Improving Sales Rep Attitude Toward Customer Service


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Bob Thompson

Posted 19-May-2004 11:55 PM
[Posted by Bob Thompson for Kelvin Tan]

I am a CRM executive in a reputable electrical & electronic retail chain in Malaysia. The company is more than 70 years old and have over 40 outlets.

The CRM department is still very new. The company is planning to implement a loyalty programme into their marketing plan.

The are several problems which could interrupt the whole CRM plan. One of the most critical problem is poor customer service. The outlet sales rep. is not professional in conducting a sales pitch. They are not friendly. are the any programme that can be implemented to improve sales reps. attitude?

Kevin Tan

Danny Khow

Posted 27-May-2004 07:59 PM
Hi Kelvin,

I could probably guess which Electronic retailer you’re from by that short description since we live in the same city.

You’ve mentioned that your critical problem is actually poor customer service. I guess you probably already know that there’s no software in the world that can improve anybody’s attitude.
The question should perhaps be, Does the organization itself promotes good customer service? Is there a Service Centered culture in the organization?
If it does, then that should be reflected throughout the organization. You could probably determine the answer by asking questions such as, Does the organization measure Customer Service level currently? If yes, how?

And probably what is most relevant to your initial question…Are sales reps being rewarded for providing good service?…Some thoughts to re-look at that employee KPI perhaps?

What about poor service? Is there a systematic process in place to identify and rectify this problem?

You’ve also mentioned something about implementing loyalty programmes as a part of your Marketing initiative. I’m not exactly sure how this ties back to the whole picture.

Last but not least, maybe the problem really lies in the people after all…given that “Customer Service” culture is not exactly M’sian’s cup of tea and the fact that some of us just tend to shrug off bad service as just another experience….food for thoughts there, my fellow countrymate

Vishal Sarkar
Member Council

Posted 09-Jun-2004 07:20 AM

The lack of customer orientation or understanding customer service is a common problem in many countries.

Most of this has to do with the business environment and social set ups. There are also cultural nuances that take the shape of customer service inadequacies.

It is good to plan a CRM initiative an loyalty program, but what is most important is to get the people more educated and trained on customer empathy and service. This may take a longer or shorter time, depending on the training audience, but it is imperative to start a initiative on this before even trying to re-engineer processes and starting systems deployment.

In impact of poor customer handling by front line staff will end up totally defeating any process or technology improvement that you may plan.

I would recommend starting a workshop and training session with the customer service persons. Make them see the benefit of being Customer centric and tie this in their reward program. Once they themselves get experience of customer-centeredness and get benefits(perhaps by increased sales, satisfaction levels), they will tend to embrace it. However, please keep in mind that this a continuous exercise that needs to be planned, since attitudinal change is not a one-point implementation program. Smile

Best of Luck!

Vishal Sarkar

CRM Principal
Ascentium Corporation

CRM Association of Northwest


Posted 10-Jun-2004 05:40 PM
Hi Kelvin

What I always find interesting about the customer service experience is to look at the Executive and Senior Managers.
I don’t believe that Customer Service operates in a vacuum. This means that it can’t operate if it is not a culture or ethic throughout the whole organisation and if it is not demonstrated by Senior Management. It is an unfortunate issue of our time that a lot of senior managers “talk” customer service but they don’t “do” customer service. They do however expect the staff to do it.
So while “service training ” will have a short term effect, the long term solution is to review how the company at large sees its client base.
As an individual, you may believe that customers “are everything”. Well done, but if the next manager doesn’t then the whole strategy falls down.
Customer Services reps attitudes are critical to success but they simply reflect their leadership’s attitude.

All the best

Bill James-Wallace

Bill James-Wallace
Director, Business On Purpose
Business On Purpose is a coaching and training practice.
We work with our clients to achieve personal best results
and consistent business growth through the development
of individuals and teams.

Vishal Sarkar
Member Council

Posted 10-Jun-2004 09:16 PM

A very relevant point made! Thanks for filling in the gaps.

Overall organizational culture and attitude towards customer service is the encircling factor for success of any ‘service training’ for the front line personnel.

However, ‘service training’ need not be only for the front line people but can also be extended to the various tiers of managers to get them to be more customer-service oriented. Of course, the levels and requirements for service training will vary from tier to tier.


Vishal Sarkar

CRM Principal
Ascentium Corporation

CRM Association of Northwest

copparapu bobby(choudesh)

Posted 08-Sep-2006 01:39 PM
Hi bill,

The sales force automation process always focuses to have high end sales in the market. To have high sales revenue, the account rep is the key guy who

approaches organizations or customers to book the orders. The order management by the Account rep or sales rep is more important as it is going to be the

real process to be with market and customer community. Henceforth, the account rep attitude towards the customers must be attractive. Moreover the

interaction by the sales rep or account rep should welcome the customers by talks, focusing about their needs and service that he or she rendering towards

them should mean what he / she stands for.

Most of Market management about the products and reaching the customers always by the campaigning process. In the campign process the Key Role will be

played by the Account rep to be with customers to sell more products among the peer community. Hope if any account rep or sales rep found inefficient

needs to get trained by the organization to improve his performance and attitude.

choudesh copparapu
SFA/CRM/Data Integration specialist
Sea Shells Data Warehouse

April 16, 2009
Customer Service

Sometimes the sales persons do not share the broad picture of the importance of the customer perception in their limited area. They perceive, that their customers are beyond the total market. It is important to make sales persons feel that it is the small orders each one of them bring in which fills the Enterprise to run at capacity which would be profitable. They need to be given practical examples- like customers who are nurtured like small plants would give fruits when they grow big. Which means that Sales person reflects company philosophy in growing the customer by supporting them. It is the commitment towards customer as a partner which would develop loyalty /partnership perception from customer. Anyother program for loyalty will only end up by competitors providing similar or one step higher incentive to wean away your customers.

April 27, 2009
CRM – Customer Service

Hi Kevin

As you described that one of the most critical problem is poor customer service. The outlet sales rep. is not professional in conducting a sales pitch. I think that the sales rep. may not be trained enough on technical part. As the product is electronic & Electric sales person must have basic knowledge of the product features and the probable causes of any technical issues. This can be directly affecting the confidence level while interacting with the customer.

And as far as the friendly nature is concerned, it will be improved gradually under guidance of the senior and experienced person at the work place. It depends on the person to person how he put the program so that the staff will not look as inspection but as the improvement program.


Ketan Patel


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