Key performance indicators have been around longer than there’s been a name for it. They have to do with the process of measuring performance based on actions taken or processes put in place. As with any aspect of the production or sales process, there is no one set of KPI factors that work ideally in every situation.

There are, however, some basics that are likely to be in the mix of any KPI evaluation for sales performances. Some are obvious, while others may take a moment to see the connection.

The bottom line is that the value of solid customer service and support never go out of style and continue to have a positive impact on sales performance for those who practice these elements well. The resulting KPI numbers should make your sales manager happy.

Here are some ideas on how to harness the power of customer service and improve sales effort overall.

Educating Your Customer Service Team

Educating Your Customer Service Team

The customer service (CS) team is not just there to answer simple questions or function as the first line of contact when someone has a complaint or question. The members of that team in many ways are responsible for maintaining and building upon the rapport that a salesperson has cultivated. In order to do that, your customer service representatives must be educated about the company, it’s products, and it’s policies and procedures.

Customer service often takes on faces that you may not realize. For example, maintaining customer relations properly involves being able to quickly respond to queries, or at least to set a specific time by which to provide the customer with an answer.

It also involves being mindful of other products and services the customer could use but doesn’t realize it yet. Mentioning those products and offering to have a salesperson contact with more detailed information is easier if your CS team understands what products you offer and how they work. Being knowledgeable and sensitive to the customer’s needs certainly increases the potential for upselling to take place.

And we should all be able to agree that upselling is a good thing in the retail world.

Key Takeaway: Your live agents are part of your sales team. Make sure they are aware of that.

Pairing Customer Service Reps With Salespeople

Increase Your Sales KPIs through Better Customer Service

Did you know there is a sales and support model that involves pairing your customer service reps with specific salespeople so they work together as a mini team within the team? This makes for a more effective way to share data about customers or prospects who have called in with questions. The information collected during that call could include something that would help the salesperson increase rapport and move the effort faster through the sales cycle.

As an additional perk, clients feel more appreciated when they have specific people to contact with their questions and concerns. When they know a certain service rep will help them, and who their sales contact is, they are less likely to shop around for a new vendor or supplier. It’s all about personal connection.

Key Takeaway: Don’t separate Sales and Customer Support departments. Connect them.

Customer Service Access to Client Information

Customer Service Software with built-in CRM and Email Marketing integration

How do you provide access to client data? The answer will determine how easily your customer service rep can help a client and in turn enhance the sales effort. If you don’t have it in place right now, some type of customer service software platform capable of capturing and sharing data with the sales database is a good idea.

This approach allows the rep to quickly review any notes the appropriate salesperson has posted. It also allows the salesperson to see notes the rep made about the customer query.

The result is that the client or prospect doesn’t have to repeat the question again, even when talking with someone in either department. That’s one more way of building rapport and increasing the odds of more sales.

Key Takeaway: Make data available to everyone. You will save time/money in the end.

Customer Service Begins With a Reliable Web Host

Customer Service Begins With a Reliable Web Host

While you may not immediately associate your website, and by extension, web host, with your internal customer service and sales efforts, this is actually a great place to begin. In today’s world, it’s highly likely a consumer will spend time online researching a company before visiting.

Even if you make the initial contact, rest assured those potential customers will conduct research on their own before spending any real time discussing the possibilities with you.

So what’s the connection? Your web host must provide support that allows the customer to enjoy the experience. That, in turn, means you should consider several factors before choosing this important business partner.

Testing conducted by helps companies who don’t know the first thing about hosting identify the important metrics to consider when evaluating leading providers. Those metrics include:

  • Speed - the host’s ability to load pages faster increase the odds that readers will not get frustrated waiting for the information they seek to come up.

  • Low Percentage of Downtime: if the site’s down, those potential clients can’t see it. There’s no guarantee they will make a second attempt. You want the site up and running with little to no downtime.

  • Quick Turnaround When There’s an Issue: the quality of customer service your web host provides indirectly affects your brand and the potential to make sales. When they are slow to respond, there’s only so much your customer support team can do. Make sure you choose one that provides 247 customer service and more than one way to reach out.

If you cultivate a mindset that all facets of your operation are interrelated and ultimately result in meeting or exceeding client expectations, it’s easier to see how your web host selection has a direct impact on customer service efforts, especially in the sense that technical reliability improves the odds of building the rapport that leads to turning leads and prospects into paying customers.

Key Takeaway: Start with basics. Slow website = no customer request = no entry points for sales.

Listening When Customer Service Reps Talk

Internal Chats right inside your multi-channel help desk will help you get oriented quicker

Many customer accounts have been salvaged thanks to the quick thinking of a customer service rep. It usually involves picking up on what the client is not saying as much as listening to the words that actually emerge. When a rep approaches a salesperson and mentions something that he or she picked up on while interacting with a client or prospect, it’s good to listen.

For example, there may be minor frustration with the way a service works. By noting that the level of frustration seems to be greater than the client is letting on, the rep is in a position to talk with the salesperson and suggest that a slightly enhanced service would resolve the issue.

This results in a salesperson retaining an account that otherwise might have been lost, likely generates more sales volume thanks to the rates of that enhanced service, and also has a new ally who’s happy to recommend the company and its services to others. All this happened because the customer service rep had a hunch and passed it on to a salesperson who put it to good use.

Key Takeaway: Internal communication is as important as external towards your audience.

Hiring for Customer Service

Hiring for Customer Service

By now, the case for the positive effect of good customer service on the bottom line has been presented. The reality is that not everyone is suited for such positions. Traits to pay attention to while interviewing job applicants include:

  • Positive - they smile easily (face-to-face or on the phone is equally important)
  • High EQ - naturally mirror body language and tone
  • Empathetic - listen first and validate the complaint

Some people are good at this kind of thing and others simply aren’t. The concept of Emotional Quotient (EQ) has come into vogue in recent years, but managers should give it serious consideration as something more than a seminar gimmick. A quick definition would be how well one understands emotions in themselves and in others and can naturally interpret and adjust behavior accordingly to reach the best possible outcome given any random situation.

In short, we’re talking about the people who seem to “get” everyone else and know exactly what to say and when. While those with high EQ probably have an innate grasp on the concept, it’s not impossible for a person to improve in this area with practice and coaching.

But keep in mind it’s easier to hire high EQ than develop it.

Key Takeaway: Impact of customer service on Sales KPIs starts right during the hiring process.

Take Advantage Of User Tracking Software

Hiring for Customer Service

When using user tracking software such as Albacross you are already one step ahead. It’s even better if you share it with your customer service team. They are usually better informed about customer requests or the name of the companies that have already contacted the support department.

Simple checklist how Albacross can improve your Sales KPIs when used by Customer Service department:

  • Let your agents tag your customers
  • Let your agents filter spammers and not interested prospects
  • Make your agents inform salespeople about tickets by hot prospects
  • Group all tickets generated by certain company members
  • Map most common requests and segmentation filters
  • Filter out non-transactional landing pages such as knowledge base so sales can focus on most important prospects first.

The Bottom Line

While good customer service might be considered a nebulous concept, never underestimate the impact it can have on the bottom line KPIs that drive revenue. Maybe the sales staff receives the lion’s share of fortune and glory, but smart managers appreciate the contributions of the support team, especially those on the front lines of customer service.

Try Albacross

Matej Kukucka

Matej Kukucka

Senior Growth Marketer at LiveAgent

Matej Kukucka is Senior Growth Marketer at LiveAgent, a help desk software that helps companies with customer service.
Previously he was Digital Marketing Manager at Fleming and Digital Marketing Specialist at LIFARS. In his free time, he is working on e-learning solution Marketing Player, checking new SaaS solutions or playing chess.