Even—or especially—in tough economic times, investing in your organization’s customer service function is critical for your overall business and profitability strategy.
Savvy distributors are providing their service department with consultative selling skills training so they are able to:
1. better understand the customer’s pain points, and
2. use this information to maximize the value derived from purchased products and services
Being customer-centric has and always will be a theme for success. But in today’s overcrowded marketplace, its importance is more critical than ever.
Here are 3 Key Ways Excellent Customer Service Benefits Distributors
1. Helps You Achieve Higher Margins
Leveraging value-added services provides tremendous profit opportunities for distributors. This function of your business shouldn’t be viewed as an afterthought, but as an opportunity to increase sales. According to Aberdeen, margins generated by service-related activities can be as much as 10 times higher than those of initial product sales.
In recent years, there has been a change in the role of the service organization. No longer is service just about delivering support, but more and more it's about truly understanding your customer’s pain points and using this information to maximize the value derived from purchased products and services.
Some leading distributors are already generating half of their revenue from the service business, thanks to the disproportionately high profit margins of services compared to new-product business.
And as we all know, it’s much cheaper to service and retain current customers than to acquire new customers.
2. Increases Customer Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty
Part of a good customer focus is understanding what customers are unable or unwilling to do themselves, and providing that service for them. An effective customer service function that delivers needed parts and services without delays or mistakes will keep your customers delighted. An easy, positive customer experience before, during, and after the sale increases customer loyalty to your company and improves your chances for referral business.
Best-in-class distributors are continuously raising the visibility and stature of service within their organizations. As a result, they’re able to align themselves as solution partners with customers. This leads (of course) to increased customer satisfaction, along with the development of more strategic, long-term relationships.
3. Differentiates You from the Competition
As a distributor, commoditization of your products has never been more of a threat than it is today. When you can’t easily differentiate the features of your product, it’s necessary to go above and beyond with the customer service you provide.
Customer service and support is a major selling point for prospective buyers who are choosing a brand to partner with. The products your clients purchase from you are often incredibly complex. That complexity puts timely maintenance and repair in high demand, and it will only increase as your products become even more specialized. Prioritizing the customer service role and your organization’s ability to provide service after the sale is critical for building a niche image and gaining a competitive advantage in your industry.
The consultative approach your salespeople should be using, coupled with the services your organization provides post-sale, will build value in the eyes of your clients and allow you to outsell lower-priced competition on a consistent basis.
An intentional customer service strategy can help your organization stand out in a crowded sales environment, keep your current customers satisfied, and open new revenue streams many distributors have neglected. With the right plan in place, service can easily become your competitive advantage. To be truly effective with this function, you must have a well-established sales culture across your entire organization.
Your service and support team must have strong consultative selling skills and the ability to build value in order to maintain and improve your repeat-purchasing and cross-selling rates. It’s also highly beneficial to have a common sales language established, which allows the customer service staff to work in tandem with the frontline sales team.
The IMPACT Selling® system is a six-step, buyer-focused sales process that allows salespeople to differentiate from the competition, sell value, and command premium prices. Learn more about how IMPACT can benefit your entire distribution sales organization.