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Firms falling short with after-sales service due to unskilled staff

8th Oct 2010
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Businesses are undermining their customer experience by putting too little emphasis on after-sales service, often making relatively unskilled staff responsible for handling this care.

Sales expert Andy Preston, MD of sales performance training company Outstanding Results, believes that organisations are putting too much focus on the staff who initially provide sales or service to customers, with little thought for those responsible for influencing subsequent sales.
In most cases, once the deal is closed, the account is usually handed over the customer care team or for those buying a service such as cleaning, to the front of house staff. This means that very rarely to customers maintain relationships with the initial person who sold the product or service in the first place.
And while the hand-off may seem like a logical process, often those staff who are tasked with nurturing the relationship don’t have the skills necessary to successfully bring in the business.
"Increasingly, I am seeing that traditional sales methods and responsibilities are being put into the hands of people who haven't been trained in sales techniques, such as marketing, admin or some aspects of customer care. Often these people end up stumbling into sales as part of a different role and this could mean that vital opportunities for up-selling, cross-selling and repeat purchases could be jeopardised if the customer is not happy with the ongoing service they receive," explains Preston.
Preston believes that the biggest cause of dissatisfaction after the initial sale is that the level of service they receive after is radically different to what they received from the trained and experienced salesperson. The result is that the customer has elevated expectations of how they feel they should be treated afterwards.
He warns: "Very rarely do customers get the level of after sales service they anticipated and when expectations aren't met, they are very quick to search for alternative providers. If you happen to be in a highly competitive market then this could leave the business very vulnerable."
Preston advises that businesses must ensure that staff in these roles understand the principles of good selling and understand how to interact with the customer to ensure they remain loyal and continue to buy in the future. And he warns that with concerns remaining over the economy, businesses should put extra emphasis on this.
"The market is tough at the moment and so showing why a customer should buy from you and continue to buy from you has never been more critical," he says."It seems crazy that businesses pay through the roof to secure a good salesperson to bring in the business, yet don't think about whether the delivery driver, shop assistant or cleaner equally understands the role they play in influencing future sales."

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