An IT Sales Support Success Story
December 7, 2009
In the small to medium business, I consider it a responsibility of your IT Leadership to be looking at, and communicating ways of making your business easier to work with.
Within that context, I recently had an experience with an SMB that is doing a better job of this than most of us! And this experience shows just how critical it can be to use IT to the fullest advantage when dealing with your customers.
Our software development team was looking for a software tool to improve some database management tasks. After some analysis, they chose some tools from Cambridge, UK based Red Gate Software.
To start, I first called that vendor to ask a few minor questions. (I actually spoke to a customer service rep right away – rare enough in itself!)
Then after my questions were answered – I said fine, I want to order.
The chap I was speaking with collected the usual contact and company information, and then we started the credit card process to purchase the software.
Ouch -we hit a wall. The credit card number was not accepted – I was told this was an occasional happening with North American cards being run by surprise through the UK.
Now here is the good part
The customer service representative I was speaking with said he would send me an e-mail with what was necessary to continue the transaction later. I was actually not sure what he meant, but I did receive the e-mail a few minutes later.
Once the credit card issue was cleared up, I took a closer look at that e-mail I had received.
Bingo! – IT Sales Support Success
That e-mail contained the information needed for me to log in to their customer account Web Portal. In brain dead easy fashion, that portal contained all the information that we had exchanged on the phone, the contact information, plus the products I was attempting to purchase, all still in the little ‘shopping cart’, ready to finish that sales transaction!
(As a confession, the CSR had done a good job on a minor up-sell, and even that up-sell part number was there too, again, ready to finish the sales transaction.)
All that I had to do was finish the check out.
As SMB vendors, Lets look at the benefits of this;
#1 as a customer; I did not have to call back on the phone, or go back to their web site, repeating all the information that I provided the first time.
#2 again as a customer; I did not have to go back through screens, links, or menu’s to choose the particular product numbers that I had already tried to order.
#3 as a vendor; Since they had already performed that part number up-sell, they were already prepared to capture incremental revenue. (If you were a gambler, what odds would you put that if I had to repeat the whole buying process, that I would have ended up picking that that same up-sell product number?) I would guess it would be pretty slim.
The SMB Takeaway
Red Gate has used their IT capabilities to instantly tie their customer communications into processes that improve the customer experience, and at the same time, can assist in both bottom and top line growth.
As a vendor this seamless capability has allowed them to;
Improve customer satisfaction and brand awareness by what basically was a one click finale to a transaction.
Reduce the cost of sales, by avoiding a repeat call, and increase incremental revenue by having that optional up-sell already there, just waiting to go.
I have zero knowledge on their incentive or compensation structure, but if there is any type of commission base, I can see improved employee satisfaction as compensation structures are not muddied by multiple individuals being involved in one sale.
Using your IT in providing a win for your customers, can provide a win for you too.
Disclosure: Red Gate has no knowledge of this post, and no recompense was made for writing it.
Photo Credit zizzybaloobah via flickr
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