Any customer support representative can testify to the ongoing feud between customer support and the sales team. What I’m trying to say is we don’t like them either. However, it is, for the most part, not their fault that they cause problems in the business/customer relationship.
First, start off by understanding that the vast majority of salespeople are not trying to mislead you intentionally. Salespeople are not typically as well versed in a product as customer support is. Their talent is selling – something not a lot of support people are good at. They are taught by their superiors to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy. The result of the lack of knowledge and the want to please the customer is often what leads to trouble.
What happens is you, the customer, will ask a question that the salesperson does not know the answer to. Rather than appear unknowledgeable, which is a knife in the back of any potential sale, the salesperson will agree to any function of the product that sounds reasonable. They’re going to bend over backwards to make sure that a customer’s wish list is fulfilled, so they automatically assume that support will do the same. When customer support sets more realistic expectations your automatic reaction is betrayal and irritation.
So what can YOU do?
Immeadiately Call Customer Support
As soon as you’re done with the sales person, ask to be transferred to customer support or call them yourself. Find out the real deal, and clarify all the points your salesperson told you. If you’re not getting what you’re comfortable with, cancel then. No hard feelings.
It is highly unlikely that your salesperson will be involved or even interested in your account after the initial sale, so lean on customer support for any promises the salesperson might have made.
Consider the following scenario, which happens all the time at my current place of employment. I work at a company that provides website hosting and a site building program, among other things. Sales people often provide an exorbitant amount of help to the clients initially. If we were to continue to provide support at that same rate, our monthly fee would be much, much higher.
In that scenario, at no point did the sales representative lie. All the services promised can be provided, they just provided it at an expedient rate to enhance customer satisfaction. Remember again that this department has a very different mentality than other departments – so they don’t immediately see why there is, and should be, a difference in service.
Find Out About the Company
The most important factor here is how long they’ve been in business. If the company has been around for a fair number of years, you can bet that they’re doing something right with their product. Mind you, this doesn’t automatically mean that the product is right for you, but at least you should feel assured that the company as a whole is not in the game to deceive their customers.
Read All Contracts, Written Material and E-mails
Remember these things are provided to you for a reason. At least skim them. See if you see any discrepancies from what you understood or if this information raises any additional questions. If either is the case, don’t call your salesperson back, call customer support.
When to Complain
Of course, there are those representatives who are lying outright or at least lying out of ignorance. The sales department, by far, has the biggest turnover of any department no matter what company you’re looking at. This is partially because it is a breeding ground for dishonesty, which is weeded out as quickly as possible, and partially because the environment is not something most people can enjoy for very long.
When you do hear an outright lie from a salesperson, bring it to the attention of that person’s superior. There’s no need for anger here, as it is usually an honest mistake. Ignorance can and will be corrected over time as the representative grows with the company. If the representative is dishonest, they will soon be unemployed.