How Contact Centers Can Turn Customer Service Calls into Sales

    It’s time to stop thinking about the contact center as a cost center. As consumer expectations for customer experience rise, the agent’s role is shifting, and as a result your customer service team has the potential to significantly influence customer satisfaction and loyalty. And by delivering collaborative customer service, they can also sell additional products and services.

    In other words, your contact center has the potential to become a meaningful source of revenue.

    However, making the shift from customer service to sales will require businesses to rethink strategy, processes, tools and agent training. If you plan to go down this path, be sure to incorporate these five ideas into your plan.

    1.  Align Sales and Contact Center Strategies

    There’s a reason why so much emphasis is placed on the customer experience: People want to be treated the same way, whether they’re talking to a salesperson or chatting via the web with a contact center agent. Decide what kind of brand experience you want to deliver, and make sure every interaction meets that promise. By tightly aligning sales and contact center strategies, you’ll deliver a consistent experience with every interaction. The result will be greater customer loyalty, which in turn leads to repeat sales.

    2.  Develop a Service-Centric Sales Mindset

    Every interaction between a customer and a call center agent is a sales opportunity. Train your customer service teams to recognize when a customer can benefit by upgrading or purchasing another of your products or services. In this consultative approach, agents put customer satisfaction first and recommend products only to help solve the customer’s problem as opposed to robotically following a script. To be successful, agents must be trained on how to listen, determine underlying concerns, and explore both the stated and unstated needs of the customer, according to ICMI.

    3.  Offer Real-Time Training

    One way to improve an agent’s sales skills is by deploying contact center tools that can support your agent while they’re working with a customer. With instant messaging integrated into your business phone system, for example, the agent can message a senior or high-performing colleague and get immediate advice. Coaching features built into leading contact center solutions enable supervisors to silently monitor calls and coach the agent to deliver appropriate responses – all without the customer being aware. Finally, businesses can integrate a CRM into their contact center solution to give agents a 360-degree view of the customer and their previous interactions with the company.

    4.  Leverage Data Insights to Increase Customer Happiness

    Data offers invaluable insights to streamline customer interactions and create faster, more satisfying resolutions. According to Accenture, 82% of customers who switch from one brand to another say they would’ve stayed with the first company if it had resolved their issue. Contact center reports can help you understand the root cause of a poor interaction, whether it’s a badly designed process or toxic service interactions. When customer satisfaction increases, so do repeat sales.

    5.  Take Advantage of Vendor Training

    The truth is, you’re probably not using your contact center technology to its fullest potential. Work with your vendor to offer regular training so that agents can learn more about its features and functionality. They’re likely to discover new tools that can help them reduce interaction time and increase sales opportunities.

    To improve the top line, businesses need to equip their front line with the tools, processes, training and support that can help them recognize new sales opportunities. And with a team of agents who think more broadly in terms of sales as a solution, your business will improve its bottom line as well.

    Learn more about ShoreTel’s contact center solutions.

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