CSR’S CHANGING ROLE — GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
6) Obtaining updated customer profiles.
This entails gathering names, titles and e-mails for company communications (including self-promotion) to a target account’s “enlarged buying centers.” Most graphic communications organizations do not have an updated mailing list or e-mail directory. More importantly, the design of that directory does not call for “the enlarged buying center,” which includes your target account’s president, CFO and director of sales and marketing, along with the buyer’s assistant and supervisor.
7) Preparing materials for “new buyers.”
Buyer turnover is a primary cause of customer attrition. Developing a renewed working relationship with new buyer personnel is required if customer turnover is to be reduced. Sales reps should stay on the road, and usually aren’t the best at organizing such programs. A CSR trained in organizing “new buyer program” materials will not only improve the sales rep’s productivity, but also impact customer retention and future revenue streams.
8) Preparing materials and the agenda for an all-important Periodic Business Review.
Periodic Business Reviews (a.k.a. PBRs) are slowly becoming expected. The degree to which they are prepared and implemented drives their effectiveness. A small, but growing, number of companies are institutionalizing the PBR, having experienced profound revenue and margin improvement from salespeople willing to “push the activity.”
CSRs should not only participate, but be an integral part in their preparation and agenda development.
9) Handling bad news.
Most of us have observed at least one case where a salesperson failed to notify the customer of something that wasn’t going to happen when promised. The CSR knew, but believed it was the salesperson’s role to “make the call to the customer.” However, if the supplier’s reputation is an outgrowth of performance and communications, and the CSR has more day-to-day contact with the customer than anyone else, then who do you think the customer might have expected to hear from? Certainly making unpleasant calls to the client is a challenge, but not making such a call isn’t the answer. And I submit that reliable CSR communications are a primary reason that customers stay with a current supplier.