Special Focus: Ops & Fulfillment
Upselling, the Multichannel Way
It’s Time to Master the Phone/Online Upsell
By Liz Kislik
Since the 1980s, when the majority of catalog orders began shifting from mail orders to the telephone, it’s become standard practice to not just take phone orders efficiently, but also to incorporate the upsell as a regular part of call center operations.
But it’s 2007, and the typical catalog order isn’t necessarily over the phone anymore. Consider this scenario:
Your customer calls to place an order and everything in the process goes smoothly. Your order taker follows standard practice and offers one or more upsells. In the classic equation, you’ve created additional potential value for the customer — more satisfaction with your fabulous products, more sense of loyalty because of your extraordinary care, increased order value for little or no increased cost, and a greater share of wallet, among others.
Here’s the modern-day twist: Your customer is online shopping the site during the phone call. How can you take advantage of this multichannel experience to add value in a new way? Naturally, this is going to happen more and more frequently, so it makes sense to approach the process strategically.
Feel Them Out
The first thing you want to find out is if calling customers are online. Certainly you can find this out if they announce it, but even that knowledge will need to be filtered by a rep who is listening and making appropriate decisions. At some point, try asking customers if they’re online so you can guide them from there.
If they’re online, figure out whether it’s worth addressing the situation. Do you want them online while you’re on the phone? The cost advantage of self-service on the Web no longer applies; the full expense of any inbound phone call has been triggered anyway.