In a business environment, a service culture focuses on providing an exceptional customer experience, while a sales culture concentrates on efficiency and sales for the business. These two areas need to be balanced in an organization, since one particular area, such as efficiency, isn’t always the Holy Grail for success. But understanding whether service or sales is more dominant in a business can help contact centers to differentiate between the two based on business needs. In this article, I discuss the topic of sales versus service culture.

The Sales Culture

In the sales business culture, revenue, sales, and commissions are the focus. Employees are trained to be sales-driven in the organization. In the customer service environment, this may mean that sales are woven in with customer support. For example, an agent may make a sales offer after taking care of a customer support inquiry. Or an agent may make a satisfaction call that includes a sales offer.

The Service Culture

The service culture is more focused on providing customer satisfaction rather than trying to sell or upgrade customers to other products or services. So they are more geared towards retaining existing customers, creating ambassadors for their brand, building trust and loyalty, and generating referrals. Businesses that have a culture based on service also rely more on word of mouth, so they do not spend as much on advertising as businesses that have a sales culture.

The Company Mission

Whether a business is more sales versus service driven can often be identified in its mission statement, value proposition, or business plan. Is the business trying to be competitive by providing exceptional or unique customer service that stands out from the competition, or are they geared more towards competing based on sales and costs? Whether a business focuses on sales versus service can also change over time as their goals change.

The Impact on Hiring

Businesses that have a service culture tend to want to hire the best possible employees for their customer service team who are aligned with their company mission and culture. They give their employees flexibility for providing a customized customer service experience. On the other hand, companies with a sales culture concentrate on operations to achieve their sales goals, so their rules are more firm. Therefore, they focus on hiring employees based more on skill rather than on company culture.

Differences in Training

Organizations with a sales culture focus on training their employees to have detailed product knowledge and technical skills, while businesses with a service culture tend to put more emphasis on soft skills in addition to technical skills.  

Is Your Business More Focused on Sales or the Customer Experience?

Does your business have a more sales-oriented or service-oriented culture? Can it adapt to both? Here are some questions to consider:

● Do you tend to make hiring decisions based more on skills or cultural fit?

● When training employees, how important are soft skills versus technical skills and product knowledge?

● How much flexibility do customer service representatives have in communications with customers?

● Which areas of your organization may need to be more sales-oriented or service-oriented?

The Impact on KPIs

Whether a business is focused more on having a sales versus a service culture will affect the KPIs that a contact center needs to focus on. For example, if a business places primary importance on customer satisfaction, then more focus may need to be placed on monitoring and improving the KPIs for this area through methods such as customer surveys and customer agent training.


Does your business have the right systems and process in place to support your sales or service culture? CH Consulting Group provides unparalleled expertise in the Contact Center and Customer Experience (CX) verticals. We have a nationwide team of industry veterans that can assist you to achieve exponential growth, manage change, and generate profit. For a comprehensive CX assessment and strategic plan customized for your unique business needs, connect with us here today.