Every day I work on optimizing sales processes in various industries, using various sales models. During audits and consultations, I examine sales representatives’ work and the mechanisms organisations apply to improve their results on the one hand and improve customer service on the other, altogether increasing sales results. After such observations, however, I often come to the conclusion that the solutions applied - often boastfully called ‘innovative’ and ‘customer-oriented’ - don’t really serve anyone, because they neither take into account the customer’s perspective, nor the potential or capacity of the salesperson.
One example could be telephone customer service centres, which are supposed to improve communication with customers and assist them 24 hours a day. In practice, this is often a complicated maze in which a soulless, annoyingly chipper answering machine voice tells you to enter certain numbers, only to serve up some annoying elevator music, which is occasionally interrupted by the voice saying: ’All our consultants are busy now, please wait or call back later’. The result is usually the same: an annoyed customer who vents their frustration against a consultant, who - instead of selling anything - has to writhe like an eel to calm the situation. As you probably guessed (or know from your own experience) it’s often the customer’s first and last contact with the given company. Conclusion? The tool that was supposed to improve sales killed that sale.
To eliminate this type of situation, increase the effectiveness of prospecting activities, and reduce the risk of losing potential customers, I suggest considering the customer life cycle from two perspectives: theirs and ours.
The customer perspective
Let’s start from the customer’s perspective, because their point of view is crucial for successful sales. So, give up the slick salesman’s shoes and step into the client’s shoes for a moment.
At the beginning, remember a situation in which you encountered unexpected obstacles, e.g. when you tried to call a taxi and the line was busy. Did you try again, or did you call another company right away? Perhaps you were thinking: ‘Man, when was the last time I actually called a taxi?'.If that is the case, it means only one thing: you probably lost your patience long ago, and now you use an app to order a car with one click.
Remember the shops, restaurants and institutions where you threw up your hands and left before even being served. Remember all the websites you closed because they didn’t load fast enough. All those situations when you wanted to buy something - when you were already in the door, when you were already greeted by the shop assistant, and then you noticed something that put you off: a long queue for the cash register, an unpleasant smell, or perhaps a ‘cash only’ sign. After all, some businesses still insist on traditional forms of payment.