Adding selling pressure to the functional responsibilities of front line and back end service teams can backfire. First, these teams are not hired, or trained, to sell. Next, these teams may not have time to sell effectively, especially when actively serving customers.
In taking my storytelling speaking programs and workshops to organizations and associations like yours, I constantly hear about how you are trying to do more. With less staff. And while working lean and mean can be a great thing, if your business and hiring models are old-school, you get good and stuck.
My advice: If you add selling pressure to service team functionality, set these teams up for success. Otherwise, the quality of what they are hired to do, in the first place, suffers.
Selling pressure negatively impacts both employee experience and customer experience.
Most organizations have a sink or swim new-hire probationary period. And new service teams, as one bank officer told me, may “throw new front line employees to the wolves, hoping to see whether they can take the pressure and figure things out.” Also, this probationary period can last between 6 months to one year. Perhaps this scenario contributes to why employee turnover is at a 10 year high in the banking industry. Hmmm. (We won’t even go into sales force churn rates.)
Also, if you are a small business, with limited resources, are employees essentially self-trained to serve customers? Or trained via tribal knowledge communicated by longer-term employees? Then, pile on selling pressure to this scenario. No wonder employees become overwhelmed, unconfident and inconsistent in delivering extraordinary service delivery quality that retains customers.
In both scenarios, I have seen clients wrestling with the dramatic, and negative, impact of sink or swim onboarding and sales pressure on their cash flow and business growth. Because customers jump ship.
Consider that sinking and swimming to justify employee training comes at a cost: your customers.
First, when you throw new employees into uncertainty, you create uncertainty for customers. Existing customers have neither the time, nor the patience, to train your new hires on how to serve them. And new customers may be skeptical about whether, or not, your organization can meet their needs. So, why jeopardize customers by asking untrained (and even tenured) employees to both sell and serve?
Next, when you add selling to service team responsibilities, risk is increased. Yes, these service teams are in front of customers your sales teams are having difficulty getting an appointment with. To you, it makes sense: why not take advantage when your customer makes themselves available to service teams? Except that customer expects a service call, not a sales call. And, service teams can have no clue about the sales history or a customer’s context with your organization.
As a result, selling pressure causes service teams, unintentionally, to fall short in serving and retaining customers. We both know that is not what you had in mind.
Service delivery quality drives customer success and customer retention. All you need to do is connect your story to your customers’ stories. Take the next steps.
- Planning your next corporate or association meeting? Engage me to present one of my Storytelling for STEM Professionals and Left Brain Thinkers speaking programs. Contact me here.
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Babette Ten Haken‘s One Millimeter Mindset™ Storytelling for STEM Professionals and Left Brain Thinkers speaking programs are created for organizations and associations who want to catalyze stakeholder success and customer retention. There is no better way than storytelling to bridge communication disconnects between professional disciplines, paygrades, generations and levels of education. Babette’s programs are forged from her own background leading teams simultaneously requiring left-brain mindset for clinical research and e-commerce, as well as right-brain thinking for new product development, market research and sales. Babette is a member of PMI, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Her playbook of communication hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact her here. Image source: Adobe Stock