Born This Way? Real-time Up-Selling and Cross-Selling in a Contact Center Setting

As contact center agents are asked to do more to generate new revenue, one question echoes through boardrooms and customer service team meetings: Are salespeople born or made? We think that, if they have the right tools, it no longer matters. Almost anyone can achieve upsell and cross-sell success, so long as the following four challenges can be overcome:

  • First, agents need to know what to offer. That’s not easy in today’s competitive environment, where new products and offers are launched every day. No one can learn and digest all the company’s offers at the lightning-fast pace of business today. Moreover, what to offer depends on the context of the interaction. Who is the customer: why is she calling today, what is her history with the company, what has she said during the interaction that might reveal needs we didn’t know of? And who is agent: how strong are his sales skills?

  • Secondly, there’s salesmanship. Do your agents know how to make an offer? Contact center agents are service-people, foremost. To support sales functions, they must switch gears on the fly, and start upselling and cross-selling in the context of a service interaction. They must present an offer in a convincing manner, as if it is a natural extension of customers’ own interests, handle any rebuttal and respond with confidence to questions.... It’s not easy, and it requires a completely different skill-set than service.

  • Thirdly, sales execution can pose some issues. Assuming your agents have overcome the first two challenges—what to offer and how to offer it—they must be able to successfully fulfill the order. Execution involves lots of low-value, often tedious, routine tasks, typically requiring agents to access many applications at once. It’s a time-consuming and highly error-prone part of the sales process. And it conflicts with other KPIs agents are measured on, such as Average Handle Time. Should the agent spend time on flawless execution, or graciously (yet expediently) close the interaction with the customer? Can he do both?

  • The fourth challenge is learning. How can you ensure that all the information you gather about your customers, your products and services—and offers related to them, your sales processes and your agents’ performance goes toward continuous improvement? Every interaction provides more insight with which to fine-tune your operations, and coach and compensate your agents appropriately. The challenge is ensuring that all new information is fed back into the enterprise systems, and ultimately, acted on.

Conquer these four challenges and real-time cross-sell and upsell success lies ahead, no matter who handles the customer interaction. With solution like Service-to-Sales, the question of made-or-born-salespeople becomes moot. Take a look at how our solution can addresses the challenges to sales success.

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