How to Increase AOV in Your Call Center, Part 1 of 2
Let’s start the new year off right and work on ways to increase your revenue. One way is to effectively use your call center to increase your average order. By increasing average order value (AOV), you increase your gross margins, profitability and, thus, increase profits. Or, put another way, by increasing your gross margins you have more money to contribute to your marketing efforts.
Always remember that your customer service reps (CSRs) are the front line of your business. If you want to know what’s going on with your business, just ask one of them.
So what kind of sales training do you do in your call center? I have a simple technique that I’ve used for years, and if done right, it can increase your average sale by up to 20 percent. Start by recording your reps’ inbound calls. Divide your reps into groups and take a few minutes each day to review the day’s recorded calls with each group. Challenge your reps to begin to spot upsell and cross-sell opportunities often missed in live-call situations.
Many companies let their order-processing software define specifics of what other product is presented to a customer during an order call. But I prefer to train CSRs to think on their feet. They shouldn’t merely recommend the specific cross-sell items, but rather have the leeway to recommend any item that fits within the context of the call. This can lead to giving customers a more personalized shopping feel while increasing your AOV. But you must hire CSRs who can work this way. Then you just mentor and monitor them on an ongoing basis.
Have Others Chime In
As you’re listening to calls, encourage other reps in the group to chime in and offer comments. Make it fun and keep the atmosphere light and “safe” — safe meaning make sure each rep knows that mistakes are OK, and it’s all part of the learning process. Each time a signal is missed, an opportunity is lost. Time to stop the tape. This is the perfect time to role-play the moment until the rep learns how to correct the situation. In time, by breaking down each call, your reps will learn to better listen for opportunities. And the behavior will become routine.
More on this topic next week. Got comments? Got your own stories? Post them below!
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.