3 Steps for Successfully Implementing Cross-Selling and Upselling
Are your customer service representatives (CSRs) cross-selling and upselling relevant products and services to your customers? If they aren’t, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to offer a better customer experience and generate extra revenue.
As more contact centers explore implementing cross-selling and upselling, they’re finding very little information on how to do it successfully. To solve that issue, Playvox recently fielded a survey of U.S.-based contact center professionals who have added cross-selling and upselling to their responsibilities. Based on that research, we’ve chosen four action steps you can take immediately.
For more information about how you can implement cross-selling and upselling, including best practices from contact centers that are currently practicing these techniques, make sure to read the full research report.
1. Emphasize Educating, Not Selling
CSRs are the lifeblood of the contact center, playing a crucial role in building relationships with your customers. Contact centers realize that there’s an opportunity to capitalize on these positive relationships by adding cross-selling and upselling to CSR responsibilities. However, smart contact center leaders won’t emphasize selling, but rather educating.
As our research found, many CSRs are uncomfortable with selling, and it’s safe to say that most customers don’t want to be outright sold to when they’re calling about a problem with the product they recently ordered. The emphasis should be on customer education rather than hard selling.
As Jessica Albrecht, customer experience manager at Rhone says, “We don’t ever want to be pushy with sales. We’re trying to notify the customer what other options are available and see what they’re interested in.” The head of client experience/quality at a major financial company echoes this: “To be successful with cross-selling and upselling, you must look at your customers’ needs. What do they value? What will help them achieve their goals?”
2. Realize it’s a Long Game
If contact center’s primary motivation for cross-selling and upselling isn’t to increase revenue, then what metric do they hope to influence? Customer lifetime value (CLV) was a key goal mentioned by our interview respondents.
As Ben Segal, director of infrastructural efficiency at Freshly, an e-commerce meal subscription company, says: “We use cross-selling/upselling to boost customer engagement and retention. It helps us increase overall customer lifetime value and order rates.”
The key here is to realize if you’re hoping to increase a metric like CLV, then the greatest payoff from cross-selling and upselling comes over time — you won’t satisfy this goal in the short term. The fact that the majority of our respondents are focused on customer education reinforces this point: They’re looking to drive long-term value for their customers, not necessarily make more money. If they do generate revenue, that’s great, but it’s not the primary goal.
3. Make it Part of Your Culture
The companies that we spoke with that said they were successful at cross-selling and upselling had one key characteristic: they make it part of their culture. This means they consistently reinforce to CSRs the importance of cross-selling and upselling through ongoing training, coaching and quality assessment feedback.
They’re patient in working with CSRs who are reluctant to cross-sell or upsell to help them realize that they’re assisting customers rather than hard selling. They work with CSRs on the soft skills, which are the most challenging to teach, to help them identify opportunities and to do it in a way that isn’t off-putting to customers.
Ben Segal of Freshly says, “We reinforce that it’s part of our culture through training, QA, and one-on-one coaching where we’ll dig into calls and offer feedback. We also motivate them through contests where they can accumulate points and redeem them for days off or gift cards. We also have a weekly newspaper we send out that recognizes agents who did a great job.”
Take the Next Step
Cross-selling and upselling are considerable opportunities for your contact center, and our research gives you the tools to start implementing them.
Kristyn Emenecker is chief product and strategy officer at Playvox, a company that equips contact centers and BPOs with a cloud-native, digital-first customer service suite for quality management, workforce management, and beyond.
Kristyn Emenecker is the Chief Product & Strategy Officer at Playvox. Her role is to define product strategy and lead the creation of products that deliver increased, differentiated value to both customers and the business. Kristyn has been a leading voice in the customer experience (CX) and contact center industry for more than 20 years and is frequent speaker on cloud contact center and customer engagement topics. She has honed that love for the customer in various senior leadership roles across SaaS product/technology, operational, consulting, sales/marketing, and corporate strategy at companies including Verint, inContact, Mercom, and TPG TeleManagement. She recently served as SVP Product Strategy for Verint, where she was responsible for product and go-to-market strategy globally for Verint’s broad portfolio of 30+ Customer Engagement solutions.