Your call center agents serve as the front of house for your business. Providing both a first impression and a means to solving a problem, each call holds the possibility of business growth. Customer touchpoints bring with them opportunities to improve satisfaction, solidify loyalty, and even increase sales. But integrating upsell tactics into customer care calls requires a delicate balance between providing service and connecting customers to new opportunities.
First and foremost, highly trained customer care representatives know their primary goal is to address their callers’ questions or concerns flawlessly. But once issues are resolved, the best representatives leverage their relationship-building skills to convert a sale. High-performing call centers know how to balance customer care and service alongside upselling, and so can yours with these tips.
1. Focus on Call Quality
Before call center teams start strategizing upselling opportunities, leaders should review their call quality reports. Ensure that your IVR structure is effective, offering a manageable menu of selections that address the most common reasons for calling. Review speed to answer, call time, first call resolution, and number of calls metrics to confirm that they’re on target.
If not, take a step back to retrain and refocus on call quality before you deploy business development efforts. Assess customer satisfaction data for the past year, identifying trends and seasonal outliers. Dig into periods of high volume or events unique to your industry that could drive customer calls. Aim to get your house in order before you start adding new initiatives like upselling or expanding reps’ scripting.
2. Train Associates to Build Rapport
While understanding your business and how to resolve customer issues are foundational for customer care associates, so is relationship building. Some people naturally have the gift of gab, easily finding commonalities in conversations and making new contacts and fast friends. At work, this skill can be learned to help further organizational and personal goals.
Break down the components of rapport building to the basics and create training programs to help teams improve their skills. Focus on empathetic listening, finding common ground, and mirroring language to build trust, an essential before pitching a sale. On the phone and in person, customers find it easier to listen to and buy from people they like. Plus, honing your agents’ rapport-building skills can improve overall customer satisfaction as well as conversion rates for enhanced services.
3. Identify Customer Pain Points to Unlock Opportunities
As your associates listen to their customers’ reasons for calling, they may also hear about other problems clients are experiencing. Instruct representatives to take note of one-off comments about functionality issues, wish list items, and the inadequacies of competitors’ offerings. These pain points could be solved by one of your existing products.
If your organization doesn’t offer a solution, share these insights with your voice-of-the-customer and product teams for consideration. Make upsells natural by mirroring how a friend would recommend a solution to a problem you just shared. Position product offers and enhancements as a way to address your customer’s issue, backing up claims with data.
4. Pitch Offers That Truly Add Value
Your customer called in for a reason, and it wasn’t to be upsold. Guide associates to pursue upselling opportunities that would truly add value to the customer. A key to ensuring that the right customers are identified is for teams to be well-versed in your products’ capabilities. Understanding the specifics of your products can help associates make the right connections to customer problems.
Create a culture where providing value surpasses sales opportunities, which will help you avoid overselling. As commonly noted in marketing circles, selling to everyone often translates to selling to no one. Avoid generalizing sales efforts, instead focusing on customers truly in need of your solution. Following this practice not only respects your clients’ loyalty, but it also supports long-term customer retention.
5. Provide Incentives for Upselling but Discourage Overselling
Incentives can rev the engine of call center teams to identify and pursue upselling opportunities, but consider establishing sales parameters. For example, a retail bank shouldn’t treat every customer as a potential upsell for a new checking account. An 87-year-old retiree isn’t likely to need multiple checking accounts. However, a mid-career professional pursuing a side hustle may benefit from separating their personal and business finances.
Work with your sales team to qualify upselling opportunities and tie financial incentives to value-add sales more so than others. Create a clear incentive policy where associates have access to parameters and exceptions to manage expectations from the beginning. A policy that prioritizes qualified leads can help reduce overselling and improve your team’s conversion rate. In this model, associates can celebrate more wins, while customers can happily add services that provide value.
Exude Gratitude for Existing Customers No Matter the Sales Outcome
The adage about a bird in the hand being more valuable than two in the bush is true. The customers you have are gold, and they should be treated as such. Nurture your client relationships through high-quality customer care, products and services that deliver, and solutions-driven sales. This combination creates an organic business partnership, where your customers’ success is the goal, and your organization supports their efforts.