When Sales and Customer Service Collide

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how sales and customer service combine to create an experience — hopefully a positive one. And then, by coincidence, one of our loyal subscribers, Heidi Reslow, shared a story about someone buying a new car. As I read the story, I realized the salesperson didn’t just sell a car. She created an experience for her customer. This is where sales and customer service collide. And by the way, you will enjoy this story even if you’re not in sales.

Here’s the short version. Brian Knight, a professional speaker on team performance, posted the story on his blog. It opened with this statement: “I bought a new car yesterday. It almost didn’t happen but for an extraordinary effort from a woman named Suzanne.”

Brian and his family needed a car. After doing some online research, he found a dealership (the Genesis dealership in Littleton, Colorado) that had what he wanted. After visiting the dealership and talking to Suzanne, the salesperson, it was too late to make the deal. But even though the next day was Suzanne’s day off, she said she would come in to do the paperwork. Unfortunately, Brian couldn’t leave home to meet her at the dealership. Without missing a beat, Suzanne said she would come to the house with the car.

Some might say she was a hungry salesperson who would do almost anything to get the sale. That may be true for some, but at the time, there was a shortage of cars. The dealer just needed to stay open, and customers would come in and buy. Suzanne could have said, “I’m sorry. If you can’t come in tomorrow, I can’t guarantee someone else won’t come in and buy the car.” And, by the way, that is what probably would have happened.

But Suzanne wanted to take care of her new customer, not just sell him a car. Suzanne created an experience — one that Brian wanted to share with the world. And he has.

The demand for cars hasn’t always been this crazy. Just a few years ago, it took great effort to get a customer to come in and buy a car. Dealerships would advertise and negotiate to make a sale. And here is where the story gets better.

When Brian was in Suzanne’s office the first time, he noticed a massive trophy with her name engraved six times — next to the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Brian asked about the trophy, and Suzanne confidently said, “Salesperson of the year. I’ve never lost.” And it’s Brian’s prediction that she’ll win again in 2022.

The point is that sales and service are so tightly intertwined that they combine to create an experience. Customer service is not what happens when things go wrong. It happens throughout the entire experience, from the moment a customer just thinks about doing business with you until they do. Then it starts all over again when the customer comes back. And that’s what selling with service is all about. Create the experience that gets customers to not only buy today, but will also say, “I’ll be back” tomorrow.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times, bestselling business author. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

Originally published at hyken.com on October 5, 2022

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Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken, customer service expert, business speaker and New York Times bestselling author, helps companies deliver AMAZING customer service and experiences!