One of the most difficult aspects of customer service is the selling process. Customer service reps are generally comfortable working with people, enjoy talking to customers, but ask them what they like least about their job? Sales.
Customer Service is Sales
Although not your typical sales department, today’s call center environment requires customer support team members to wear multiple hats in the organization.
At one time or another, you’ll find customer service people performing sales and marketing functions as part of their day-to-day assignments. Two critical points are required to make this transition effective:
- Keep customer service agents comfortable.
- Keep customer service agents asking the right questions.
Sales related functions strike fear in the hearts of customer service agents. The act of up selling, converting, retention, product offerings, etc. are the dread of customer support reps. Let’s be honest, if they enjoyed it, they’d be working in sales, not customer service.
3 Questions to Get Your Customer Service Agents Selling
Customer service agents often have a head start in the selling process because they’re usually comfortable talking to people. Their customer focus and friendly people skills come in handy when they’re required to start a sales dialogue with customers.
Customer Service Question 1 – Are we the right fit for you?
Peter Borke’s book, UnSelling, hits on the principle at the heart of keeping service reps engaged in the selling process. Customer service people are most effective in sales when their focus is on helping customers. The sales process has to be based around advice, counsel, clarifying questions, etc. – all of which is helping the customer to better understand how the product or service will accomplish their goal.
Customer Service Question 2 – What do customer typically use?
The most uncomfortable situation a customer support rep can immagine is trying to force a customer to do/buy something they don’t want/need. Effective sales in the customer support environment is based on creating a dialogue with customers. A dialogue that’s relevant to the customer’s world. A dialogue that demonstrates that they understand the customer’s business. A dialogue that is backed up by evidence of how current customers are solving problems by using the offered product or service.
Customer Service Question 3 – What are the next steps to getting this done?
In customer support, the real customer professionals have an easy time convincing customers of services, products, and features, but struggle in the execution of closing the deal. We’re just not used to the sales closing process. We’re more comfortable helping customer navigate once the course has been chartered.
The goal is to simplify and clearly outline the buying process, so that as customer service reps consult with customers, they walk the customer through the process to make the best, most-informed decision.
Focusing on these 3 key questions to get you customer assistance reps selling is the path to turning your service relationship experts, into sales relationship professionals. The culture and skill-set of customer service agents is the foundation to selling in the age of social connection with customers.
If you liked this, be sure to check out the archives of all of my posts.