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Survey Finds Sales Focus Lacking in Contact Centers

February 20, 2009

The level of quality service delivered by the contact center can have a significant impact on the company’s ability to gain and maintain a strong customer base. This same level of service is expected from the customer whether they are calling the contact center for a problem or to make a purchase.


While such an approach to retaining customers is a key strategy for a number of businesses, a recent survey suggests that maybe this approach is not the best. As a result of its research, consultancy firm Huthwaite believes that a focus based purely on service could be damaging.

According to Huthwaite’s Annalise Cuthill, taking the focus away from sales is a mistake made by many companies: “Sales belongs at the heart of the business, as commercial philosophy and not a department.

If companies are to go beyond simply adding value to creating value - truly understanding customers and anticipating their needs - everyone within the business needs to appreciate their role in the sales process and how their behavior can impact positively on the bottom line," Cuthill added in a company statement.

While a focus on the sales process is important – after all, there is service involved in that too – consumers still base buying decisions on the quality of service they receive. This survey revealed that poor customer service was causing 39 percent of respondents to think about switching suppliers.

Surprisingly, product or service differentiation had very little to do with customer churn or retention as just seven percent of respondents cited that as a reason to leave a company. Such insight can be vital for those companies investing significant amounts of resources into achieving differentiation. 

This survey reveals that there are varying opinions in the industry as to whether or not the contact center has a productive focus. While it has shown that a focus on the sales process is essential for continued success, it does not suggest that service should be forgotten altogether. Instead, organizations may be more successful if they had a more direct link between service and the sales process.

Too often, other divisions of the company will forget that without sales, there would be no customers to support. By more closely aligning the sales process with customer service and support, the company is more likely to enjoy a growing revenue base while the customer receives a consistent and enjoyable experience. Such an approach is sure to produce long-term, sustainable growth no matter the market.  

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for ContactCenterSolutions and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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