Service Matters for Sales Reps

Posted on July 15, 2012


Sales and customer service intertwine in many ways.  Professionals in both roles will tell you that the roles are not exactly the same.  People in pure customer service roles are going to oblige the customer more often than a sales rep.

Sales reps may justify poor service in the name of setting expectations, effective time management, and working with qualified prospects.  With all due respect, some of the above reasons may be valid for a sales rep to pick and choose who they work with.  Regardless of that fact, all reps must be polite and respectful of the customer, even when they have to say no.  Sales representatives are still responsible for customer service.  I have a great story as to why.

Months ago, I needed to purchase a widget.  I had purchased this type of widget before from both company Y and company Z.  The product was similar in specifications.  Company Y had a product of their brand.  Company Z had a product of their brand.  I was deciding between the two.

I was shopping around for two reasons.  First, it had been several years since I purchased a widget.  I needed to do new research.

Second, I liked company Y’s products, but there were things about company Y that were unfavorable.  For a few reasons, which I won’t discuss in detail, I was not completely sold on company Y.  I liked them, but did not love them.   As for company Z, I liked the company, but did not have enough information on their current product line.

The purchase decision would eventually come down to service from the sales professional.  From what I have spoken about so far, it may sound like an issue of price or product quality.  And those factors are crucial.  They were the reason for the call.  As Important as those were, the make or break issue was service.   The buying decision would come down to the answers I would get from the sales reps.

I spoke with two people at company Y.  Rep #1 was helpful but apathetic.  I kept shopping.  I spoke with a rep at company Z.  The rep at company Z had an opportunity.

I asked questions about their products and did not get answers.  I asked them to research the information and they did not.  They did not acknowledge my questions as valid concerns.  The representative could have gotten back to me with new information.   The rep chose not to.   Because of the lack of service, Company Z eventually lost the business.

I still was not completely confident with company Y or the rep I spoke with.  I spoke with a different rep.  This rep was far more courteous and professional.  I decided to book the order with this rep.  There was still a negotiating stage.  During that process, I left the purchase feeling good and that I received a good deal.

Here are a few things to note:

The rep at company Z lost the opportunity because of their lack of service, and poor treatment.

The rep at company Y won the business, based on being courteous and helpful.

Service always matters.