Building Culture: How Support and Sales Serve Each Other

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I walked into my office on a Monday morning, booted up my computer and opened email.  Immediately I spotted an email flagged as urgent from *Elliot.  Elliot had a customer he was meeting with later that day, and they had technical questions that he wasn’t so strong with.  He wanted to check to see if I would be willing to conference in during his presentation.  Of course I said yes. 

Who is Elliot?  He was one of our top sales people.  It was not unusual for the support staff to get emails from him about new clients who had questions, asking if could we reach out.  He understood the value of selling the benefits of our company’s award winning customer service department to help close the deal. 

Why would I, a Customer Service Rep, care about Elliot, a Sales consultant, closing the deal with a new customer?  

1.     I understood that without the Elliot’s, I would not have a job. As a Customer Service Rep, I relied on the sales team to get our company product into client hands, which in turn would eventually lead them to calling me.
2.     Elliot respected my time as a professional. He did not ever act as if the Customer Service department were his personal secretaries.  
3.     Elliot understood cycle times. Because he was in regular communication with us, he was able to recognize the patterns and be able to use that to accurately predict when Customer Service departments would be busy. As a result, he was able to help prepare customers for when they could expect long waits due to high call volumes.  
4.     Elliot would make a point of training his customers the most efficient ways to utilize customer service. What were the different ways to contact us?  What methods were best for what types of calls.  And most importantly, when clients needed to be redirected to training instead of Customer Service. 
5.     If we ever had an issue with a customer who needed to go back to sales, Elliot was a reliable source for us.  As a team we all knew that if we emailed a sales issue to Elliot, it would always be addressed and usually corrected in less than 48 hours. 

The connection between sales and customer service is unbreakable.  Customer Service Reps would not have a job if it were not for the sales people bringing in new clients, and keeping touch with existing clients.  Sales would find it harder to close deals, and impossible to manage retention without a well working customer service support team.  Elliot saw himself as part of our team, not as someone who was separate, or even above our team. 

By working as a cohesive unit, we were a benefit to each other.  Customer Service Reps could help with some of the more technical questions that a sales person normally would not know.  In some cases, we had sales people who purposely made a call to Customer service support, simply so the customer could “meet” us.  We were promoted to the client as a part of the team that would help improve the efficiency of their office. In turn, sales would help us when we had customers who had issues with their account.   

*Name changed

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