Your internet is down. After being on hold for 20 minutes waiting for someone to answer the phone, you spend another 45 minutes going back and forth with the agent to resolve the problem. Just as you are about to end the call the agent asks, “Do you want to upgrade to our Business 40 Internet package for $17.99 more per month?” After an hour-long experience, you just want your kids to stop complaining about not being able to play X-box or watch YouTube videos while thinking I just want what I already pay for to work and abruptly say “No” and hang-up the phone!
Up-selling is the practice of positioning an enhanced or additional product or service to a customer in order to improve their overall experience or alleviate a pain point. Cross-selling, on the other hand, refers to inviting a customer to purchase a complementary or similar priced item that is better suited for their needs. In either case, how the value proposition is presented is crucial to the success of the effort. Poorly executed up-selling and cross-selling attempts (like the above example) have unintended consequences and can often leave a bad taste in your customers mouths.
Up-selling and cross-selling is a massive opportunity for your company to increase top line revenue, but only if they are intelligently executed. Customer service agents need to be trained how to identify both verbal and non-verbal clues in order to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves and how to successfully communicate the offer as a solution to a problem. When executed correctly, these opportunities provide for a win-win scenario.
Let’s look at some of the techniques your customer service agents can use to cross-sell and up-sell.
1. Your agents should focus on fully understanding what the root cause of the customer’s issue is!
First, agents need to fully understand the issue brought forward by the customer. There are several tactics that can be coached to help an agent accomplish this. Once the “real” pain is captured, the agent can then logically position a cross-sell or up-sell opportunity that will not only take care of the pain, but put the agent in a position where they become a consultative solutions provider. This creates a level of trust between your company and your customer base, and we know most people buy products from companies they trust.
As your team becomes more adept at executing this strategy they will provide practical solutions for your customers and even begin to address anticipated problems once they clearly understand a customer’s situation.
2. Focus on providing maximum value not just pitching a “product”.
To up-sell or cross-sell successfully, you need to demonstrate the value you are offering to the customer. If your agents have solved the customer’s initial problem, understood their needs and identified an opportunity, then it’s time to make a move.
Agents must understand your customer’s requirements and their interests before pitching for an up-sell or cross-sell. This approach will work better than just proposing some benefits of a product without knowing what a customer really needs.
For example, a car salesman can say, “By purchasing this car, you will save a lot of money.” This statement isn’t very specific. It doesn’t explain the “how will they save money” or focus on fulfilling a specific customer need. A better approach would be to say, “I know you mentioned you do a lot of driving. This model may be a little more expensive up front, but it is by far more fuel efficient. Over time, your gas savings alone will more than cover the upfront difference.” This statement is more specific and proposes a solution to a customer’s needs.
Customer service agents should focus on providing maximum value when positioning an up-sell or cross-sell opportunity. Agents need to be trained how to build rapport, the importance of listening skills, terrific product knowledge, and a keen understanding of the most profitable products and/or services.
3. Train your agents to leverage cross-selling and up-selling as a solution to a problem.
Products and/or services recommended through an up-selling or cross-selling attempt need to be pertinent to the customer’s needs. Agents should up-sell or cross-sell only when the product or service can be positioned as a solution to a customer issue rather than just proposing a product without having a specific reason.
For example, if a customer intends to buy a laptop for his child and you blindly offer budgeting software because it is the focus product of the month it will be clear to the customer that you are only interested in taking their money. Any rapport or trust built can be erased with one “empty” offer.
For a successful up-sell, you need to go beyond the “offer of the month” and focus on asking the right questions to consultatively lead the customer to an up-sell opportunity that makes sense for their individual scenario. By doing so, you will proactively identify unmet needs and lead the customer to an eventual YES.
Cross-selling and up-selling campaigns require more than just a script and an offer of the month to be successful and add to a positive overall customer experience. They require a clear and repeatable strategy, a focused training program, technology in the form of a product/service knowledge base, a defined quality assurance strategy including speech analytics, and a consistent performance management strategy.
To learn more about The Office Gurus’ and how we build successful up-sell and cross- sell programs, contact us today and a specialist will reach out to schedule a consultation.