From sales to service, the apple way
From the humble beginnings of a one-man band to then expand, take on more team members and grow the product range and customer base a real focus particularly in the MSP sector is to focus on ensuring your operations are bullet proof, nothing can fall through the cracks, have no cracks! And time, resources and money are spent in this effort, and overtime your service becomes exceptional and your customers are happy and you grow, it’s great, however forgetting to invest the same efforts in your handover from the very differing characters of sales and service desk can leave you short, having seen it personally and heard many stories from every industry it is always at the point of sale that your performance needs to be seamless, it is at this point that however good your ongoing service is to an existing customer with great results failure to deliver perfectly at the sale could leave your account in jeopardy,
The function in hospitality of sales to service is a great model to follow, from the systems used to collect the sales (customer food order) through to the process in the kitchen right back to the delivery by the sales person of the completed order is as a sector pretty perfect, I can’t recall the last time I sat there just waiting, or receiving the wrong order or getting cold food, but when we order in many other sectors that have much lower expectations and more than often are more simple we are left wanting.
Let’s think about the impact, unhappy customers, delay in provision will be the underlying cause preventing them the ability to get on, confused and frustrated operations team, finance uncertain, not a great way to run a company and rectified through applying some straight forward processes and technology to support the process. There is further impact of course when not using the most effective systems and that is poor productivity, sales performing administrative tasks that are not the best use of their time and as such are sometimes ignored leaving the process in more of a mess.
If we consider the process, customer orders from a quote, sales tell whoever is responsible for deliver to take next steps, there maybe 3 parties involved, procurement, finance and operations. They each in turn have their own processes to carry out, typically sales person will have 3 sales in the pipeline and their driver is to get the next one over the line, not to jump through a load of hoops to ensure the latest sale is delivered correctly. So inevitably we hit issues, procurement is rushed, and the cost of goods are not correct, finance send down payment for wrong products and operations have barely enough information to know what to do. What can we do….?
Having a process to support seamless transition of sales is key but aligned must be a system that can support the process and automate the admin and workflow the gaps that could appear.
We have engaged as an organisation to make this process super slick, this was achieved over a few years and learnt the lessons the hard way, but needless to say by employing technology that notifies the team when process is missed to automating the close of a quote has meant we have customers that get what they want when they want and don’t experience delay, finance team with clarity and a procurement team with confidence to order and lastly an operation team that have no need to go back and forth with sales until they understand what has been sold and the expectations of the sale.
If you have experience like this let me know and we can provide some answers to this issue.