Could Sales and Service Mix?

Customers’ expectations have changed. When they reach out to an organization for assistance, they are looking not only to resolve their current issue, but also to receive unsolicited advice – to get up-serviced. That’s why it is important for service agents to conduct a real dialog with customers while solving their problems. They must look at the source of the issue and at the customer’s needs beyond the current interaction.

What is Up-service?

Up-service is taking the standard service and upgrading it with additional service suggestions or sales offerings.

The term is referenced in a blog post by CX expert Shep Hyken, who states that sales is actually a service differentiator – by mixing sales and service, you actually provide a better service experience for your customers.


Up- and cross-selling done the right way, in the right context, during a service call is the most efficient way to sell. Research by Gartner, for example, shows that a context-relevant offer made during an inbound interaction is 10 times more effective than any outbound marketing technique.

Now, think about how this can also significantly boost your customer service.

Take the following example: My refrigerator stopped working, so I called the refrigerator company and they sent a technician. This guy was so nice and so efficient – he fixed it in no time. He was my hero!

After completing the repair, he asked if I had replaced my water filter recently. Well, actually I hadn’t since I bought the refrigerator, so I said “Okay, do you have a new filter with you?” He said “Sure,” and immediately went to his car, got the filter, and replaced it on the spot.

If I had received the same offer from a sales rep in an outbound call, I would have probably asked them not to bother me again and hung up. Here’s what that could have looked like:

Is that up-service? Sure, because now not only does my refrigerator work, I also know that my family will be drinking clean, healthy water. The service agent identified a real need, from the service interaction, that I wasn’t even aware of and provided me a solution to it which will save me my next service call.

Service via phone is also a great chance to make a good impression on your customers. If the agent is polite and resolves the problem in an efficient manner, then the customer is likely to be satisfied and have a positive feeling about your company. And, if this customer got what he wanted, he’s more prone to listen to any offer the service agent then makes.

Here are some additional examples from across industries:

A particular customer calls the bank repeatedly, asking for short term loans. The bank can offer an immediate response by providing the loan, or the bank can look at the recurring issue and offer a long-term solution. The bank decides to up-service the customer by asking if he wants to join an overdraft protection account.

When a customer calls her mobile company to investigate a high bill, the agent can provide standard service, address the customer’s simple request, and explain the reason. Alternatively the agent may identify that there is a different package that would be more suitable to her mobile usage needs, and can up-service the customer.

The bottom line is that when you have satisfied customers in an inbound service interaction, you have a window of opportunity to give them more of what they need, and your service agents must be ready to seize that moment.

But it isn’t always that simple. Sometimes, you and your agents need to overcome certain challenges in order to execute this. Find out how to up-service in the right way in an upcoming post.

Moshe Samet is a solution manager of NICE’s Service-to-Sales real time solution. Moshe has 15 years of experience in positions of marketing and product management and is passionate about leveraging real time technology to provide evaluated service.

Karen Inbar is a Solution Marketer for NICE Real-Time Solutions. Karen brings over 15 years of experience in marketing strategy and product marketing, acquired while working for leading global high-tech companies.

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