Humanizing the Shopping Experience: Sales Experts vs Customer Support

Your customer support team is essential to your business. But they’re not the right people to drive sales and revenue.

No one can deny that great customer support (CS) is crucial for a successful online business. Your support team gets into the weeds to answer shoppers’ questions about their orders, resolve tickets quickly, and ultimately leave buyers with a happy, positive impression of your business. Unfortunately, brands often lump sales and customer support together.

They try to force support teams to act as salespeople — when the reality is, sales as a function requires entirely different people with different personality skills, and you need to use different technologies. In other words, repurposing your current support staffers as sellers simply won’t drive the potential incremental sales your business needs, and you’re leaving revenue on the table.

Below, we’ll explore exactly why support teams and sales teams are not interchangeable and how you can begin assembling your own separate squad of high-quality sellers.

Your customer support team should be separate and distinguished from your sales team. Here are three reasons why.

1. Customer support & sales require very different skill sets & expertise

To start, support vs. sales teams have unique skill sets, mindsets, and end goals in their interactions with customers. Combining the two would result in entirely different approaches on the same team. We see this in three traits:

  1. Types of hires: Brands assemble support teams for the lowest possible cost, usually by hiring anyone who can be patient, service-oriented, and process-oriented. Sales teams naturally require experienced sellers, salespeople, or SDRs.

  2. Expertise in communication: Great support staffers approach customer interactions with deep empathy and the ability to troubleshoot issues quickly. Great sellers approach interactions with curiosity about the customer’s circumstances and relentlessness in upselling and in getting to close a sale.

  3. Strategies for interactions: Interactions with support teams tend to be quick and focused on problem solving. Interactions with great sellers are recommended to last long and filled with interpersonal questions and can lead to genuine emotional connection.

Ultimately, the goal of a support team is diagnosing and fixing a customer’s problems as quickly and as kindly as possible to get to the next ticket. Meanwhile, the goal of a sales team is creating true engagement and confidence with shoppers to drive as much revenue from each interaction as possible. When you try to combine both functions and approaches into one team, neither one can be truly effective.

2. The two teams should focus on very different goals

“If you focus people on two different goals, you’ll fail at both”

At a high level, your support team likely reports to your COO, Head of Ops, or Head of Customer Success, whereas your sales team likely reports to your CRO, CMO, or Head of Growth. 

This is because sellers play a different role and work toward different KPIs. Where support teams focus on faster ticket resolutions, sellers focus on increasing conversions, AOV, and revenue. We see this play out in their workflows. 

💡Pro Tip:

It takes a lot of time and resources to properly train a seller to outperform their AOV and conversion goals month over month. It’s even more difficult if they are also expected to handle support calls, which will completely distract them from their main goal – making sales. Using a 'sales-as-a-service' solution like Feel, is a great way to the best of both worlds.

In order to increase conversions, sellers must:

  • Hold longer conversations based on the revenue potential of the shopper
  • Work to form a genuine interpersonal, human connection with the customer
  • Follow up over texts, calls, and emails — nurturing leads to generate more revenue

In order to increase AOV, sellers must:

  • Understand which SKUs pair well to recommend and upsell accordingly
  • Build coupons and discount packages considering shopper interests and inventory restraints

Conversely, sellers prioritize working through tickets and conversations as efficiently as possible without sacrificing the customer experience. Again, this shows support and sales should be separate departments for good reason. Both teams can focus on doing what they do best: answering inquiries and nurturing long-term buyers, respectively.

3. With both team, you can offer a better experience for leads & customers alike

DTC brands want sellers because they convert more visitors than a static website can by itself — helping drive your incremental revenue. While a well-designed and attractive online store draws in shoppers, it won’t necessarily keep them there. In comparison, live sales experts on your site can connect with shoppers, keep them from churning and going to the competition, and ultimately increase basket sizes and checkouts. 

Instead of trying to train your support team to recreate the impact of sellers, you can partner with Feel, tell us about your brand and product guidelines, and let us do the rest! Our sellers are 100% focused on getting to know your online shoppers and driving conversions and AOV. Unlike customer support, Feel sales experts are not focused on getting through interactions quickly. They can build emotional connections with shoppers, match their unique needs and wants with your products, and close those sales.

You can keep sales and customer support separate, but still equally accessible to your online shoppers.

Let’s say your customer needs to access an online salesperson for a “pre-sales” issue instead of support for a “post-sales” issue (or vice versa). Feel makes it easy to direct your shoppers toward different paths as needed. Here’s an example from the online store of Sunday Citizen, a proud Feel client:

Your customer support team is essential to your business. But they’re not the right people to drive sales and revenue.

No one can deny that great customer support (CS) is crucial for a successful online business. Your support team gets into the weeds to answer shoppers’ questions about their orders, resolve tickets quickly, and ultimately leave buyers with a happy, positive impression of your business. Unfortunately, brands often lump sales and customer support together.

They try to force support teams to act as salespeople — when the reality is, sales as a function requires entirely different people with different personality skills, and you need to use different technologies. In other words, repurposing your current support staffers as sellers simply won’t drive the potential incremental sales your business needs, and you’re leaving revenue on the table.

Below, we’ll explore exactly why support teams and sales teams are not interchangeable and how you can begin assembling your own separate squad of high-quality sellers. 

Your customer support team should be separate and distinguished from your sales team. Here are three reasons why. 

1. Customer support & sales require very different skill sets & expertise

To start, support vs. sales teams have unique skill sets, mindsets, and end goals in their interactions with customers. Combining the two would result in entirely different approaches on the same team. We see this in three traits: 

  1. Types of hires: Brands assemble support teams for the lowest possible cost, usually by hiring anyone who can be patient, service-oriented, and process-oriented. Sales teams naturally require experienced sellers, salespeople, or SDRs. 

  1. Expertise in communication: Great support staffers approach customer interactions with deep empathy and the ability to troubleshoot issues quickly. Great sellers approach interactions with curiosity about the customer’s circumstances and relentlessness in upselling and in getting to close a sale. 

  1. Strategies for interactions: Interactions with support teams tend to be quick and focused on problem solving. Interactions with great sellers are recommended to last long and filled with interpersonal questions and can lead to genuine emotional connection. 

Ultimately, the goal of a support team is diagnosing and fixing a customer’s problems as quickly and as kindly as possible to get to the next ticket. Meanwhile, the goal of a sales team is creating true engagement and confidence with shoppers to drive as much revenue from each interaction as possible. When you try to combine both functions and approaches into one team, neither one can be truly effective. 

2. The two teams should focus on very different goals

“If you focus people on two different goals, you’ll fail at both”

At a high level, your support team likely reports to your COO, Head of Ops, or Head of Customer Success, whereas your sales team likely reports to your CRO, CMO, or Head of Growth. 

This is because sellers play a different role and work toward different KPIs. Where support teams focus on faster ticket resolutions, sellers focus on increasing conversions, AOV, and revenue. We see this play out in their workflows. 

💡Pro Tip:

It takes a lot of time and resources to properly train a seller to

outperform their AOV and conversion goals month over month.

It’s even more difficult if they are also expected to handle support calls,

which will completely distract them from their main goal – making sales.

Using a'sales-as-a-service'solution likeFeel, is a great way to the best of both worlds.

In order to increase conversions, sellers must: 

  • Hold longer conversations based on the revenue potential of the shopper
  • Work to form a genuine interpersonal, human connection with the customer
  • Follow up over texts, calls, and emails — nurturing leads to generate more revenue

In order to increase AOV, sellers must: 

  • Understand which SKUs pair well to recommend and upsell accordingly
  • Build coupons and discount packages considering shopper interests and inventory restraints

Conversely, sellers prioritize working through tickets and conversations as efficiently as possible without sacrificing the customer experience. Again, this shows support and sales should be separate departments for good reason. Both teams can focus on doing what they do best: answering inquiries and nurturing long-term buyers, respectively. 

3. With both team, you can offer a better experience for leads & customers alike

DTC brands want sellers because they convert more visitors than a static website can by itself — helping drive your incremental revenue. While a well-designed and attractive online store draws in shoppers, it won’t necessarily keep them there. In comparison, live sales experts on your site can connect with shoppers, keep them from churning and going to the competition, and ultimately increase basket sizes and checkouts. 

Instead of trying to train your support team to recreate the impact of sellers, you can partner with Feel, tell us about your brand and product guidelines, and let us do the rest! Our sellers are 100% focused on getting to know your online shoppers and driving conversions and AOV. Unlike customer support, Feel sales experts are not focused on getting through interactions quickly. They can build emotional connections with shoppers, match their unique needs and wants with your products, and close those sales. 

You can keep sales and customer support separate, but still equally accessible to your online shoppers. 

Let’s say your customer needs to access an online salesperson for a “pre-sales” issue instead

of support for a “post-sales” issue (or vice versa).

Feel makes it easy to direct your shoppers toward different paths as needed.

Here’s an example from the online store of Sunday Citizen, a proud Feel client: 

Working with Feel, you develop your team of sales experts in no time. It's a win-win for your employees and customers.

With your help through training, Feel sales experts become embedded, knowledgeable, revenue-driving players for your brand.

With your help through training, Feel sales experts become embedded, knowledgeable, revenue-driving players for your brand.

With your help through training, Feel sales experts become embedded, knowledgeable, revenue-driving players for your brand.

With your help through training, Feel sales experts become embedded, knowledgeable, revenue-driving players for your brand.

Are you used to hiring your own staff? Well, in sales, it’s better not to just pay full-time. It’s not efficient. Sellers are better paid on a commission basis and for the fraction of time that they actually talk to shoppers.

How does it work?

Feel provides you with well-trained sales associates who are already experts in selling your product. We pay them, but they contribute as if they’re members of your team. We both train them, but they follow your guidelines. They communicate with you and your team: using your platforms, logging into your CRM, and addressing support needs.

What’s more beneficial than hiring my own team?

Hiring a sales team is a large operation that includes sellers, sales trainers, shift management, knowledge-base building, Q&A prepping, HR benefits, and financial payments. It’s a big undertaking. And, all of the payment must be done upfront. With Feel, you only pay for the % of actual sales the sellers drive. You can test and scale slowly — and never pay in advance.

We pay them and manage their sales performance, but they learn from you.

You provide the brand and product guidelines. We make sure they’re well-trained on them and deliver top performance. We manage their day to day, payments, and performance reviews.

I already have customer support, so why do I need sellers?

Feel’s sales experts serve a totally different purpose from customer support! Our sellers focus on taking your brand knowledge to expertly convert shoppers into buyers and drive your revenue. They do not focus on problem-solving — but on creating an emotional connection and deeper engagement through the product need. Sellers and customer support are different forces. It’s better to have the right person on the right task.

Meanwhile, your support team can focus on what they do best: answering customer inquiries (both pre- and post-purchase) and making sure no question slips through the cracks.

I want to build my own sales team. Why would I need to bring in Feel?

For smaller and mid-market brands, it’s a huge task to build, manage, and scale a full sales operation. The amount of time and cash just is not feasible. With Feel, you get all of the benefits of a turnkey, dedicated, and high-performing sales team — without any of the operational headaches or hundreds of thousands of dollars in budgeting.

In other words: Only when you scale and need a very large team is it financially beneficial for you to build your own sales operation.

I already have customer support, so why do I need sellers?

Feel’s sales experts serve a totally different purpose from customer support! Our sellers focus on taking your brand knowledge to expertly convert shoppers into buyers and drive your revenue. They do not focus on problem-solving — but on creating an emotional connection and deeper engagement through the product need. Sellers and customer support are different forces. It’s better to have the right person on the right task. Meanwhile, your support team can focus on what they do best: answering customer inquiries (both pre- and post-purchase) and making sure no question slips through the cracks.

How could a third-party seller understand and represent my brand?

We get it: You only want the best for your business, products, and customers. We’re the same way, which is why every single one of Feel’s sales experts undergoes a rigorous three-step training process that is tailored to your brand. You handpick and interview each of your sales experts — just like they’re regular employees. We handle the training. By the end of it, they’ll sell like true extensions of your team.

Feel’s three-step sales expert training — fully tailored to your brand

All of Feel’s sales experts come equipped with a proven industry track record, specific product expertise, and 5+ years of B2C sales experience. Plus, every sales expert participates in a three-step training program — setting them up to successfully represent your brand, sell your products, and connect with your customers.

Step 1: Knowledge management

Your brand will fill out Feel’s template for a Knowledge Guide, which covers everything your sales experts need to know. This includes a high-level brand overview, your main categories and products, specific tips for selling your brand, FAQs like customer service contacts or return policies, and even your brand’s primary competitors.

Step 2: Training and certification

Stage 1 entails the basics. Sellers are evaluated on fundamental knowledge and skills, such as best practices and ethics of sales and eCommerce tools and systems. 

Stage 2 turns our sellers into experts on your brand. Topics covered are your brand’s values and culture, major product overviews, eCom website structure, operational workflows, and more. At this stage, you can be as hands-on or -off as you’d like! 

  • Option 1: Hold a training yourself, and then have Feel replicate that training for your next class of sellers. Brands see the most success when they onboard sales experts directly onto their CRM, merchant platforms, and Slack workspaces for real-time connections. 

  • Option 2: Send all of your training materials to Feel. One of our learning and development (L&D) managers will build, conduct, and adjust trainings accordingly! 

Stage 3 tests our sales experts for true brand mastery. Feel’s orientation tests evaluate our sellers’ abilities to implement your brand’s Knowledge Guide. Plus, as you launch new products or major promotions, Feel will continually train and test your sales experts over time. 

Step 3: Feedback and quality assurance

Feel conducts a strict weekly evaluation process, which reviews and grades 15 customer interactions for every sales expert working with your team. Criteria include brand knowledge accuracy, effective sales skills, service-oriented strategies, and more. Results and feedback are discussed in weekly one-on-one coaching sessions for each sales expert, while successful sales and customer interactions are discussed in team-wide sales expert meetings.

Meet our community of brands who love their sales experts

In addition, Feel integrates with many existing support tools. Your team does not need to install any additional tech or hire anyone to manage the integration. If a customer wants support, we can easily direct them to your support team. If they want sales expertise, we can easily direct them to our live sellers.

See our sales experts in action

Even if you have a stellar support team, they cannot replicate the work and impact of a dedicated sales team:
sellers who will focus on connecting with shoppers to drive conversions, AOV, and revenue. 

For a seamless way to stand up your eCommerce sales function, get in touch with Feel! All Feel sales experts come equipped with specific product expertise, a proven track record, and 5+ years of B2C sales experience. 

Explore Feel’s live online sales solution from the POV of your consumers, or request a demo today to Feel what sales experts can do for your brand.

Feel believes in total transparency around sales expert performance

Once the initial training wraps up, we stay in touch regarding ongoing check-ins and evaluations, progress and performance reports, and more. We’ll never obscure the true impact of your sales experts.

Ruti sees 10x fewer returns compared to standard online orders.

“We have seen a huge lift in AOV when it comes to sales made through Feel. It successfully creates the same feeling for customers as when they’re in-store. That was a really strong indicator for us that Feel is a game-changer.”

Lauren Hemmingsen, Marketing Manager at Ruti

“Feel helps us better communicate our core brand values to consumers. We are able to hire mothers who use our product and have them explain about the product to consumers."

Sarah Dorsett

CEO

Nanit sees a 31% conversion rate and a 27% increase in AOV.

“Feel made it easy, operationally and financially, to build our team of experts. Our team works closely with the sellers on our site. They’ve become experts on our product, work well with our support teams, and drive great incremental revenue.”

Sarah Dorsett,CEO of Nanit

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