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[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Customer service representatives have a tough job. They must represent the face of the company to customers while being internally monitored and measured via a myriad of metrics: first call resolution, call length, and percent of transfers, to name a few. In addition, they are often expected to upsell customers on product and services while simultaneously ensuring high customer satisfaction.

Fortunately, when done well, upselling customers and ensuring customer satisfaction go hand in hand.

A recent CFI Group study shows that most customers are receptive to agents making product and service recommendations, especially younger customers. In fact, when representatives make product or service recommendations, customer satisfaction is actually higher.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”8357″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

The problem seems to be that representatives are not properly trained on how to upsell. It’s not an issue with product or service knowledge; it’s an issue with knowing how and when to make the recommendation. Agents can be too soft, not making a clear recommendation; or they can be too pushy, which easily irks a customer.

And, of course, you have to first resolve the main reason of the call before engaging in the upsell.

I recently called my mobile phone carrier regarding a billing error. When I called customer service, the representative said, “Before we look at this, I noticed that you don’t have our TV package. Are you interested in this service?” The representative didn’t explain how that might help me resolve my problem so the upsell was out of step with my needs.

WHAT WORKS

Our study shows that a representative’s product/service knowledge and their ability to tailor a recommendation for a given customer are key influences on a customer’s decision to make additional purchases.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”8358″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Well-trained agents focus on the needs of the customer and seek to find ways to address those needs. This problem-solving activity includes clear and direct recommendations even — perhaps especially — when the customer doesn’t explicitly ask for something. The representative should be listening closely to understand the core problem so that a fitting recommendation can be made.

At the Future Contact Center Summit earlier this year, we met up with leadership from the Frontline Performance Group (Frontline), a consulting firm helping contact centers grow revenue from agent upsells. Frontline works with great brands such as Universal Orlando, Hilton Worldwide, and Hertz.

They seem to have seen great success in their engagements, so here are some tips adapted from the founder’s book the Frontline Profit Machine that fits well with what we see in our research:

  • Build Rapport – How well you manage the first five to fifteen seconds of a call determines if you will be given an opportunity to upsell.
  • Practice Mirroring – Find something in common with the customer. People like people with whom they have something in common.
  • Observe Everything – Customer mood and tone of voice help you understand the situation.
  • Listen Actively – Listen for clues and information, and confirm what you hear.
  • Clearly Recommend – Use phrases such as “What a lot of people like to do is . . . ” or “What I recommend is . . .”
  • Avoid Weak Phrases – Don’t use phrases such as “Would you like . . .” or “Is that okay/alright?”
  • Focus on Product/Service – Build up the upsell value before you talk about price.
  • Practice Top-Down Selling – Start with the higher-end offer first, giving you room to drop down to other offers.
  • Overcome One Objection – Be prepared to overcome the first objection. If it’s price, offer a lower-priced option; if it’s fit, offer an alternative or explain the value. Stop after first objection, though. Going beyond the first objection can become pushy.

In the end, upselling is about finding a tailored product/service that fits a customer’s specific needs. Done well, it will benefit everyone involved. Training customer service representatives in upselling can boost both company revenue and customer satisfaction.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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