Unless you were hired to be a customer service representative, you are not supposed to be doing customer service. If you weren’t hired to follow up on every operational issues, be it an incorrect invoice, a shipment, or some other failure, this work is not for you.
Make no mistake here, you do own the outcomes you sold your client. You are responsible for ensuring their success with what you sold them. If you want an absolute right to the next deal, you have to earn that right by making sure your client gets first class service on their first deal with you. That said, you do not own the responsibility for all the transactions that make up that outcome, most of which you have nothing to do with, and with good reason: you are not in operations.
What is most important to recognize here is your role and your responsibility. If you are not selling because you are doing operational work, then no one is selling. If no one is selling, then the future clients that you are supposed be pursuing and gaining for the organization are not being pursued or gained.
When you are retyping an invoice or calling to follow up on a shipment, you are not selling. Your operations team, the people who are supposed to be doing these things, are not selling either.
Your operations team doesn’t pick up the phone and cold call for you while you are correcting an invoice. They don’t nurture the relationships with your dream clients for you, sharing some insight that is going to gain their attention and establish you as the person with the ideas and ability to help them produce better results.
The operations people aren’t sitting in discovery meetings, asking to meet additional stakeholders to collaborate and build consensus around the right solution, presenting ideas and proposals, or negotiating the terms of a deal, and asking for the commitment to buy.
If you are not doing this work, it is not being done for you. This is true even if you are doing someone else’s work for them.
I am not suggesting that you are not part of a team, and that you shouldn’t be a team player. By all means, take the first call from the angry client before passing off the responsibility to correct whatever went wrong to the person responsible for correcting it. Make the follow up call to ensure your client got what they needed. In between these two calls, give the tasks to the people who own them, so you can get back to selling.
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Filed under: Sales Acumen