In one way or another, all customer interactions are either customer service based or sales based.
From a sales perspective, the number one objective is to “get the customer” or close the sale.
From a customer service perspective, the number one objective is to keep the customer.
Both have a sizable impact on the bottom line. The trust that your customers put in you is essential to repeat business. Thus it’s critical that your customers hear the same message from whomever they are interacting with whether that be a sales representative, a customer service representative, a billing representative, a field technician, a Help Desk representative, an engineer, a construction crew member or whomever.
It’s critical that you have a good reputation not only with your customers, but also with those in other departments. Internal customer service is equally important as the relationships you develop with your customers. Frequent and open communication with other departments is a must!
Ongoing feedback to members of other departments can help to alert reps about the types of situations that increase customer complaints or enhance customer satisfaction. The quality of communication between departments can significantly increase or decrease customer loyalty.
From a representative perspective, there is nothing more frustrating or embarrassing for two departments to be sending different “messages” to a customer. And there is nothing worse for the customer than to be caught in the middle between the promises or information provided by different departments. Customer trust and loyalty will increase when the same message is delivered by all within the company with the most important “message” being how that customer is treated!
In our training workshops we ask the participants to brainstorm ideas on improving both internal and external communications. Almost with exception, the number one idea is opening the lines of communication between departments.
Schedule a monthly meeting to open the lines of communication between departments. These meetings can be a valuable way to share information, resolve process challenges, build teamwork, and discuss trends in complaints or new processes/products/promotions. The most valuable benefit is just to open communication. Obviously the coordination and structure for these meetings needs to be thought through. If it’s not possible for everyone to attend, assign a liaison from each department who can report on behalf of his or her team.
Customer retention is the lifeblood for all telecoms. Frequent and open communication between departments will give everyone the opportunity to do what’s best for the customer while meeting company objectives!
David Saxby is president of Measure-X, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based measurement, training and recognition company that specializes in customer service and sales skills training for utilities.