3 Questions to Consider Before Asking Agents to Up-sell

Guest Post by Joanna Jones of MHI Global Asking contact center agents to up-sell or cross-sell while interacting with customers sounds simple enough, but the reality of up or cross-selling is not as easy as it sounds. As profits continue to be squeezed from all directions, it is natural for companies to look for ways to sell more product or service. Contact centers struggle to remain net-positive, and some executive teams look at the numbers and think "if only more sales were being generated from these contact centers, our overall numbers would look better." In theory this seems plausible, but if asking your contact center agents to suddenly become proficient at sales without proper due diligence and training, then you'll likely find your numbers disappointing. Three questions to consider before asking contact center employees to push sales are:

  1. What are the types of calls coming into your contact center? Before expanding the agent's role, it is important to understand the reasons customers are contacting you. Are they looking for technical support? Do they contact you to gather more information regarding your product or service? Being clear about the types of calls your agents respond to will help you figure out how to train agents to communicate other options or opportunities to the customer.
  2. Are your agents properly trained to cross or up-sell? Without proper training and practice, agents will be clumsy in their attempts at up-selling and may end up frustrating the customer and themselves. This negative spiral can be avoided if agents are given clear expectations about selling and are then provided with targeted training. Call center sales training is more nuanced than simply fulfilling requests or pitching additional products or services. Before any product can be pitched, the agent must first listen to the customer to understand his/her needs before presenting value-added options or services that can be of benefit.
  3. Is your technology working in your favor? Contact centers that provide agents with CRM software that allows them to have better insight into the customer will make it much easier to up-sell. When agents have access to customer data they are able to personalize their pitches and offer products or services that the customer is most likely to be interested in.
Asking contact center agents to up-sell and cross-sell requires specialized training that develops selling skills and boosts agent confidence. When done well, your contact center can generate more sales and create better customer experiences. With the right customer service training there is no reason your contact center agents can't generate more sales and boost profits.
  Joanna Jones is a professional copywriter and marketing strategist who has partnered with MHI Global for five years. As a marketing professional, Joanna works closely with customer service teams and helps companies improve their B2B and B2C communications and strategy. joanna@jonesandquinn.com.

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