Customer Service Tips for Electrical Distribution Sales Teams
In the current climate, customer experience is one of the main battlegrounds for inside, outside and counter sales teams (often out-ranking factors like product and price). This can be especially true within the field of electrical sales, where customers are more informed than ever before, have expectations that are constantly increasing, and are perfectly willing to switch to one of your competitors if they don’t receive the kind of service they expect. It’s no real surprise that many distributors are making investments in customer service training and coaching efforts. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at a few customer experience best practices for electrical sales teams to consider, in order to stay competitive, exceed expectations, and build loyalty among your clientele.
- Make Customer Service a Priority
The first and perhaps most important best practice for electrical distribution sales teams when it comes to customer experience is actually making it a priority. According to a 2018 Gartner survey, 81 percent of B2B companies believe they compete primarily based on customer experience, compared with just 36 percent who thought the same back in 2012. Essentially, this means organizations live and die based on customer experience, so it’s a good practice to make sure that the focus of your team reflects this.
- Define the “Ideal” Customer Experience
Distributors attempting to achieve excellence with regards to customer experience need to go beyond fixing what is currently broken and by simply responding to complaints. Instead, try taking the time to clarify precisely what the ideal customer experience looks like. It is only after this optimal experience is defined that a sales team can take steps towards living up to that vision and delivering outstanding service. Knowing what success looks like will help all stakeholders take actions that will help keep things moving in the right direction.
- Provide Tailored Services
In a traditional consumer setting, it makes sense to map-out the customer journey so that sales solutions and customer service training can support this journey. However, with B2B focused electrical distribution sales, it becomes a bit more complicated. While a basic customer journey map can still be valuable, all customer-facing personnel must also be willing to deviate from this and provide more customized services, based on the needs of the buyer. Taking time to design customer service practices around the way your customers operate is an easy way to make them feel valued.
- Respond to Customers in Real Time (Crazy, Stupid Fast)
Increasingly, customers are demanding some form of real-time communication to be available to them, allowing for instant responses to questions, queries, and issues. According to research from Salesforce, as much as 80 percent of B2B buyers expect some sort of real time interaction. Deploying a program like this can be as simple as having a defined telephone “call-back” policy with a set time limit, using an instant messaging platform, or utilizing a live chat application on your website. Providing customers with Crazy, Stupid Fast answers to their questions (or at least a speedy response to let them know that you’re working on getting them what they need) builds trust and lets customers know that providing them with good service is important to your distribution center.
- Invest in Customer Service Training
To deliver a great customer experience, you should consider investing in specific training for your not only your sales team but other departments as well. Today, every department is accountable for the customer experience and this means you should provide all personnel with the necessary training to meet and exceed customer expectations. In addition, many companies are creating coaching plans to ensure that individual team members can develop specific skills and improve their ability to serve customers.
- Consistency is Key
One of the keys to customer experience is consistency. Electrical buyers want to know what to expect when dealing with your business, and they also want to know that they are receiving the same level of service and support as your other customers. For this reason, distributors need to coordinate post-sale efforts and seek feedback from all departments to ensure that no aspect of the customer experience is lagging behind. When all departments are aligned on strategies and tactics to provide a high level of service, customers will know what to expect and they’ll receive a more cohesive experience.
To Sum Up…
Even electrical industry leaders in customer service have room for improvement. Each of these six best practices can get your company headed down the path toward enhancing how you serve customers. By merely having these types of conversations with your teams, you’ll begin to move toward improving the quality, and consistency of the service you provide. Focusing on these strategies will build loyalty among your customers and pay dividends for your business.
What are some of the things that your distribution does to examine and improve the way you serve customers? We’d love to hear from you! Please email your insights to firstname.lastname@example.org