…And other responses to service without Perspective
By KC Blonski
KC is AchieveGlobal’s Senior Director of New Business Partnerships - Sales. KC is responsible for a sales team focused on acquisition of new partnerships specific to identified vertical markets.
Some time back, a single customer service call became an overnight viral sensation – and not the sort of viral fame that any company hopes to achieve. In the now-infamous call, a customer called a cable provider and asked to cancel his service. For the next 20 excruciating minutes, the admirably calm customer attempted maneuver after maneuver simply to get the desired response from the customer service representative: to disconnect his cable service. The adamant rep’s repeated response was to ignore the customer and restart his sales spiel about why his company was number one in the market, and that no competitor could provide the level of service that they could provide.
Thankfully, this call and its viral notoriety are rare. Of the thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of sales calls handled every day, very few spiral out of control to the degree that this one did. Yet this acerbic exchange can be precisely the sort of result that comes from overly scripted sales pitches.
During the course of what’s now fondly referred to as “the sales call from hell,” the customer shares his awareness and frustration over the scriptedness of the rep’s responses. The customer declines to respond to one question, asks the rep to “check that box and move on to the next question.”
A recent MHI Global report examines the concerns that can arise when employees are restricted in their range of responses. Instead, service representatives should focus on being unique, and being better able to focus on people, instead of just profits for their company. We call it perspective, and it encourages employees to adapt to the different needs and responses of individual customers, effectively navigating the uniqueness of each selling situation and experience.
Among other things, we summarize perspective as having:
- the ability to collaborate with others
- instincts to know what to do when
- provide unique insight
One unfortunate reality is that the ill-fated rep likely thought he was just doing his job, and performing effective customer service by not allowing an existing customer an easy exit. This would have been a very different call, if his service training had included consideration of perspective selling. Instead of just sticking to the script, or to a suggested chain of strategies, he would have been equipped to make smarter decisions based on the tone of the evolving interpersonal interaction he was having with the valuable customer at the other end of the line.
To navigate the tremendously competitive selling environment, today’s sales associates need to be able to provide more than just generic answers or deploy shallow, template manipulative tactics. Customers want a real sense of partnership. They want help making decisions, and they expect responsiveness from the sales representatives with whom they interact.