Your call center agents act as the front-of-house for your business. Every conversation provides both a first impression and a means to solve a problem and provides the opportunity for business growth. Customer touchpoints offer opportunities to improve satisfaction, strengthen loyalty and even increase sales. But integrating upsell tactics into customer service conversations requires a delicate balance between delivering service and connecting customers with new opportunities.
First and foremost, well-trained customer service representatives know that their primary goal is to flawlessly answer their callers’ questions or concerns. But once the issues are resolved, the best sales reps use their relationship-building skills to make a sale. High-performing call centers know how to combine customer service and service with upselling, and so will yours with these tips.
1. Focus on call quality
Before call center teams start strategizing upselling opportunities, leaders need to review their call quality reports. Make sure your IVR structure is effective and provides an uncluttered menu of selections that address the most common reasons for calling. View speed to answer, call time, first call resolution and call number statistics to confirm they are on track.
If not, take a step back to retrain and refocus on call quality before committing to business development efforts. Review customer satisfaction data from the past year, identify trends and seasonal outliers. Dive into high-volume periods or events unique to your industry that can drive customer calls. Try to get your house in order before you start adding new initiatives like upselling or expanding rep scripting.
2. Train employees to build a report
While understanding your business and how to solve customer problems are fundamental to customer service reps, as is relationship building. Some people have a natural gift for chatting, easily finding commonalities in conversations and making new contacts and fast friends. At work, this skill can be learned to help achieve organizational and personal goals.
Break down the components of relationship building to the basics and create training programs to help teams improve their skills. Focus on empathetic listening, finding common ground and mirroring language to build trust, which is essential before organizing a sale. On the phone and in person, customers find it easier to listen to and buy from people they like. In addition, improving your agents’ reporting skills can improve overall customer satisfaction and conversion rates for enhanced services.
3. Identify customer pain points to unlock opportunities
As your employees listen to their customers’ reasons for calling, they can also hear about other issues customers are experiencing. Instruct reps to take note of one-time comments about functionality issues, wish list items, and shortcomings of competitors’ offerings. This one pain points can be solved by any of your existing products.
If your organization doesn’t offer a solution, share these insights with your voice-of-the-customer and product teams for consideration. Make upsells more natural by mirroring how a friend would recommend a solution to a problem you just shared. Position product offerings and enhancements as a way to address your customer’s problem and substantiate claims with data.
4. Pitch offers that really add value
Your customer called for a reason, and it wasn’t supposed to be resold. Guiding employees in pursuing upselling opportunities that really add value to the customer. A key to ensuring the right customers are identified is for teams to be well-versed in the capabilities of your products. Understanding the specifics of your products helps employees make the right connections to customer issues.
Create a culture where providing value exceeds sales opportunities, which will help you avoid overselling. As often noted in marketing circles, selling to everyone often translates into selling to no one. Avoid generalizing sales efforts, instead focus on customers who really need your solution. By following this practice, you will not only respect the loyalty of your customers, but also support long-term customer retention.
5. Provide incentives for upselling, but discourage overselling
Incentives can fuel the call center team’s engine to identify and pursue upselling opportunities, but consider establishing sales parameters. For example, a retail bank should not treat every customer as a potential upsell for a new checking account. An 87-year-old retiree probably doesn’t need multiple checking accounts. However, a mid-career professional pursuing a side job may benefit from separating their personal and business finances.
Work with your sales team to qualify upselling opportunities and link financial incentives to value-added sales more than anyone else. Create a clear incentive policy where employees have access to parameters and exceptions to manage expectations from the start. A policy that prioritizes qualified leads can help reduce overselling and improve your team’s conversion rate. In this model, employees can celebrate more wins, while customers are happy to add services that provide value.
Show gratitude for existing customers, regardless of the sales result
The saying that one bird in the hand is more valuable than two in the bush is true. The customers you have are made of gold and should be treated as such. Drive your customer relationships through quality customer service, products and services that deliver, and solution-driven sales. This combination creates an organic business partnership, where your customers’ success is the goal and your organization supports their efforts.