Things used to be simple. There was one goal: to make sales. There was one set of people tasked with doing that (the sales department), and one entry point to the sales funnel (the top).
All that’s gone the way of the dodo. Now, with much of the buying process being “self-serve,” the game has changed. There is no such thing as a single point of sale. Customers are informing themselves rather than relying on sales, and they’re making buying decisions based on their feelings about a company, not simply a product.
This new buying reality requires businesses to work differently. There must be a greater emphasis on relationship-building than there was in the past. Few of today’s customers actually interact with sales; instead, opportunities for cultivating relationships are often in the purview of customer care. Indeed, 76 percent of Millennials view customer service as a “true test” of whether a company values them.
Communicators are uniquely positioned to provide the intimate relationships that customers crave. Solving immediate (and often upsetting) problems, providing value (not sales pitches) with genuine conversations and sometimes going above and beyond to connect with a customer are all value-added interactions that Communicators perform daily. What will you get for your Communicators’ efforts? The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer says that an additional 42 people will find out about such stellar experiences, thanks to customers spreading the word.
There’s a loyalty shift coming, with the younger generation of customers being more “experience-loyal” than “brand-loyal.” Customer care is poised to be extraordinarily influential in addressing this shift. It’s not likely to take the place of sales, but certainly there’s an opportunity for greater collaboration among these departments. By taking advantage of one another’s strengths, both teams can deliver the positive, authentic experiences that customers want and expect.
Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.