It’s amazing that some companies isolate customer service from everything else in the company — sales, technology, marketing. Doing so can be detrimental to your business. Let me explain with an example.
I had a medium grade fancy coffee maker. I was pretty happy with the quality of coffee (it was one of those you had to buy coffee pods for). But my customer service and user experience were poor enough to make me sell it and buy another brand.
Needing to reorder coffee, I clicked an advertisement the company had sent me via email. I ordered some of what was on sale, then clicked to another page to buy other items not on sale. Wait–my cart was now empty. What gives? After a few attempts I realized they hadn’t bothered to connect the sales page to the rest of the site so that you could add items from any page to your cart in one order. Wanting to give them a chance, I figured it out and placed my order.
A day later I got an email from customer service. Some of the items I ordered were out of stock…only they couldn’t tell me which ones. I logged into my account and there was no record of my order, so I couldn’t remove the out-of-stock items and buy others. I went through this process two times before cutting them out of my life forever. Dramatic, I know, but if you’re a coffee lover/drinker, you get it.
My point: Why didn’t customer service know which items were out of stock, and why couldn’t they suggest other items for me? They already had my sale at that point, so it would have been easy to get me to spend more. They weren’t connected to the order intake department, so they couldn’t help. Do you want this to be your customer service department’s problem?
You might not see why your sales department should know what’s going on in accounting, but it’s better that they do. Good ideas are bred when people from different departments work together, and this can also make your customer service more efficient.
And speaking of customer service, make sure they have contacts in each department so they can solve customers’ problems. A simple call to the sales team or Internet team would have solved mine, but instead they lost a customer who complains loudly online. Their loss.
How can you connect your departments to improve customer service? It can be as simple as holding a company-wide meeting once a month or sending a regular email with news from all departments. Have people get to know key contacts in other departments so they are enabled to help the customer, which should be every team member’s goal.
How are your departments set up? Do they speak to one another and have visibility into what the other departments are doing? Why or why not?