How to build proactive customer support into your sales process

Great customer service is the key to increasing your sales. Here's how to make it an integral part of your sales process.
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Note: This post originally appeared on Freshdesk's blog.

Make customer service a part of your sales process

If you found this post, you already know that customer service is key to reducing churn and increasing each customer’s lifetime value. In fact, 66% of consumers will switch brands because of bad customer service, and a dissatisfied customer will tell an average of 9-15 people about a bad support experience. Yikes. You’re probably not aware of all the complaints against your company, either; for every customer that complains to you, there are 26 more that you never hear from.

On the flip side, providing stellar customer service can allow you to make more money (customers with a top notch customer experience pay as much as 140% more than folks with poorer encounters). Plus, happy customers spread the love, too, and their referrals have a major impact on your sales; word of mouth generates more than 2x the sales of paid advertising.

Now that we’re all on the same page about the awesome power of customer service, let’s talk about how to craft a stellar customer experience within your sales process, so that support starts on day 1 (and not after your customer’s first reported issue). Proactive (rather than reactive) customer support will allow you to set up your customers for success and prevent major hurdles before they happen — making for happier customers, and more money in the long run.

Start Tracking Customer Issues

It’s one thing to track customer issues, it’s another to identify what’s constantly bothering your customers. To be proactive, one of the important things to do is to understand what’s going wrong for your current customers and prevent these issues from happening again for your future customers.

If you don’t already have enough measures in place to track customer issues, it’s time to start doing that now.. You can use a ticketing software like Freshdesk or start with something simple in a database. Make sure to keep track of the issue at hand, where the issue is in the process of being resolved, and the resolution.

As you gather reported customer issue data, also take a look at the other communications you have from customers: emails, social media messages, or notes in your database. Where are people dropping off in your sales process? Are customers asking the same questions over and over again? Identify common hurdles, and save them for the next step.

What Worked for Less Annoying CRM

We realized that a ton of free trial users weren’t accessing all of the features the CRM had to offer. However, if we managed to get someone on the phone, we could customize the CRM to their unique business and show them around, so that they felt confident using the software.

Build Customer Service Follow ups into Your Onboarding and Sales Emails

Now that you have data on the bottlenecks in your sales process, create customer service content to help ease these blockages. You can even set up an automated email series drip campaign to send that content to new or potential customers.

Pick the top 5 reported issues that are actually based on customer error or misunderstanding. Draft 5 emails that explain how to fix the issues. Set each email up in an automation sequence, and trigger each message to send before the customer typically confronts the issue. For example, if you sell jewellery and the customer usually needs resizing within a week of purchasing, send an email a day or two after purchase including a resizing discount.

What Worked for Less Annoying CRM

From step 1, we knew that we needed to get more folks on the phone, so we created a new drip campaign emailed to free trial users emphasizing the need to schedule a demo. You can read the exact email text and the results of our experiment here.

Request Feedback and Respond to Everyone

You have a system for improving the customer experience, and now you need a way to improve that system! Customer issues will evolve with time, and you want to make sure your support stays stellar by measuring customer satisfaction (in addition to trying your best to prevent problems).

If you don’t have a sophisticated feedback system yet, start with a simple Google Form and email it out to your customers a few times a year. Measure how satisfied your customers are, and if there are changes in satisfaction over time. You can track the results of the survey in a spreadsheet or your CRM.

You also want to make sure that the feedback has an impact; check out this post from Freshdesk on communicating customer feedback to the rest of your team.

What Worked for Less Annoying CRM

We are actually in the process of updating our feedback system! We used to have a feedback email that would go out after someone’s free trial ended. I learned a lot from the responses to those emails; people often mentioned issues our support team wasn’t aware of or made feature requests for things we already had! Plus, we could use positive feedback for testimonials and reviews on our site.

At the moment, we’re creating a more sophisticated feedback survey related to NPS (Net Promoter Score).

Try New Methods of Support

Most of this process is about listening to your customers, tracking their feedback, and creating new customer service touches to improve the customer experience. Aside from the drip campaign you created in step 2, there are many, many ways to engage your leads and customers from a support (rather than a sales) standpoint!


We regularly host webinars. We offer quick demo webinars and feature deep dives. If someone isn’t ready for a 1:1 call with our team, a webinar is a great alternative. Plus, they help existing users increase their engagement with our product.

Support blog

Turn those common questions and issues into help articles that you can include in your emails.


Give leads and customers a chance to increase their engagement by creating a newsletter. Send out regular product updates and how-to tutorials.

Get inspiration

Check out Freshdesk’s collection of proactive support stories from brands across the globe for innovative customer service ideas.

As you try new tactics and strategies, be sure to always take it back to the customer experience, and really listen to what your leads and clients have to say. No one likes criticism or fielding complaints, but you should thank your customer for taking the time to reach out and help you improve your service — rather than staying silent and angry, or leaving without even so much as a goodbye.

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