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Sales and customer service have more in common than you might think

Sales and customer service were once considered completely different areas of business – divided into two different departments, each having different goals, objectives, and strategies.

Traditionally, sales teams would bring in new customers, while customer service teams were expected to take care of them. 

Though both contributed towards bringing profits to the company, they ultimately used different methods, often contrasting to each other.

For quite a long time this concept has been accepted by many businesses, however, that currently isn’t the case.

As today we are seeing more and more data showing how customer service – whether done right or wrong – is making a big impact on sales, the traditional boundaries between sales and customer service are becoming more blurred and less important.

In fact, sales and customer service really shouldn’t be thought of as separate entities anymore.

5 major things sales and customer service have in common

When reduced to their typical job definitions, sales and customer service employees seem to have two very different roles. And yet there is more overlap between them than most people might think. Below are the 5 basic things that sales and customer service actually have in common.

1. They work towards creating a positive customer experience

At the most basic level, salespeople are responsible for getting the customer in the door, while customer service agents are accountable for what happens after a sale is made.

In a broader sense, though, they are both working towards achieving a single goal – creating a positive experience for customers. 

Experience is what customers feel and go through when interacting with your business. The whole experience starts with your sales reps who help customers find and choose the right product or service that fulfills their needs.

Then, your customer service reps help ensure that customers make the most out of the purchased products or services and have a seamless experience while using them. 

In essence, this means that sales and customer service are basically on the same page when it comes to customer success and delivering positive customer experiences.

2. Both are responsible for building customer relationships

Sales and customer service teams spend more time working with customers than anyone else in your business – and they both contribute to building long-term customer relationships.

The days when salespeople could close a deal easily and never interact with a customer again are long gone. How today’s salespeople deal with customers is becoming more relational and less transactional.

Just like customer service reps, sales agents contribute to creating and maintaining relationships with customers by getting to know them, learning about their needs, and helping them find solutions to their problems.

Ideally, both customer service agents and sales reps should continue nurturing customer relationships throughout the whole customer life cycle. 

3. Customer service directly affects sales

Some of the most customer-centric organizations like Zappos, Amazon, and Apple have already realized the value of focusing their efforts on delivering outstanding service and letting it drive future sales. Customer service has truly become the new sales engine – it’s the fact that is backed by numerous studies. 

The NewVoiceMedia’s research found that if provided with good service, 66% of consumers would be more loyal, 65% would be willing to recommend the company to others, 48% would spend more money, and 39% would use the business more frequently.

On the flip side, when faced with poor customer service, 39% of consumers would never purchase from the company again. 

Dissatisfied customers are not just walking out on businesses, they are slamming the door – and sharing their negative experiences extensively.  In fact, negative word-of-mouth can damage a brand’s reputation so much that it causes potential customers to look for alternatives.

Moreover, the above-mentioned survey revealed that poor customer service is actually costing businesses more than $75 billion a year. 

The correlation is clear: good customer service creates happier customers, repeat purchases, more brand loyalty, and more sales. And the opposite is just as true: bad customer service leads to customer frustration, no repeat business, bad word-of-mouth, customer churn, and lost sales.

4. Customer service can be a profit center, too

Customer service has been historically viewed as a cost center and a ‘necessary evil’, while sales has always been a profit center. That concept has greatly shifted over the past years as many businesses have come to realize that with the right strategy, customer service can actually become a profit center too. 

When customer service teams are equipped with smart tools, like help desk software that keeps track of all customer communications across all touchpoints in a single place, it provides support agents with comprehensive customer insights.

This means that agents can easily access all the necessary customer information, including the history of previous interactions, and use it to deliver a consistent, seamless, personalized service experience that results in increased customer satisfaction and improved loyalty.

In addition to that, when interacting with customers, service agents can effectively cross-sell and up-sell, whenever the opportunity arises. Smart tools like these make customer service an efficient sales channel, and ultimately a profit center for a business.

5. Customer service and sales teams work better in alignment

When sales and customer service departments operate as silos or separate entities, this disconnect can negatively affect their performance and ultimately the customer experience.

However, if they manage to establish an open line of communication and share valuable information, both will become more productive and effective.

Customer service can help sales:

  • Gain insights into common customer pain points
  • Identify opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling 
  • Reduce customer effort and improve the overall experience 

Sales can help customer service:

  • Educate customers on what to expect from your products
  • Contribute to maintaining customer relationships
  • Report customer needs to appropriate parties

CRM software tools can bridge the gap between sales and customer service departments and help them align and cooperate in an efficient way. With an intelligent CRM system in place like Salesmate, both sales and customer service agents get a 360-degree customer view, complete with all the meaningful customer data that can be used by both teams for delivering highly personalized customer experiences.


Michal Kouril is a marketing specialist & growth hacker at LiveAgent. When he's not knee-deep in data, content, and paid campaigns, he enjoys exercising and watching new TV shows.

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