What if I told you that the call center could be one of the biggest revenue generators in your entire enterprise?

Today, the call center is seen by many COOs as a cost of doing business – a necessary evil – rather than as a revenue-generating group.

This negative perspective didn’t start overnight. It’s the result of a much broader changing tide.

Five or ten years ago, core call center activities would perform efficiently and effectively. Take outbound sales, for example. You had a challenge, and the typical buying behavior was to reach out to a salesperson, or have them reach out to you, to discuss potential solutions.

Today, though, consumers do their own research on the web, talking to salespeople as a final step (if ever at all!). Customers are also more interrupted than ever, with a million calls, emails, and advertisements vying for their attention. They screen cold calls, ignore solicitation emails, and are harder than ever to get in touch with.

Because of these new customer behaviors, when today’s call centers do outbound sales, they perform very poorly. This means that those activities are dragging down the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall call center team.

But the other side of the call center – customer service – is blooming because of those same changes to consumer behavior.

Customers want on-demand support, constantly putting calls into the support team looking for help with their service. When they do, effective customer care specialists can upsell and cross-sell organically, offering advice around complimentary products or service upgrades, and doing so in a non-interruptive way.

If the customer is calling about the shoes they just purchased, a good customer care specialist will be able to weave socks, shoe polish, and insoles into the service conversation. Today, this is the most efficient and effective way to create revenue through the call center.

Call center revenue generation doesn’t happen without a detailed end-to-end process, though.

These are the three big concepts to consider when building out your call center process for real revenue generation:

1. Training in the Art of the Soft Sell

Selling is not the primary function of customer support, but that doesn’t mean Care Specialists don’t need to be good at the soft sell.

Ensure that you’re training your customer support team to get to the heart of the customer’s challenge, steer the conversation around cross-sell and upsell opportunities, know the inventory and catalog inside and out, and don’t apply pressure. Your training program should revolve around the power of support and suggestion.

2. Set Goals & Objectives for Clarity

While the aim is not necessarily to create a sales culture within the customer support team, clear goals and objectives do need to be set so that the team knows what they are shooting for.

How much should your Care Specialists be selling each month? Based on their volume, how does that translate into conversion levels? What’s the average revenue per call across the team? With clearly defined metrics in place, this level of tracking becomes easy, and by monitoring how individual Care Specialists are performing, then they can be strategically motivated through positive feedback, incentives, and end-of-year performance appraisals.

3. Supercharge Conversions with Predictive Analytics

Finally, incorporating big data. Your customers have very particular tastes – no two are alike. How then, can a Care Specialist know what products or services to recommend? The answer lies in the customer data.

By knowing what customers have purchased in the past, and knowing what products and services generally complement or follow a purchase, the Care Specialist can truly add value to the customer experience.

Amazon has been a long-time leader in this kind of predictive analytics, and every company investing in customer experience should be following suit. By being smarter with data, it’s going to be easier to sell, the team’s conversion rates will increase, and the cost per interaction will decrease.

The Big Picture on Customer Care

At the end of the day, the goal of the customer support team is to provide the best possible level of service. For the call center to start driving real revenue, instead of simply being a cost of doing business, Care Specialists need to strike a balance between creating a great customer experience and being on the lookout for soft-sell revenue generating opportunities.

To be able to do that, the customer care team needs to be properly trained on cross-sell and upsell skills, they need to understand their team’s goals and individual objectives, and they need the support of predictive care analytics to supercharge their conversion rates.

Is your call center simply a cost of doing business, or is it a revenue generating machine?

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