Providing quality customer service is the most visible way to stand out as a brand in today’s competitive marketplace. In fact, the key to customer acquisition, retention, and advocacy lies in delivering an outstanding customer experience (CX.) But how do you translate that into sales?
It’s been proven over and over again that customers are willing to pay more and are more likely to purchase from you again if they’re happy with your service. Yet improving call center sales isn’t easy for any business.
Changing expectations through a buyers journey can make customer acquisition a moving target, furthermore the ease of ordering from any vendor at a global level makes customer retention even more challenging. Offering a slightly different product selection or marginally better pricing is no longer enough to set you apart from your competition.
If you want to drive more call center sales and increase revenue, you have to go beyond answering customer questions and resolving problems. You need to develop a great team of call center sales representatives and optimize your call center for sales. Your CSR’s needs to create ‘Wow Moments’ that inspire great customer stories and increase trust with your business.
How to Improve Call Center Sales
Call centers are your main source of customer interaction, providing your customers a chance to vent their problems, find a listening ear, and get assistance. If you build a team of alert individuals that can anticipate customer’s needs, call centers can provide true value through real-time conversations over the phone, through chat, and over the web. And, with just a few small adjustments, your call center can be used to boost sales.
Customer service interactions allow you to find out exactly what a customer wants and gives you the opportunity to sell them exactly what they need, along with up-selling products and services that can enhance their customer experience. By having a call center sales representative available to assist customers with their inquiries, orders, or post-purchase support, not only can you deliver a quality customer experience, but you can also make sales and cultivate loyalty. Offering this excellent customer service experience has been proven to reduce friction and make purchasing habitual.
The key is to put the customer first always, which means customer service and sales must be inseparable.
Call Center Sales Representative VS Customer Service Representative
Too often, businesses think that there must be two separate jobs in the call center: call center sales representatives and customer service representatives. But that’s not necessarily the case.
Customer service and sales go hand-in-hand. Generally, when someone is calling in to complain about a product or ask for help, that presents an opportunity to up-sell. And since your customer service representative has already built rapport by solving their problem, they are the best individual to complete a sale. You won’t be as successful increasing sales, if you need to add an additional step in the process by transferring customers to a sales team member to get the job done.
Instead, look for customer service team members who can double as call center sales representatives. These individuals should demonstrate the following soft skills:
- Willing to learn
- Adaptable to any situation
- Patient and positive
- Emotionally intelligent
- Problem solvers
- Motivated by success
- Focused on teamwork
- Excellent communicators
10 Call Center Sales Tips
Best-in-class call centers proactively deliver the best customer experience while driving more sales. They’re focused on gaining the greatest lifetime value from their customers, although it’s not easy its possible, if you know what you’re doing.
So, how do these call centers uncover their vast sales potential? They follow ten essential call center sales tips.
1. Gain Deep Knowledge of Your Products and Services
First and foremost, it is critical that all of your call center agents (customer service and sales-oriented) should have an in-depth understanding of your complete list of products and services. They need to be up to date with everything that’s on offer, so they know what they can sell and to whom.
The most frustrating aspect of a poor customer service experience is an agent that lacks the knowledge or ability to solve the customer’s issue, according to 36% of surveyed customers. So, the more your call center agents understand about your business, the better they’ll be able to sell it, solve problems, and provide a high-quality customer experience.
One great way to ensure your call center agents have the knowledge they need is to create a database of information about all of your products and services. They should then be able to access this information at any time to answer questions, objections, and concerns put forward by your customers.
2. Take Control of the Sales Conversation
The second most important inbound call center sales technique is to take charge of the sales conversation from the beginning. Your agents should be able to lead customer conversations confidently, clearly articulating how your products or services are relevant to each individual customer’s circumstances.
The key is to empower your agents to make on-the-spot decisions that will deliver the most desirable outcome. As part of this, your agents should feel prepared to handle customer objections, bridge the gap between what a customer wants and the products/services available, and then finally close the sale.
One of the easiest ways to increase inbound call center sales is to cross-sell your products and services. For example, if a customer calls in to ask for help on one product, you can take that opportunity to explain how another of your company’s products or services can alleviate some of their pain points. So, if your customer is buying a computer your agents should be suggesting adding a printer to their shopping cart. It’s essentially the ABC rule of thumb- ‘Always Be Closing’!
Don’t be afraid to discuss add-ons, support packages, or upgrades that can improve the customer experience. The goal is to talk about these other products and services in such a way that they become necessary to the customer’s success.
4. Focus on Building Rapport
People don’t like to be sold to. They want to buy from brands that they like and trust. By focusing on building relationships and rapport over sales, the customer will begin to feel more comfortable and open to the possibility of purchasing something.
Train your call center sales representatives on communication skills that will help build relationships with your customers and solve their challenges. Focus on training them to be:
When customers have a great experience with your brand, you earn their trust, and they’ll be more likely to buy from you. Another tactic could also include empowering your customers through referral incentives for mentioning your business to friends and family once the trust has been established.
5. Leverage Marketing Personalization Technologies
Personalized marketing is highly effective in driving sales and improving customer loyalty. Your call center sales representatives should have access to the 360-degree profiles of your prospects and customers, so they can personalize every conversation and make product recommendations based on a customer’s past purchases, preferences, browsing behaviors, and past interactions with your company. This is why it’s extremely important that when csr’s are wrapping up calls they log the details of the conversation in your crm with notes based on their interests.
Through personalization, your call center sales representatives should be able to better demonstrate empathy with your customer, which is the right approach to selling. If the customer feels like their needs are understood, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase.
6. Offer Helpful Recommendations
Your customers are looking for a solution to their problems, and they often appreciate recommendations for products and services that can help. After all, selling is all about demonstrating benefits, not features, which leaves your customers feeling much more positive and confident about their purchase.
Understanding a prospective customers’ needs, as well as the challenges they face, gives you the opportunity to offer special discounts on products and up-sell or cross-sell as needed. To improve call center sales and increase the average order value, it’s about matching every product or service with the customer’s situation and requirements.
7. Check in With Your Customers
The cost of retaining a customer is far lower than that of acquiring a new one. Additionally, a returning customer is likely to spend more because they already know and trust you, thereby increasing the overall customer lifetime value to your business.
Use your call center resources to proactively reach out to existing customers to cultivate relationships, build loyalty, and generate more sales. Do this by checking in with customers on their recent purchases, making suggestions on other products or services that could be relevant to them, and offering incentives to place another order. Just make sure your agent bases the appropriate course of action with the customer’s level of interest, tone of voice, degree of excitement, and types of questions asked.
8. Minimize Wait Time and Optimize Process
The longer you put a customer on hold, the more frustrating the call center experience becomes, and 75% of customers already say it takes too long to talk to an agent. Anything over a minute is too long, according to Velaro. Don’t lose opportunities because your customers got impatient and hung up.
Instead, use an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to help your customers get to the right representative as quickly as possible. And don’t forget to analyze your data to identify bottlenecks so you can expedite the process and improve the customer experience.
9. Be Available 24/7
In today’s global marketplace in which online business has become the norm, customers expect to get support around the clock. That’s why one essential inbound call center sales technique is to be available 24/7. Make sure your call center is staffed appropriately to handle inquiries during off-hours and holidays to service customers from all over the world. And, if this isn’t possible put in place helpful chatbots built with intuitive playbooks that will guide the customer to the answers to their questions or their needs.
10. Create a Healthy Sales Competition
Sales is considered a dog-eat-dog world, which is not an environment that everyone enjoys. However, it works for one simple reason: employees flourish when they are motivated to push harder. That’s why a sense of healthy competition amongst your call center sales representatives is a good idea along with commission-based incentives.
Whether you create sales teams that compete against each other each month for bonuses, or you offer weekly sales winners a special prize, competition is great motivation to close sales. The key is to create a staggered rewards program where there are prizes throughout the year. In that way, you consistently and constantly motivate your sales team to do better.
Call Center Inbound Sales Training: Tips and Tricks for Management
Implementing the ten call center sales tips outlined above is not something that will happen automatically. It takes careful tips, tricks, and training.
Implement Call Tracking Software
Monitoring your customers’ interactions with your agents, as well as collecting and analyzing the data, is the best way to find out if your call center sales strategy is working. For managers to effectively supervise and improve agents’ performance, you need to first set quality goals. Then, establish a monitoring process that not only lets you assess individual interactions, but also track metrics and improvements to ensure that agents are on track to meet their goals. Scorebuddy utilizes a Kudos system whereby agents get incentives based on the quality and success of their calls.
A scorecard system, is also something Scorebuddy offers, it’s a great tool to give you the big picture view of your call center sales representatives. By tracking essential metrics which reflect company policies, customer expectations, KPIs, and external benchmarking, you can determine what is working and what’s not, and then focus on those items that lead to more sales.
Just make sure you’re measuring the metrics that matter most to improving your bottom line, which means you need to take the time to learn about your customers’ expectations. Conduct interviews, surveys, and focus groups, and then incorporate that feedback into your scorecard system. You need to be continually soliciting feedback from your customers, that’s why Scorebuddy’s survey tool has been a smashing success for their clients. From there, you can provide proper training to managers and sales agents, so they understand the quality assurance standards and process.
Use Call Center Games to Increase Sales
Traditional call center training is boring! So, remember to build creativity into your training by introducing games that foster teamwork, increase engagement, raise energy levels, and encourage skill retention.
There are many fun call center training games that can be adapted for sales. For example, “Bad Role Play” is a simple role-playing scenario typically used in customer service training. However, it can be easily adapted to sales and used to point out mistakes where up-selling was missed.
Other call center games to increase sales include “Do You Remember,” which will teach your sales agents to write down pertinent information and remember key customer facts that will help them make the sale. Also, “Angry and Happy Customer” will help your sales team learn emotional intelligence, but asking them to get into the head of their customers and understand what they feel and why.
Start Implementing Call Centre Sales Techniques that Work!
Call center sales is an ongoing effort. You must constantly evaluate the goals and KPIs used for your sales team to ensure that it results in the most effective and collaborative action plan. On top of that, you should periodically review your scorecard system to ensure that it reflects your customer’s expectations and business objectives. Only through the combination of great customer service and adaptive selling will you see the increase in revenue you want.
Want to see how you can use a scorecard system to improve your call center quality and generate more sales? Find out how Scorebuddy helps call center managers improve customer satisfaction here.