impact on a customer's decision to do business with you. Sales Culture and Customer Service: Perfect Together!

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