By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
As call centers have traditionally been a significant drain on the enterprise’s capital, management is consistently searching for ways to not only reduce expenditures and overhead, but also for opportunities that generate revenue at the call center level. Thus, the demand for upselling in the inbound call center was created.
One area of continuous conversation is that of the call center as a business intelligence information source. Call center agents are being trained and coached on how to gather valuable data from customers that the enterprise can then in turn use to establish more customer-centric strategies and ensure growth.
Call center agents are becoming sales professionals as the call center focuses more on extending the customer relationship to purchases of additional products and services. By engaging in such a practice, the enterprise is actually reducing costs over two areas – the call center, and winning new customers.
In order for upselling to be effective in the call center, the agent must be armed with the right information in order to present products and services to the right customers. The use of proper CRM solutions can assist in the gathering business intelligence that can lend to the proper positioning for the call center.
When used effectively, a CRM solution can enable the inbound agent to access the customer’s profile data and present offers that are personalized to their customers’ needs. By following such methods, the call center can increase its close rate, increase revenues and provide better service to its customers.
Contrary to popular belief, customers do want to be sold to; when these customers are offered products or services that they will actually want and use, their perception of the company offering them, increases positively. The customer gets the sense that the company knows and understands them and the company wins another sale.
An important element for call center management to understand, however, is that many agents, focused on delivering the perfect customer experience, may view selling to the customer as a conflict of interest. This reaction is proof of the agent’s dedication to serving the customer, but management can overcome this resistance.
Management must first respect the view of the agent and then incorporate a training strategy that demonstrates to the agent that the products and services offered to the customer are really in the best interest of the customer and thus an extension of excellent customer service.
Introducing the concept of sales into your inbound call center will present new challenges as selling requires the use of new skills, processes and support tools. If you properly implement programs that effectively train, motivate and reward your agents for their new role, you will be that much closer to successful upselling in your inbound call center.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.