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Divide and conquer: 4 tips for working with a client in the service business

Maria Zubareva, Head of Ingate Customer Service Department, shares her professional experience and gives tips on how to improve the process of interacting with clients in the field of service provision: why it is important to hire a separate specialist to collect debts, who should be entrusted with the sales and how not to get bogged down in routine operations
It happens that a client has worked with you for many years, became a friend and brother, and then turned around and went to competitors. And then another, and more. In this situation, it is logical to check the entire business process, starting with the quality of the service provided and ending with communications. But what to do when you have a great product and team, but the customers leave anyway?

Our company works in the digital field: we are engaged in search engine promotion, SMM and performance marketing. Revenues from regular customers are a significant source of profit, so we monitor the number of departures. When last year the percentage of withdrawals exceeded critical indicators for our business model, we began to look for errors in the customer service.

The problem lay in inefficient work. Accounts were so busy with routine operations that they did not have time to advise clients. The output was the separation of roles, which allowed not only to overcome the crisis, but also to increase sales by 5 times. We tell how companies quickly and on their own increase the efficiency of customer service.

Separate the collection of receivables as a separate function

In the service business, customer service employees are multi-armed Shiva. They solve customer problems, collect receivables and simultaneously sell. This is mistake. We also prepared special forces from our accounts until we realized that it was costly and pointless. The account manager must do one thing – to keep customers.

Free the account from the “accounts receivable”, create the position of an account receivable manager (A / R manager) for this work. If your business, like ours, works on an advance basis, the project work stops without prepayment. The task of a specialist in receivables is to duplicate accounts, if necessary, to draw the attention of the client to any changes, return him to the agreement on the timing and amount of payment.

Do not transfer current accounts to this position – most likely, they will get bored. Better to cope with people who are used to finding errors in accounts and checking reconciliation acts: former document managers, bank employees, collectors. Experimentally, we found that the specialist in receivables is effective in alliance with a working group of 6-7 accounts.

As a result, two birds with one stone were killed: they reduced the cost of collecting “accounts receivable” and unloaded account managers. Previously, 1,000 rubles of collected debt cost us 12 rubles, now it’s three times less. In addition, accounts that were exempted from collection work received an additional eight hours per month to solve the urgent problems of the client.

Conclusion. Free your account from collecting receivables. Let a specialist with experience in such work do this.

Create a specialist sales position

Despite a large customer base, specialists did not fulfill the plan for secondary sales in the low cost segment. Projects with a small check are conducted by beginners. Holding the attention of customers, they did not have time to sell, and if they found the time, they did not always manage. Then we released them from this role and handed over sales to experienced employees.

Assign secondary sales to a specialist with the right skills. We call it Business Development Manager (BDM), but you have the right to name it differently. BDM is a hybrid of account and sales. BDM sells, prepares commercial offers and concludes contracts – thus removes routine operations from accounts. Like the A / R manager, one reseller is attached to a workgroup of 6-7 accounts. BDM should be perfectly versed in the range of services, so it is easier to grow from competent accounts. Find a specialist with the ability to sell and strengthen his department. The key skill of such an employee is fearlessness. This compares favorably with the account, which always keeps in mind customer loyalty.

Imagine a problematic project. The client is dissatisfied with the results and makes complaints to the account. In this situation, the account is afraid to offer new services or increase the budget. But BDM knows: the best retention is resale. Without changes in the composition, set of services, with old introductory issues, the project problem cannot be solved. Accordingly, the expansion / change in the composition of services increases the “stickiness” to the company and positively affects the churn rate (coefficient of outflow of customers).

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