February 5, 2020

Customer Service as a Sales Funnel

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Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]

Overview

If you’re like most businesses, then your sales almost exclusively define your success. Hence, the need to optimize your sales funnel.

Albeit, successful selling isn’t the job of your sales reps only. Customer service is a sales channel too.

US businesses lose about $62 billion every year to poor customer service. Also, 51 percent of customers admit they will never patronize a company again after one bad experience.

Experts believe increased customer satisfaction can help to boost online and offline sales.

Harvard Business Review says that gaining new customers is five to 25 times more costly than keeping them. Furthermore, a five percent customer retention rate can boost profits by 25 percent to 75 percent.

A sales funnel is critical, but it must be customer-centric or it’ll fail.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can leverage customer service data to drive business growth.

Customer Service as a Sales Funnel


Image Credit: HubSpot. The customer flywheel model as explained by HubSpot

Before now, existing customers were an afterthought of the sales process. Today customers are at the center of it.

Your sales funnel is the process your buyers go through before they buy your product.

While some buying processes are fast, others are lengthy. Lengthy sales funnels would require long processes in research, negotiation, and purchase.

The typical sales funnel begins with the awareness phase, where the prospect becomes aware that the product or service exists.  Next is the interest phase, where the prospects show interest in the product and thus conducts research.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Next is the evaluation phase. Here, the prospect analyzes the product and compares it with alternative solutions. During the decision stage, the prospects make a final purchase decision and begin negotiations with your company.

The customer buys the goods and services during the purchase phase. In the re-evaluation phase, the customer decides whether or not to renew the purchase contract. Finally, the customer repurchases the product or service.

At every stage of the sales funnel, the goal is to convert the prospects to paying customers.

Similarly, the objective of customer care is to create customer experiences that will retain customers. Both customer service and the sales funnels work together to optimize revenue.

Why You Should Focus on Retaining Customers 

Let’s explore why customer retention is important for your business success.

  • Cost of customer acquisition: Acquiring a new customer is more expensive when compared to keeping customers. Businesses can save money by improving customer retention.
  • Referrals: Customers are more connected than ever before. Happy customers will most likely provide referrals from friends, family, and other connections. In contrast, an unhappy customer will tell the world. Positive reviews and referrals can impact sales and bottom-line.
  • Upgrades and upselling opportunities: Nurturing customer relationships can drive consistent and repeat purchases. Also, you can harness opportunities to upsell or cross-sell to your existing customers. Upselling means selling upgrades to current products. And cross-selling is selling additional or complementary products.

You need to consistently communicate and offer support to your customers. Tools like emails, social media, calls, chats, self-service, and others come handy here.

Also, you need data to measure critical sales and customer service metrics. Some critical metrics include Average Revenue per Customer

  • Customer lifetime value (LTV)
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Average Response Time
  • Customer Contact Rate

Using Customer Service Data to Drive Business Growth

Data is Life, and it is easier to access data than ever before. You can collect import customer service data from

  • Chatbots
  • Emails
  • Phone calls
  • Personal contact

Leveraging customer service data can help you

  • Improve customer experiences
  • Discover new revenue sources
  • Optimize sales from existing portfolios

Improving Customer Experience


Image Source: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Using data from AI helps you improve customer service and deliver fantastic customer experiences. More specifically, AI empowers you to

  • Provide personalized services
  • Minimize assumptions
  • Improve customer response time
  • Boost customer satisfaction

Throughout the sales funnel, you can use data to display tailored content at the right time and through the proper channels.

More so, by delivering the right products and proactive customer support, you can gain customer loyalty. Consequently, you’d reduce customer churn as satisfied customers are less likely to leave.

Developing New Revenue Sources

You want to understand your customers’ needs, pain points, and resolve them. Doing this nurtures the relationship you have with them.

Furthermore, you can analyze customer pain points and needs to discover new product ideas. If these products are viable, you’d create them to help meet your customers’ needs.

You can kill two birds with one stone here using their feedback. Help your customers draw value from their purchase. Uncover new revenue channels for your business.

This symbiotic relationship you enjoy from customer feedback is called ‘Customer Success Strategy.’ The strategy focuses on working proactively with customers to improve their experiences.

Increasing Sales


Image Credit: Tumisu via Pixabay 

The internet has changed the dynamics of customer-brand interactions. Customers want quick and personalized experiences. Since they have a wide range of product and service options, they can easily switch to a competitor.

These customers are also well connected. Thus they can share their experiences in person or over social media.

Negative customer experiences and reviews can dent your brand image and lower sales. One negative review can cost your business 22 percent of your customers and three bad reviews can cost you 59 percent of your customer base!

On the contrary, happy and loyal become repeat customers; they are first to purchase your new products and referral more buyers. Personalized interactions 

  • Customer engagement
  • Drive-up sales and revenue
  • Improve customer loyalty
  • Brand image

Use Customer Service as a Sales Funnel

Customers are at the center of your sales funnel. Therefore, creating an incredible customer experience should be your strategic focus.

Your sales and customer service processes both require maintenance to avoid revenue leakages. With valuable customer service data, you grow and sustain your business.

Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

    Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

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      As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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