Call centers can be profit makers or losers, depending on how they’re run and the type of company they’re used for. Commonly, call centers are focused on customer service and used to help customers solve problems or find solutions – which may be great for the brand and product, but this singular purpose can turn a call center into a money pit for the company’s bottom line. A popular solution is simply to combine the call center into a “customer service/sales center,” meaning – just have the reps upsell and we’ll start to make money.
Sounds simple, right?
In theory, yes. However, in practice, companies that attempt to convert their customer service teams into a sales force, without the proper call center sales training, may soon be surprised to see another number as part of their metrics: turnover rates.
The truth is that simply asking call center employees to upsell, cross-sell, or “add on that warranty” during their conversations with disgruntled or confused customers callers is not as simple as it sounds. Selling requires a new paradigm shift and attitude, and it’s likely that the majority of customer service representatives never received proper call center sales training instruction during their initial training, nor were they under the impression during the job hiring process that they were also expected to be salespeople. Call centers that attempt to force quick sales training into the job duties may see staff losses as high as 25%. If this story sounds familiar to you and your management staff, what are you to do?
Call Center Sales Training that Takes the Pressure off of Sales
Call center sales training requires more than fulfilling requests and pitching an additional product or service to the customer. A blanket approach – upselling and cross-selling – during the call may not only jeopardize your staff and their job satisfaction, but it will likely make your customers even more disgruntled (thus obviating any gains made by having customer service reps available for questions). One of the keys, therefore, in call center sales training is to teach your staff to truly listen to the customers’ needs; simply asking your reps to “sell, sell, sell” may drive away the customer if it’s not in response to what the customer needs at the moment. A more effective call center sales training approach focuses on listening closely to the customer’s needs, considers ways to add value for the customer – by providing additional information about the product, for example – and then suggests complementary products or services if it truly will benefit the customer. The point is that upselling and cross-selling becomes a part of the service process, not the goal of the call.
Call Center Sales Training Should Give Your Staff Confidence
A second and crucial component to call center sales training involves boosting your staff’s self-assurance with telephone sales. An important factor in learning to sell involves gaining confidence and positions sales as a natural extension of the customer service role. Proper call center sales training is not simply “training”; it’s an entire learning process that will not only help reps have a new attitude toward sales, but it will help them use skills to overcome buyer resistance in a way that is not overly pushy. When your staff has confidence in their selling ability, they will feel informed about the sales process, feel more eager to sell, and most importantly, be able to increase the customer’s satisfaction because the upselling or cross-selling is done appropriately and knowledgeably.
Turn Your Call Centers into Profitable Sales Centers – Without Losing Your Staff or Customers
If you are ready to convert your call center into one that offers customer service and sales, make sure that you don’t lose any of your staff – or customers – in the process. Asking your staff to upsell and cross-sell requires specialized call center sales training that will result in newfound skills and confidence for your staff, and ideally, more satisfied customers who feel listened to and that they benefited from additional expertise and product offerings. Customer service reps can be wonderful sales people, and your call center can be profitable – all it takes is the right customer service training approach.