Benchmarking Contact Center Best Practices for Cross-Selling & Up-Selling

Apr 04, 2012 11:35 PM  By

In today’s competitive consumer market, the need to maximize returns on every customer interaction and maintain strong customer relationships is more important than ever. Many companies are rethinking the methods they use to drive marketing efforts.

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One such method many companies are incorporating into their customer engagement centers is the process of cross-selling and up-selling.

Taking advantage of cross-selling and up-selling can maximize company profits and significantly enhance the overall customer experience by adding value to customers during inbound interactions and limiting the number of outbound calls potential and existing customer receive.

Right now you might be thinking to yourself, “How can I successfully introduce these tactics into my own contact center?” In this article, we’ll explore four steps for effectively incorporating cross-selling and up-selling into your contact center’s future marketing campaigns, and how to recognize success.

Clearly define goals

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In order to have a successful cross-sell or up-sell campaign, you must first clearly define what success looks like. You will need to define what you are trying to achieve, how will you measure results, and what time period you will measure.

Once these questions have been answered you can set specific goals for the campaign. Having clearly defined goals will allow you to provide employees with a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish through their interactions with your customers.

As a leader setting goals for your employees, you’ll want to craft these goals around a specific purpose or outcome and clearly define the time you intend to measure. For example, if you work in the snack food industry and want to increase sales among your smaller clients, providing your call agents with the broad goal of “increasing sales” isn’t enough.

How much do you want to increase sales by? Who should they be targeting? When should this goal be met? A more defined goal might be, “We want to increase the number of orders we take in by 35% over the next six weeks.”

Providing employees a clear picture of what they’re working toward decreases the possibility for any misunderstanding. This also unifies the team as a whole and greatly reduces the potential for employees to inadequately fulfill their duties associated with the given campaign.

Know how to measure success

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To accurately measure the success or failure of a campaign, there must be a defined standard to compare against. Selecting the correct key performance indicators (KPIs) is an invaluable part of any marketing campaign. A KPI is a defined method by which one can consistently measure the performance of an organization or an individual business unit and the campaigns they are involved with.

Selecting the right KPIs for your business’ marketing campaign requires a firm grasp on what is important to your organization and the campaign you’re working on. As outlined above, this understanding of your goals is required to effectively determine the success or failure of the campaign based upon the objectives of the organization.

But simply comparing the number of new services sold would not be an adequate KPI as this does not provide you with a frame of reference. The sale of 1,000 new services might sound great, but if you had 50,000 opportunities to sell to eligible customers and only achieved 1,000 sales you probably wouldn’t be satisfied with the results.

In the end, not only can the right KPIs provide a precise measure of an organization’s efforts, but it can also provide organizations with insight into what areas require maintenance in order to successfully reach their overall objectives. Remember, what gets measured gets moved.

So now that you have an idea of how to measure the success or failure of your contact center’s marketing efforts, how do you get your employees to work hard to achieve your goals?

Create an incentive plan

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To promote optimal productivity among contact center employees, you need the right incentives. Often times, employees find themselves wondering, “How do I benefit from this?” or “What’s in it for me?”

The best way to address these questions is by incorporating a detailed employee incentive plan into your cross sell or up-sell campaign. This will encourage your agents to maximize their efforts.

But an incentive plan can easily fail if you offer a reward that is not of interest to your employees, or if you set an unrealistic goal. Your goals should be stretching, but achievable.

Providing agents with an added push to perform to the best of their ability is a win-win situation for the employee and the organization as both eagerly work toward the same goal to achieve a specific desired outcome.

Actively communicate

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While each of the factors discussed impact the success or failure of a campaign, communication is the key to achieving success. Having a successful communication plan requires you to do several things including: explain the purpose of the campaign, provide additional training, promote your incentive plan and recognizing success.

Purpose: Why am I doing this?

This relates directly back to the goals you established for your employees and the overall campaign.

Training: How do I do my job correctly?

In order to be successful, employees need to be well-versed in the product they are offering, they need to understand what kind of questions customers are likely to ask them and be prepared to respond, and they need to know what the benefits of the product are to the customer (remember: features tell, benefits sell).

You can help your contact center agents by providing guidance on how they should respond to product question or objections from customer. Having specific responses available will allow your agents to focus on their selling skills and not worry about a question a customer might ask.

Promotion: How do I promote the campaign?

The key to successfully promoting your company’s product is to make it a natural part of the agent-customer conversation. Agents can use probing questions to identify the customer’s need that the specific product or service fulfills.

Recognizing success

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When you see your agents doing things well, tell them! Track your campaign’s progress publicly and recognize the top performers are. This will continue to motivate them to perform, and give underperformers added incentive to pick up the pace.

Simply providing employees with a fast fact sheet or new sales expectations will not adequately address potential questions and may prevent your employees from effectively reaching the campaign goals.

While the idea of cross-selling and up-selling isn’t new, it is important to adequately plan and communicate with your contact center employees to ensure you get the most out of your efforts.

Using each of these best practices will greatly increase the success of your cross-selling and up-selling efforts within your contact center and improve the value your contact center offers to your organization as well.

Jason Lancaster is chief operating officer for Dialogue Marketing.