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Do Your Customer Service Reps Have a Sales Antennae?

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There was an article a few years back featured in Mechanical, a magazine for the heating and air conditioning trade, and I often think of it when people ask me how their Customer Service team can help increase revenues.

The article was about a technician on the roof fixing a chiller. He was chatting to the building owner as he worked. “You know,” said the owner, “you’ve fixed this machine so often lately I could have replaced it with the money I spent. Maybe I should get a price from your company on a new one.”

The technician agreed, but left it at that. He didn’t ask any questions, he didn’t probe any further… nor did he give the sales department a ‘heads up’ when he got back to the office. No one followed up or called the customer. The customer took this silence as a lack of interest and called the competition. They got the replacement job, and sold the owner a maintenance contract on the new equipment. Not only did the original company lose a sale, they lost a customer.

We don’t expect our technicians to sell, but should we empower them to have a ‘sales antennae’? If we armed them with an ability to recognize a business opportunity when they see one and pass it on to the sales department, could they help keep customers and increase revenue? How many sales are we missing because our frontline people have the belief: “that’s not my job?”

Often, losing a customer is an invisible process. It’s not what we do; it’s what we don’t do. When sending your technicians, installers, delivery staff and operators into the field, have you prepared them to ask compelling questions to your customers?