Breaking the Customer-Service-Only Habit

Your ISRs provide great customer service: addressing billing issues, clarifying work orders, and answering the occasional technical question. But what if too much of their time is dedicated to customer service, and they don’t invest enough quality time in selling? What if your ISRs are missing the golden selling opportunity when they have an engaged decision maker on the phone?

Selling on every customer service call requires thorough preparation. Every time an ISR talks to a customer, they must document in their CRM call narrative what they will propose on the next call. Perhaps the customer mentioned they are starting a new project, or they have a CSA agreement that is expiring, or they really want to reduce their downtime. The ISR should always have a solution to discuss on the next call – completely documented in their notes. The ISR should also write in the call narrative three questions to ask on the next call to explore additional product and service needs. First, a question about the customer’s equipment. Second, a question about the customer’s business. Third, a question about the buyer personally. These relationship-building questions lead to additional sales.

The ISR should have a compelling reason to call documented in their notes to bridge into a conversation about needs from a customer service call. For example, once the customer service issue is resolved, the ISR may say “Jerry, the last time we talked, you mentioned you were starting the Highway 30 project. You also mentioned you need maintenance work to keep a high level of production. Tell me how the project is going?” From this open-ended question, the ISR can explore meeting the maintenance needs of the customer.

A customer service issue may involve a product or service. The ISR should cross-sell where appropriate all related items; for example, field or shop service, gaskets or hardware, additional maintenance. For example, “Susan, I’ll have our dispatcher call you to set up the preventive maintenance service on your generator. Thanks for calling me today. I see the last time we did maintenance we noticed a hose should be replaced, and we sent you a quotation. Can we perform this maintenance at the same time?”

As a manager, how can you reinforce these good selling habits?

First, look over the customers narratives in your CRM system. Do the ISRs have a solution documented to propose on the next call? Do they have relationship-building questions written down for the customer’s equipment, their business, and the buyer personally for the next call? Do they have a compelling reason to call they can use after a customer service issue is discussed? If not, challenge your ISRs to complete their narratives on every call. A successful call ends with documentation.

Second, quiz your ISRs on related products and services. Mention a product or service, such as undercarriage or a CSA agreement, and ask “what would you cross-sell with this?” As they practice responding, they will grow more comfortable bringing these items up in a customer conversation. Do this at every sales meeting.

Third, reinforce good customer service is meeting all customer needs. The partnership between dealer and customer is much stronger if the ISR proposes related products and services, and addresses opportunities to improve the customer’s business. After all, what customer wants to delay a repair because they didn’t purchase something they should have, or suffer unnecessary downtime or production delays? That’s terrible customer service.