Customer service often involves solving problems, and the product or service you are selling should help the prospect find a solution or fill a need. For example, if you're selling life insurance, you need to establish the need in the mind of the prospect, then show how life insurance fills the need. In this way, you're not only making a sale, but also providing a valuable service to the prospect.
When you're a salesperson, you're often the first person a customer calls when she has a problem or complaint, even if you were not the cause of the problem. For example, if the shipment of your product is late due to a billing mix-up, the customer may call you to solve the problem. When this occurs, you must be able to assist the customer without handing her off to another department--and have the communication skills to keep the customer happy.
Customer-service skills also include following through on promises. As a salesperson, you may have to promise prospects things like free delivery, a discount on purchases or that your product will perform a certain function to close the sale. It's up to you to see that all of your promises are kept and to follow up with the prospect after he becomes a customer to see if there are any issues that need attention.
Listening is an important customer-service skill for salespeople to be able to draw out and overcome objections, For example, by asking probing questions like, "What are your priorities?" or "What would you like our service to be able to do for you?" you'll discover what the prospect is really looking for, as long as you listen carefully to the response.
Effective customer service involves using the prospect's name, which should also be applied during your sales presentation. Repeating the prospect's name serves to break down barriers and helps you build rapport. If you're not sure how to pronounce the name, ask the prospect early in the relationship so that you avoid continually mispronouncing it.