Do Predatory Sales Practices Hurt Companies?
Zoho's European Managing Director offers some insight
Practices such as ‘so, when do you want to get started?’ are old, and assuming someone is ready to spend money on your product is not a good sales tactic. Sales agents have always found creative ways to trick customers into spending money, although these practices are mostly frowned upon by ethical enterprises. There are some unethical players that use such tactics, which can be damaging in the digital age, something Sridhar Iyengar, Zoho’s European Managing Director, weighed in on:
“Seventy percent of customers make purchasing decisions before the salesperson ‘knocks the door’. Salespeople should bear in mind, customers may have already read about their product on review sites, compared prices online, and probably know the latest features they seek in a solution”
Offering insight into customer expectations, Iyengar told me, today’s customers expect high-quality experiences. He believes this is where systems allow customer-facing employees to understand more information about customers so they can use that information to add value to contextually-based sales, providing more personalized service experiences. He attributes great CX to establishing high consumer trust and loyal brand advocates, whereas predatory sales practices do the opposite.
Combatting Predatory Sales Practices
Iyengar said the key to combating these antiquated sales practices is that companies should deliver customer-focused sales strategies the entire organization is familiar with. “This may mean taking a long-term outlook around customer engagement, satisfaction, and retention. It could also mean sacrificing short-term gain for long-term benefits. It is no longer about closing a deal using any means necessary.”
Something that delighted me to hear from Iyengar is, we should shy away from focusing on measuring performance on ‘hard numbers.’ Doing this often leads to these kinds of predatory methods practiced by some in sales, in his experience. This can only result in an unhappy customer base which increases customer churn, he noted. While meeting metrics is important, organizations need to consider softer measurement to encourage employees to embrace a customer-focused strategy as Iyengar put it. “We have to act in the best interest of customers.”
On the Cusp of Contact Center Revolution
He agrees, customer engagement channels have evolved rapidly, creating what we know today as omnichannel. This implies customer-facing organizations and contact centers must provide a seamless, consistent, and speedy customer experience over the phone, emails, via social media, and chat.
“This is the kind of service customers expect today”
All this may suggest a growing number of organizations will migrate to the Cloud if they want this kind of agility. Finally, Iyengar said well-connected contact centers using a single platform should extend access to agents spanning the entirety of customer details in an instant, be it payment, sales details, contact info, previous interactions, or outstanding queries.
As a fellow Cloud migration champion, I agree with Iyengar. UC systems should be Cloud-based, as this will give agents the best chance at offering superb CX.