How to turn good service into more sales

GraphCross-selling and upselling can make a huge difference to your sales figures. Derek Bishop, managing director of Abeo Consulting, explains how customer service plays an important role in making more sales

Ask the right questions

The problem with many cross-sell or upsell conversations is that they are too artificial - the sales person may be following a script and the customer may not be in the right frame of mind for an additional product to be introduced and discussed.

Too often the customer feels like they are being 'pushed' into buying a product. Instead of doing a hard sell, sales people need to be trained to ask the right questions to lead the conversation naturally towards the customer and their needs. Sales agents can then be guided by the answers they get. It's about helping the customer to make a decision to buy, rather than being sold to.

Get some insight into your customer

Sales people should always be trained to ask questions that will give them more insight into their customers. By showing an interest, customer behaviour can change dramatically and rapidly. A few questions enables the sales person to broaden the conversation beyond simply resolving one specific query. What's more, these questions will provide a useful insight into the current customer challenges, concerns and issues.

Respond to major change

Depending on your sector, the frequency of changing circumstances will vary. If you provide financial products and services, for instance, circumstances have been changing on a daily basis recently.

Changing circumstances can have an immediate impact. It is critical that customer-facing teams are trained on what's happening, how things may impact on customers and how to answer very specific questions. Remember, customers these days have a huge amount of information available from a variety of sources. Keeping your front line staff in a position where they can confidently answer questions from customers will create a greater feeling of confidence for the customer, helping retention.

Those businesses that provide 'standard' generic responses will be doing little to instill confidence in their customers and so are likely to lose more customers. Provide your customer-facing staff with the level of insight and information which will enable them to effectively answer the questions, both in a factually correct way and, more importantly, an emotionally appropriate way - it will make a huge difference to how the customer will feel at the end of the call.

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