Improving Service and Sales Performance (Part 1)

The line between service and sales is becoming increasingly blurred, in which there is very little distinction between serving a customer in a sales or service role.

The influencing role of the economy

This situation has been heavily influenced as we’ve moved from a customer service economy into a customer experience economy.

In which customers want an all round experience (and not just a reactive service) that can

  • Solve their problems
  • Trigger essential emotions such as trust, cared for and valued (data shows that without triggering these your customers will leave you)
  • Ignite curiosity as to new innovations and options that enrich their current experience. Thus igniting aspirational emotions 

As you can see these requirements heavily connect to emotions or what we call the customers emotional buying motives.

But why else do we need to understand the customer’s emotional buying motives?

Once customers feel valued (and other key emotions) they stay loyal and increase their long term spend with your organisation. 

What does Science and Psychology say?

Psychologically speaking the above three bullet points makes sense because of a core pattern of motivation that runs through every customer

  • Pleasure and Pain

Sigmund Freud first validated this within human beings almost a century ago and it goes like this

  • When we perceive something to be painful we want to avoid it
  • When we perceive something to be pleasurable we want to attain it

In recent years Freud’s analyses is supported by both neuroscience and evolutionary biology in how our brains automatically function – Because it’s the role of the limbic area of the brain to unconsciously scan for both threat and opportunity – Pain and Pleasure.

Customers visit and are attracted to your business by ideas that will overcome their problems (pain) and ideas that will further enrich their life (pleasure) 

How to Lose Customers

You will lose customers if what you offer is too painful for them; if they have to spend too much effort doing business with you. Taking away the customers effort is taking away their pain and research proves that when you are easy to do business with it increases their readiness to buy from you.

Evolving Your Products and Services through Pain and Pleasure 

Take any product or service that has been around for the last few years and you’ll see how pain and pleasure influence its change.

The mobile phone is a cracking example. Compare the pleasure pain differences that your current phone offers compared to the one you held 10 years ago in areas such as

  • The quality of camera pixels
  • The ease to upload the pictures at a touch of a button
  • Instant touch screens with no waiting time
  • Apps and connections for everything
  • Instant access to the world, friends and support wherever you are

The Dyson Story

Did you know that Dyson turned around his business success because of pleasure and pain?

In the early years, despite his products’ cleaning advantages he found it difficult to break into the established market place. Dyson’s breakthrough in the UK market came more than 10 years after his initial product launch. A complete turnaround was made possible by changing the emotional buying motive within his sales and marketing.

Dyson made a change from focusing on pleasure and into pain.

Via TV advertising he newly emphasized that, unlike most of its rivals, his machine did not require the continuing purchase of replacement bags. At that time, the UK market for disposable cleaner bags was worth £100 million.

The slogan of ‘say goodbye to the bag’ (Helping the customer eliminate pain) proved far more powerful and attractive to the buying public than a previous emphasis on the suction efficiency that its technology delivers. (Pleasure)

This lesson shows us that working to the customer’s inner emotional motives are the differences between doing OK and being mega successful. 

 Back to Sigmund Freud and Developing Teams

The key word in Freud’s 100 year old discovery is the word perceive. It’s the customer’s perception of pain and pleasure that all your customer experience and sales staff must fine tune.

This means them possessing the exact skills to ignite the right emotions in customers and to dissolve those that customers perceive to be painful.

How do you Create Service and Sales Teams to do this?

This is what we’ll discuss in a little more detail in part two of this blog in two weeks time.

In the meantime, here are a couple of test questions to use within your business.

In the next weeks, ask your service and sales teams and their managers the following question

  • How much do you know about the pleasure and pain principle? Keep a casual score on what proportion of your people understand this principle and for those that do understand, ask them
  • How does this shape your performance/customer conversations?

You might be surprised how many will answer vaguely or not at all.

Should you value a no obligation discussion about improving service and sales in your teams contact



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