Telephone Upselling: Be Realistic and Not Pushy, Kislik Advises
As long as it’s not forced or aggressive, telephone upselling still has a rightful place in catalog call centers, pointed out Liz Kislik, president of Liz Kislik & Assoc., during a presentation she gave at last week’s Cyber City Teleservices Forum and User’s Conference in New York City. Kislik outlined several pointers and reminders about upselling; below are the five most notable ones followed by five useful questions catalogers should ask themselves.
1. Don’t be pushy or “slick.” “Customers hate anything that seems like aggression, pushing or manipulation,” Kislik said. “The use of force is bad news and just doesn’t pay off in the long term even if it can in the short term.” Customers also hate to be slicked into buying something they had no intention of buying, she added.
2. Focus on selling your own stuff. Reps only should upsell products their company carries, “where you know it has value and people recognize that value,” she said. “You can put your brand and image behind it, and that’s what customers like best.”
3. Choose reasonably priced products for upselling. “It’s unreasonable to try to upsell something that costs more than one-third of what the person was going to purchase,” Kislik said. “Look at what your customers have bought over time in choosing price points. If they’ve typically bought smaller items, offer smaller items.”
4. Choose your pitch wisely. Consider the fine line between simply asking customers if they want to hear about a special you’re offering vs. a “Because of what you just ordered, I have a special offer for you” approach.
The approach that works for your catalog, Kislik said, “is the approach your operational culture will sustain. Asking customers if they’d like to hear offers is less threatening, and reps can work more easily with that approach. “On the other hand,” she said, “you don’t give customers a choice if they don’t know what kind of offer they’re deciding on.”
5. Make your add-on offer easy to describe and understand. Up-sold products should have universal appeal, Kislik advised. They should also have a relatively low rate of return and high credibility and desirability among CSRs.
Kislik also laid out several questions operations chiefs should ponder in setting up upsell programs:
1. Do you have enough merchandise or people to deliver?
2. Can you make good on your promise?
3. Can you tell what’s going on?
4. Do you have the systems to track reports on which merchandise works?
5. Do you have the systems to track reports on which techniques work?