January 14, 2013

Cross/Up Sell in the Call Center to Grow Your Business

Cross/Up Sell in the Call Center to Grow Your Business By: Dee Buell, Senior Consultant, BenchmarkPortal

Contact Centers are expected to provide excellent service to their customers, but we continue to see many Centers expected to do more;.e.g., add sales, generate leads, provide software and hardware technical support, etc.  A focus on sales and lead generation is consistently becoming more important because Contact Centers have the potential to become revenue-generating profit centers.  The important role they play in retaining customers and enhancing the company brand is key to a successful cross/up sell business model.
There are a few best practice strategies you should keep in mind; keep your focus on the customer, create a standard sales process, and understand there are different needs for different customers.  Other factors that need to be considered to optimize cross/up sell performance are:
  • Economics – companies should seek to grow existing customer relationships to offset a downturn in the economy
  • Competitive shifts – value-add products with higher profit margins can build strong customer relationships
  • Customer Relationships – preserving and expanding customer relationships not only helps retain customers but builds customer loyalty
  • Cost-effective sales – it is cheaper to sell additional products to existing customers
Research should be done to understand the customer’s experience as seen through their eyes, and the cross/up sell process should be created to enhance that experience.

Building on the Customer Relationship
Leveraging Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) for sales has become a standard practice,  but many organizations have not fully tapped into the power of their CRM.  Best-in-class companies look at each contact as an opportunity to enhance their relationship with that customer.
Customer loyalty is granted to a business for outstanding performance.  True loyalty cannot be manufactured in marketing or sales, but is won through a consistent experience, and the ability of the company to deliver on its promises.  Customer loyalty starts with brand positioning, making the alignment of customer strategies with understanding what is critically important to the customer.  It is also important to know how the company is performing relative to the competition.

Customer Segmentation
Targeting the best customers for specific cross/up sell opportunities is a best practice.  Not every customer should be a target for additional sales.  Quantifying the financial impact of a customer should be considered when developing your strategy.

Online Cross/UP Sell Strategies
Increased Internet usage, along with changing customer habits, needs to be driving companies to develop online sales strategies.  With lower acquisition costs and changing customer preferences, a good online sales strategy can be an important channel to increase revenue and enhance the customer relationship.

Technology Support
Best-in-class companies utilize technology to support the cross/up sell process.  They identify new products based on customer history, present standard scripts, identify sales opportunities and offer pricing support.  Intelligent routing systems can be used to connect customers with the agent best qualified to sell the relevant products.  Screen pops or Whisper technology can alert the CSR of a potential sales opportunity.

Moving from the traditional contact center service model to a customer-centric cross/up sell model requires management to go through a paradigm shift – moving away from their traditional customer satisfaction orientation to a position of concentrating on maximizing revenue with every customer-oriented interaction.  Management must leverage their CRM systems, collaborate with sales and marketing to enhance customer relationships, maximize their technology and develop a strong online strategy to achieve revenue goals.  This transition may require significant changes in company culture and the mindset of the CSR; however, the additional revenue and resulting stronger customer relationship can be worth the effort.

About BenchmarkPortal
BenchmarkPortal is the leader in Call Center Benchmarking, Call Center Training, and Call Center Consulting. Since its beginnings in 1995 under Dr. Jon Anton of Purdue University, BenchmarkPortal has grown with the contact center industry and now hosts the world’s largest call center metrics database. Now led by Bruce Belfiore, the BenchmarkPortal team of professionals has gained international recognition for its call center expertise and innovative approaches to Best Practices for the call center industry. Join our community today by benchmarking your call center with one of our Benchmarking Surveys on our website.http://www.BenchmarkPortal.com

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