Sometimes the best way to figure out how to improve your sales customer support skills is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes; ask yourself, “If I had purchased this service, how would I want the sales rep to treat me?” Would you want the sales rep to sell you the product and then disappear? Chances are, no. You would want to feel like a valued customer, with a rep who is easy to get ahold of, who reaches out to you before problems arise, and who checks in frequently to make sure the service was working well and meeting your needs.
In other words, you would want the sales rep to offer proactive sales support.
The idea of offering proactive sales support, or any type of proactive service, is not a new theme in sales, yet it’s still not often implemented very well, and companies don’t always use the technologies available to help them really maximize their proactive sales efforts. Conversely, some companies rely too much on technology and become lazy – they use the technology to reach out to the customer, but they themselves don’t offer the personal touch that customers appreciate.
How can you offer the best proactive sales support possible? Is there a new technology that you haven’t heard of yet? You may be surprised to learn that there is a way to offer better proactive sales support, and it uses an old tool that’s been around for a long time in the world of sales. In fact, you’re probably already using it, though maybe not for proactive sales efforts. Have you guessed it yet?
Yes, old-fashioned metrics can help you improve future sales and offer over-the-top proactive customer support. We’ll explain how.
Metrics are a two-way street
Analyzing usage metrics gives you insight into how your customer is using your product. Do they favor certain features over other features? Are they low, medium, or high-users of your product? Do you use this data when you reach out to your customers to offer support? And, more importantly, do you share metrics with your customers so that they can see their activity? Companies such as LinkedIn, Dropbox, and Salesforce do a good job of sending customers emails and notifications filled with metrics showing what is going on in their network and offering tips for how to take advantage of additional features. This two-way metric sharing gives the sales team insight into what their customers are doing, and it empowers customers to understand how they are using the product. However, to really maximize metrics, take it a step further – offer a proactive personal touch.
How to use metrics proactively
Simply looking at your metrics, knowing what features your customers are using, and sharing this info with customers isn’t enough – it’s a good start, but to really use metrics for proactive sales, consider the following:
Figure out which metrics to track: Chances are, your sales tools will give you numerous metrics that can be tracked, but you need to sort out which ones are worth paying attention to. For example, if you are just looking at login rates, you may think that a lot of your clients are using your product. Dig deeper, though – of those who are logging in, who is engaging with the product? How long do they stay logged in? Do they explore and use other features? Look closely at your customers’ patterns to determine how they are using the product so that you can offer proactive assistance and tips.
Use a CRM tool to keep you organized: Most likely, you are working with a CRM tool to help you keep your customer accounts organized, but are you using the tool to keep track of metrics and help you track any issues, bugs, and inquiries? Put the power of your CRM tools to work by using the settings that will help you organize how you look at and respond to metrics.
Just because customers are using the product doesn’t mean everything is okay. If your metrics show that a majority of your customers are logging in frequently, don’t assume this means that they understand how the product works and are taking advantage of all of the features. Proactively reach out to your customers – both the high usage and low usage customers – to check in.
Metrics will show you trends. Pay attention. If you develop a habit of tracking metrics, you’ll start to notice trends with customers. Keep track of these trends to help you refine your strategy when approaching new customers, and for servicing your current customers. Metric trends can tell a good story, but you need to pay attention to the plot. You’ll most likely discover trends within industries and company sizes. Take advantage of these metrics, but keep in mind that each customer is unique, so still pay attention to their individual needs.
Use common sense and moderation: It is possible to take proactive customer service too far. Use your metrics to follow up with customers and reach out to them, but don’t be so zealous that you irritate your customers. For example, if you send out metrics to your customers, don’t overwhelm them with statistics; balance metrics with a personal phone call or email, and don’t bombard your customers with too much support.
Above all, use your common sense – remember to treat your customers how you would want to be treated. Metrics are a fantastic tool that can help you drastically improve your proactive sales support strategy, but using metrics still requires that you follow smart sales strategies.
Author Bio: Jodi Beuder, Customer Experience Advocate at Impact Learning Systems, believes customer service exists not just outside the company, but inside, too. “Having excellent customer service skills and knowledge are paramount to creating strong working relationships, whether you are in an office or out in the field.” With almost two decades in Marketing Executive roles, Jodi has dedicated her career to assisting companies grow their brand presence and sales, and most importantly, their customer retention and satisfaction.