Turn Call Centers into Sales Centers
January 25, 2013
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
, TMCnet Contributor
If you have a typical call center, you have one overriding goal: to answer customer calls and queries. You may also do a little outbound work to drum up business. Truly successful contact centers go much further than this, however.
While the call center certainly is the place to solve customer problems and answer questions, it’s also the frontline of a company. It has more contact with customers than all other company departments put together, and it’s in the best position to truly understand the relationships the organization has with customers. For this reason, the call center is in the best position to actively generate new business by cross-selling and upselling new and complementary products and services to customers.
“Contact centers are expected to provide excellent service to their customers, but we continue to see many centers expected to do more: e.g., add sales, generate leads, provide software and hardware technical support, etc.,” writes call center benchmarking organization BenchmarkPortal (News
) in a recent blog post
. “A focus on sales and lead generation is consistently becoming more important because contact centers have the potential to become revenue-generating profit centers. The important role they play in retaining customers and enhancing the company brand is key to a successful cross/upsell business model.”
Smart call centers leverage their customer relationship management systems (CRM) to do more than put out fires: they use them to generate sales, and view each customer contact as an opportunity, rather than a duty. They do this by properly segmenting customers and identifying opportunities, building cross-sell and upsell methodologies into each customer interaction, training their agents in inside sales techniques and making better use of their CRM systems.
“Best-in-class companies utilize technology to support the cross/up sell process,” writes BenchmarkPortal. “They identify new products based on customer history, present standard scripts, identify sales opportunities and offer pricing support. Intelligent routing systems can be used to connect customers with the agent best qualified to sell the relevant products. Screen pops or ‘whisper’ technology can alert the CSR (News - Alert) of a potential sales opportunity.”
In a down economy, companies cannot afford to have contact centers that simply exist to be reactive and prevent disasters. They need to build contact centers that can double as sales organizations, generating new business and delighting customers at the same time.
Edited by Ashley Caputo