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Difference between Sales and Customer Service

Customer service and sales are two of the most common aspects of a business. However, there’s some serious debate as to which does what. Don’t trust me?

Here are a couple of examples I found roaming the internet.

Sales vs. Customer service
Sales vs. Customer service

So let’s clear up this confusion once and for all!

What is Customer service?

Customer service, broadly speaking, means interacting with customers without the goal of making a sale. It can involve any number of interactions, from product support to pre-sales questions and everything in between. 

Customer service mostly deals with customers’ questions to elevate their experience with the brand, regardless of making a sale. It’s one of the distinct steps of the CRM process.

What is Sales?

Sales, on the other hand, deals specifically with closing deals and getting the revenue flowing. Compared to customer service, sales are much more goal-oriented, mostly because it’s very easy to measure.

The sales team’s job is to prime the customer to make the purchasing decision with the least room for second thoughts. 

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Difference between sales and customer service

Now, from the definitions, it’s pretty clear that service and sales perform very distinct roles. To compare them, however, we can use some clear factors and see how different they really are.

Provides benefits and outcomesProvides answers and solutions
It’s median step of the CRM processComes at the beginning or the end of the CRM process
Ultimate goal is revenue generationUltimate goal is customer satisfaction
Mostly focuses on prospecting customersMostly focuses on existing customers
Fuels customer intent and decisionFuels customer retention and reduces churn

Customer service and Sales in the future

Sales has always been the primary concern for businesses. That’s pretty obvious, considering it’s responsible for most of the revenue. But in modern times, service has also become a key factor for doing business. Customer perception is shifting rapidly, making product quality and benefits a secondary factor, as opposed to likable service.

Customer service is now the primary way to stand out from competitors. So the role of customer service is also fueling sales and customer retention for the long haul.

However, sales will always be the primary concern. But the role of sales managers and executives must diversify to include more customer service skills.

Wrapping Up

Customer service and sales can be considered two sides of the same coin. One brings in the customers, while the other helps customers get the most out of doing business with you. To actually succeed, businesses have to invest in both.

While the sales training process for sales executives is required, it’s still not as complex and demanding as training service agents. So counter-intuitively, you need to invest more on service training than in sales.

While you do this, keep in mind sales performance is easy to monitor, and customer service metrics are much more difficult. Mostly because the results come in the long haul and in much more subtle metrics than a pay cheque added to your account.

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