Sales is in customer service and customer service is in sales. Customer service is in relationship management and relationship management is in customer service. Sales is in relationship management and relationship management is in sales. Confusing? Not to worry. This is like an apparition that will require a harder view for comprehension. It is an intricate web in business that determines survival or extinct tendencies. One flows from the other.
You see, selling amongst other activities deals primarily with all enlightening, persuasive, positioning and convincing activities with a sure focus to achieve a sale. Sales stimulate the final exchange to the consumer. Customer service involves all integrated approach used to ensure an already won customer enjoys a pleasurable and memorable experience while patronizing your business geared towards achieving a repeat and/or sustained purchase. Relationship management simply deals with all the on-purchase and off-purchase activities used to secure a safe corner in a customer's psyche that will ensure your business becomes first choice of consideration should a need for a purchase arise. In fact it extends to customers turning to advocates should the engine of the relationship be well oiled.
Our world reality is that we are currently in a buyers' market. Buyers determine everything; from product type, to size and shape to packaging and to even price. They are highly sophisticated. They are very knowledgeable. No thanks to the Internet. Information and data is simply a click away. Competition sometimes crashes prices, opens up hidden facts, introduces new vistas, brings alternate views and finally crowns customers the kings they already are.
Deceptions and quick swindles belong to the distant past. Sales-focused and customer-centric organizations adjust their operations and research to focus on customer buying psychology. In fact most of them work with customers and prospects to determine product lines and types. Little wonder the big get bigger and smaller companies sell off or are quickly run over. (Remember NB PLC Vs Life Breweries; Coca Cola Vs Limca; MTN Vs many smaller networks)
Sales and customer-centric organizations preach sales, customer service and relationship management through and through in the entire business chain. The gate man insists on their products to family and relations just as the factory workers recommend theirs to friends and enemies to wit. It has simply nothing to do with the sales team or customer service personnel or the CEO. It is simply a sales oriented company. A culture and a standard practice. They venerate customers and prospects and make non users appear unknowledgeable, unsophisticated and backward. All NBL, Coca Cola, MTN and such other multinationals do this. Sadly, many of our local companies (especially manufacturing) with the exception of Dangote Industries are yet to truly realize this. For most, non-sales staff do not and are not required to know the company's products. Sales belong to a department or unit.
Someone said that you may manufacture a wonderful product or articulate a great service but if you don't sell it, you still have it. Products and services are all about sales, ensuring customers have great and wonderful experiences purchasing them and ensuring you woo them to return and have a relationship with your business. Growth follows any such business. Our competitive business world has made it so. Customers subtly insist on this and reality dictates so.
Sadly, all three work together. A sale without a great customer service will only be too lucky to experience a repeat or a sustained purchase. An exceptional customer experience will generate a repeat purchase but will not lead to increased sales or customers becoming your 'marketers' without relationship management efforts. Relationship management subtly binds and bonds customers to businesses psychologically. Inherent in a good relationship management is a great buying experience and a continuous guide towards beneficial decisions.