No one ever questions why there are separate sales and support departments. That’s just the way businesses have always been structured, right?
There was a time when you’d walk into a shop and enjoy the 1:1 service of its owner throughout the entire experience.
There was no sales department. No support center. It was a simple customer experience that hinged on exceptional service.
Then the internet changed everything.
Instead of the limited shop experience, consumers gained access to a world of product and service choices. But the world of choices came at the cost of 1:1 service.
The separation of sales and support was the imperfect organizational answer to balancing internet availability and 1:1 service.
No matter what industry you’re in, the gap between sales and support forces you to grow your business in ways that don’t align with consumer expectations.
Brands Focus on the Wrong Sales/Support Challenge
Brands spend too much time trying to optimize the relationship between sales and support.
You think that if you just find the right balance, you’ll deliver a customer experience that stands out.
There are even studies examining the correct ratio of sales to support agents.
But this is a dilemma that we’ve built ourselves. While you spend countless hours optimizing sales and support departments, customers just see a single entity.
No matter how well you align your sales and support departments, they’ll never provide the same experience as the shopkeepers from years ago.
And that’s the real issue.
When brands could differentiate themselves on product and price, internet availability reigned supreme. Customer experience was important, but it paled in comparison to convenience and availability. Now, internet availability is the expectation and customers are seeking unique, personal brand experiences once again.
The way you interact with customers is coming full circle and maintaining the sales/support divide won’t lead to success.
How Can You Evolve Beyond the Sales/Support Divide?
Step one is admitting there’s a problem with the gap between sales and support. But then what?
The next step is to find a way to bring sales and support back together to deliver personal, 1:1 customer experiences that don’t sacrifice internet availability.
Stay tuned for the second part of this concept where I’ll talk about how you can facilitate these lifetime customer conversations for your own brand.
But if you want a head start on learning to facilitate the lifetime customer conversation, download our free white paper, Bringing Chatbots into the Customer Conversation.