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Three quick tips to ensure you’re not getting in your own way

Customer-facing employees face a tremendous amount of pressure to keep customers happy, close sales, and earn customer loyalty. Customer-facing employees can include those individuals who are specifically tasked with handling customer inquiries, complaints, and problems; it also includes sales representatives. While there is a lot to know about handling more sensitive customer issues in the role of the service representative, the sales team must also be equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively interact with potential buyers.

The impact of great – and, conversely, poor – customer service is well-known. According to Microsoft, 58% of customers will switch companies after receiving poor service. When customer service is considered very poor, Qualtrics XM Institute reports that only one in five customers would forgive a negative experience with that company. When customer service is rated as very good though, this number goes up to four in five.

Are you insured with great service?

Put simply, it’s evident from decades of surveying and researching customers that customer service is often a defining factor in where they choose to spend their money. Additionally, it’s clear that excellent service provides an insurance policy of sorts for organizations – while no one should be aiming to make mistakes, delivering consistently great customer service to prospective and repeated buyers means that these customers are more likely to forgive mistakes that might accidentally occur.

Given the emphasis placed on good customer service, many organizations commit to training their service team only. By doing this, organizations neglect to equip other customer-facing team members with the necessary skills to navigate customer relationships even though any individual that interacts with a customer can impact the customer’s perception of the business.

With this in mind, organizations will want to consider what more they could be doing to support their sales representatives to ensure they are as effective as they possibly can be. Typically, sales teams may be told to focus on important skills and priorities including:

  • Upselling the customer
  • Encouraging the customer to agree to a subscription-based service
  • Convincing the customer to check out newly released products

While these are certainly important focuses for a sales representative, no amount of upselling or convincing will win over a customer if service-related mistakes are being made. Sales teams should be encouraged to consider their own practices and ask themselves: might I be sabotaging my own sales? To start, here are three common practices sales representatives should be aware of.

HubSpot Video

Undermining your credibility

Without realizing it, sales representatives may be convincing customers NOT to buy simply because of their word choice. There are a number of common words and phrases that reduce the effectiveness of a salesperson’s conviction and confidence. While seemingly harmless, these common habits can hurt the salesperson and the company’s credibility.

These credibility busters include phrases like ‘Can I be honest with you?’ and ‘If you want the truth…’ While they seem like innocent phrases that we commonly throw into the conversation without much thought, they can cause the customer to wonder if you haven’t been honest all along. Luckily, once an individual is aware of the effect that these phrases have on their credibility in the eyes of the customer, simply removing them from your vocabulary will solve the problem.

Sure, sure, sure

It’s very common to use the same response over and over again without realizing it. It’s also an annoying and amateur mistake. While you may typically use the same word to indicate to a customer that you’re listening as they speak, the customer will assume that you’re on autopilot, responding in an ingenuine way. It can also come across as abrupt and unfriendly.

Rather than relying on the same old habits that might have you repeating the same word or phrase back to customers as they talk, develop a list of possible responses. Keep this list in front of you during customer interactions when possible and challenge yourself to vary your responses.


HubSpot Video
HubSpot Video

Weak, wimpy words

Just as certain phrases can undermine your credibility, there are specific words that come across as weak and ineffective when used with customers. They also reduce an individual’s effectiveness with customers by making them seem less confident.


To find out what words can be considered weak and wimpy and to learn 23 other helpful Basic Selling Skills for sales representatives, contact a ServiceSkills representative today to request a free demo.


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