May 27, 2014 - At outsourced call center services companies, maximizing revenue through effective upselling and cross-selling techniques is a baseline skill that should be continually refined and improved.
In fact, it is a core call center services principle for effective customer service – over and above the additional revenue that effective upselling provides clients.
First, a definition of upselling and cross-selling: It’s a sales strategy incorporated into the delivery of call center customer service and order processing in which the customer service representative offers products and services to the inbound caller that are related to the product or service in which the customer is interested.
Typical instances are offering customers warranty contracts on a product they have purchased, a store credit card, complementary clothing and free shipping with a minimum-sized order that requires purchasing additional items.
Building an effective cross-selling and upselling strategy is an evolutionary process. Extensive trail-and-error is required, including continual refinement of offers to customers until the most effective offering is identified.
It also requires training of call center customer service representatives, including guidance from call center services account managers and role playing, so that upselling becomes a natural way for the customer service agent to interact with the customer.
Inbound call centers should be encouraged to regard cross-selling not so much as a means to maximize sales orders (even though it is) but a service that the customer will appreciate. For instance, if a customer orders a shirt, then the customer support rep is providing good service by suggesting a pair of pants that will go well with the shirt. If a customer orders a television, the representative is being helpful by offering three-year warranty protection.
The idea is to frame the cross-sell as a sound suggestion that will be helpful to the customer. It should be delivered with a light touch in which the rep talks with the customer as a fellow consumer. This comes under the fundamental sales rubric: people like to buy, not be sold.
A core principle of effective upselling is consistency. Call center services representatives’ should be monitored to ensure that they upsell and cross-sell whenever the opportunity arises. Incentive programs, in which the most effective upsellers are recognized and rewarded, are a good idea. The outsourced call center should be able to readily provide this data by capturing cross-sales and average sales order size per agent, and it should be able to track growth in these categories as well.
Live call monitoring also is important. High-quality upselling techniques used by the most effective customer service representatives should be shared among all agents in the call center. Likewise, any "corner cutting" observed, even if just on one call, should be logged on a QA report card and immediately shared with Account Manager, who should provide feedback to the agent.
With the right training and effective incentives, cross-selling and upselling can quickly become both an integral and natural part of the work delivered by the inbound call center services provider. And once cross-selling becomes natural, close rates and average order sales hit new levels of success.
Mark Fichera, CEO