Want More Sales? Invest In Customer Service.

By Carrie Kerpen

I’ve attended countless sales seminars. I’ve learned about turning cold calls into warm calls. I’ve learned about inbound marketing. I’ve learned about conducting a proper needs analysis, and I’ve learned about CRM systems that allow me to better manage my funnel of leads. But there’s one thing I’ve learned outside of the sales department that has impacted my business and countless others.

To excel in sales, invest in customer service.

Using customer service to solve problems is a given—but having people who don’t just listen to the complaints, but respond to the positive feedback from customers? That’s the difference between being a company that customers use to a company that customers live for.

Social media allows this concept to be magnified tremendously, and it allows the interaction with the customers to be public. This means that companies with great customer service are publicly celebrated, while those with poor customer service are publicly shamed.

Don’t believe me? Check out the power of amazing customer service. When Brandon Cook’s grandmother was dying, she wanted some Clam Chowder. He went to Panera Bread to get some, except they didn’t have Clam Chowder offered on that day. When Panera heard the story, they not only made his Grandma Clam Chowder, they gave him some cookies and a hug to boot! His mother posted the story on Panera’s Facebook Page, and it got a staggering 500,000 likes and 22,000 comments.

Panera Bread didn’t need a fancy social media strategy to increase their reach, and ultimately their sales. They just needed an employee who worked hard to take care of their customer.

Panera’s example was entirely organic, and arrived on social media as a result of an offline interaction. However, when Peter Shankman jokingly tweeted that his fave steakhouse Morton’s should meet him with a PorterHouse steak at Newark Airport when he landed, he thought he was being funny. But Jillian Beard, former social media manager at Morton’s, was listening, and she saw a chance to surprise and delight one of their best customers. She had a Morton’s employee show up at the airport and hand deliver Mr. Shankman a steak. He was completely dazzled, blogged about it, and many hundreds of thousands of media impressions later, it was considered one of the greatest customer service stories ever told.

Morton’s invested in having staff to actively listen on social channels. And it paid off in a big way.

This story, and how it impacts sales, is not new. A study from Emarketer says it all: Some 86% of survey respondents who reported being very satisfied with their most recent customer service interaction with a company were likely to repurchase, as opposed to only 9% who said they would purchase again after being dissatisfied with their customer service experience. I’d like to share our own internal program designed to increase sales through the art of client service at Likeable Media.

Here I am accepting the Minnie Mouse award in 2002 for being the top salesperson at Radio Disney. The reason? I was focused on making sure that the clients I sold were THRILLED with their service, so that they’d buy more!

Every day, we teach our clients to listen to their customers on social media, and respond. Responding quickly, surprising and delighting customers, active listening, these are all practices that we preach daily. But every company can stand to serve its clients or customers better than they do today, and we are no exception. I have told my team that I want them to think of it this way: As Disney is to magic, Likeable must be to likeablity in Client Service. If we truly want to be the Disney of agencies, we will constantly be striving to do better, and never be satisfied with our level of service.

Service at an agency is not only about Account Executives who interact with a client on a daily basis. Great client service needs to be reflected in every area of the organization. And so, one way that I’ve started tracking “likeable” customer service is through our brand new “Magic Moments” program at Likeable Media.

This week, we created a place where everyone who works with our team can recognize when they demonstrate a magic moment in service.  Our staff has all placed this call to action in their signatures, and communicated it with the people they work with. This does a few things. First, it allows people to look out for the amazing customer service moments that they may ordinarily take for granted. Second, it reminds our team that we need more magic moments in our day. More moments that make the person they’re engaging with feel like their #1 priority.  More moments that are magical, and more moments that truly matter.

If you see a Likeable employee doing something amazing, be sure to nominate them here. And ask yourself, does your company place enough emphasis on, and reward people for, incredible customer service? If so, how? Share below…

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