So, you’re a business with many customers. That’s exciting. Here’s a question for you to ponder then: do you think you should pay more attention to the people spending more money with you?
‘No, every customer should be treated the same.’
And while this is a lovely sentiment, is it actually accurate? Don’t you think certain people, the loyal repeat customers – you know, the ones spending the bigger money – deserve a little more?
Let’s simplify stuff. Imagine you have a little shop down the road. If someone came into your store and bought a small bar of chocolate, you’d complete the transaction (with a smile, of course), and send them on their merry way. You probably wouldn’t call them up at regular intervals to check if they enjoyed the sweet.
Because that would be strange.
But, what if someone came in and wanted to buy a whole load of chocolate bars, five of every newspaper you have, and a ton of toiletries. And they didn’t just want to buy them once, they wanted to buy them over and over again, providing you with a steady, regular income.
You’d probably want to strike up a conversation then, wouldn’t you?
Well, that’s kind of the point of key account management.
Funny that sales and customer service are often separate departments in most companies. As though you can only do one or the other.
Sure, Sales wear the pinstripe suits, slam down the phones, ring the bell, and bring in the money. (Is that too reductive?) Customer service on the other hand are the touchy-feely, ‘your business is important to us’ softies that apologize, plead that your business is important to them, and put the 10%-off vouchers in the post.
Here’s a thought: why don’t we all take a leaf out of each other’s book? Why can’t sales take a more personable approach with their customers? And why don’t customer service refer people to their products and services?
Well, they can. And in a lot of circumstances, they already do. Sales and customer service go hand-in-hand.
Let’s face it. All of us have had bad customer experiences. Someone has let us down, under-delivered, or given sub-par service. Like a furniture company only delivering half your wardrobe and neglecting to tell you where the other half is for several weeks. Instead, you’re left with half a product, looking like an idiot holding your shiny new toolbox, having wasted a day off work. (True story, by the way.) Or maybe a store rep made you feel like you wanting to pay for a product in their shop was in some way totally unheard of, and hugely inconveniencing them, as though they were eating dinner in their home with their loved ones, and you’d just knocked on the door and asked which aisle the mops are in.
It’s frustrating, annoying, and it can stay with you – tarnishing your impression of the entire company. That’s a hard thing to shake off, because once the trust is broken, it’s broken. Just like in a personal relationship.
In the same way, we remember the really good customer service. If a company rep takes an interest in what’s best for you, or goes out of their way to provide great service or apologise for an error, it makes an impression. Things like this breed loyalty, mutual respect, and trust. After all, no one wants to feel like a number. We all want to feel valued.
We’re all in several business relationships, even though you might have never looked at it like that. I’m in relationships with my energy company, the broadband people, the car insurance guys, the TV licencing team (hiding from them counts as a relationship, right?) The list goes on and on…
We’re not banging on about all of this for no reason. We’re all about recognising why sales and customer service shouldn’t exist as two separate entities.
If we’ve piqued your interest, check out the healthy new chunk of sales mastery courses we have! Because not all of us are born silver-tongued, persuasive sales gurus. Most of us have to learn through trial and error.
We also have a few key account management courses coming to our Customer Service Collection. These guys are the ultimate plate-spinners when it comes to sales and good service. Who knows – they might just be exactly what your business needs!