Five questions you need to ask your sales team to find where you need to improve

Improving your business reputation starts with your training your staff on what good customer service looks like. Sometimes the difference between a good company and a great company is simply customer service.

To help ensure your customer service is working for you, here are some questions to ask your sales team that will help identify problem areas in your customer service model.

1) Are you putting the customer first?

Putting the customer first is a fundamental piece of building great customer service. A customer may have a complaint or issue that’s going to take up a large portion of your time or have a difficult request that you’ll have to do extra work on.

Whatever the case, it’s always important to remember the customer’s needs. The customer is the lifeblood of your business. If putting in some extra time to resolve a complex issue means generating a return customer, take the time to do so. You’ll be grateful later on when that customer comes back for another purchase.

Let your employees know that taking extra time for a customer is not only acceptable but also encouraged. When they see you focusing on customer service, and encouraging it, they’re more likely to follow your example.

2) How can I help us perform better?

It’s possible that your only improvement needs to be helping your employees reach their own goals or understand something they’re not familiar with. When you ask the question “How can I help us perform better?” you’re including yourself, and thus taking some responsibility for the problems at hand.

This is an important technique to keep employees from feeling down about poor performance. Simply saying “you’re not doing this right” or “how can you do better?” can be discouraging and disadvantageous for getting to the root of the issue.

Once you’ve gotten the employee’s perspective on the issue, it’s time to compare it with your own and find common ground. Now that you’ve identified similarities, you can make yourself and your team equal parts a solution to the issue.

Work with your team on what you discussed. Take their advice into consideration. Make them feel like they’re working with you to resolve issues and they’ll be much more open the next time they have a problem.

3) Do you understand the company’s expectations?

A miscommunication or lack of information can have a tremendous effect on the way your business operates. When you’re talking to your sales team, remember to ask them if they truly understand your expectations and those of the company.

Let your team know that the company functions the best when everyone is on the same page and working to meet expectations. You can set goals for each employee as well, providing the chance for friendly competition and something to strive for.

Have the company’s expectations in written form somewhere the employee can access them readily. You can keep a binder in the break room, or make sure employees know the link where they can find the handbook. Make sure to also offer a downloadable version in .pdf or another word format.

4) Are you noticing a trend in our complaints?

Your customer service staff will know better than anyone what your customers like and dislike about your brand. They’re on the front lines every day, handling complaints and compliments alike.

Ask your sales team if they notice a pattern in complaints (or compliments). By gaining their perspective, you can better pinpoint recurring issues and resolve them quickly. You can create a graph or presentations of any trends to share at the next meeting. Try screen sharing software for business meetings to make your meetings simpler and more efficient.

5) Are all of your needs being met?

Unhappy employees can cause a company to lack in customer service and performance. When you start asking about making improvements, you should ask your team if they have all the tools needed to succeed in their jobs.

Maybe your company has an outdated phone system that drops calls and makes speaking to customers over the phone difficult and frustrating. Or perhaps the internet isn’t as fast as it needs to be to handle everyone’s workload.

Once you’ve figured out what tools are lacking, go about upgrading them as soon as you can. If it’s not in the budget for the month, don’t sweat it. Just be sure your employees know you’re working on a solution and then follow through with that solution. 

With an upgrade in your tools and a wider perspective that includes your employees, you should experience a much greater effort from your sales team. The new tools will motivate and bolster their confidence, and your involvement in the solution will grant you their respect.

This question doesn’t only apply to customer service matters. Maybe your company’s health plan doesn’t offer mental health services, or the employee is unsatisfied with their pay. Asking the tough questions might require a little bravery, but they’ll let you know exactly what’s keeping your employees from their best performance.

Find what needs to be fixed – and take action

Great customer service is obtainable through good communication and mutual effort between you and your team. Ask the tough questions, and remember to include yourself in the solution process.

If your employees aren’t happy or don’t have the right tools to be happy, find out what you can do to accommodate them. These aren’t questions for a single occasion, either. You should be asking your employees these questions throughout the year, and especially when your customer service seems to be lacking. Stay informed and you’ll stay ahead.

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi