Tips for upselling and cross-selling for CS reps

Tips for upselling and cross-selling for CS reps

The main function of a customer service rep will always be to provide solutions to customers’ problems and to resolve conflict. However, they are also often in an ideal situation to boost sales by cross-selling and/or upselling.

Their interaction with a customer gives them a golden opportunity to promote other services or products the company offers. By encouraging the customer to buy a more expensive version of an item or service, they create added revenue for the business.

But by utilising cross-selling and upselling techniques, your customer service agents won’t just boost profits – they’ll also be able to build valuable relationships with customers through this personalised interaction.

Here are some of the successful and proven cross-selling and upselling techniques for customer support staff:

Focus on providing value for the customer

Never forget that the customer must benefit from the cross-selling or upselling transaction. Your agent’s first aim must be to solve the customer’s problem and identify their needs. Only then, and if they have identified a real opportunity, should they proceed by drawing the customer’s attention to other similar or superior products.

Agents also need to personalise their pitch by pointing out how the suggested item will be better for a particular customer. For example, a more fuel-efficient rental car will definitely benefit somebody who travels a lot; or a more effective power-tool will make a professional handyman’s life easier.

The agent’s pitch must be persuasive and relevant

Never try to ‘shot-gun’ a customer into buying a more expensive item by rattling off a long list of its wonderful properties. This will almost always be counterproductive and might even annoy the customer.

Rather, an agent should try to match their suggestions to the customer’s particular needs or wants by listening to clues about their likes and dislikes during their conversation. Reps need to show the customer how the item they’re suggesting will be to the customer’s benefit, add value, or save them time.

Reps must be realistic

The goal of cross-selling and upselling is obviously to encourage customers to spend more. However, trying to push a customer into buying something vastly more expensive than their original item is just plain silly, and almost certainly counterproductive. It could well scare the client off completely.

A reasonable increase is much more likely to be acceptable to customers, particularly if there are convincing reasons why the upgrade will be to their benefit.

As a good rule of thumb, customer service agents shouldn’t suggest anything that is more than 20 – 25 percent more expensive than the original product or service that the customer was considering.

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Know your customers

Customer service agents need to be informed about the different segments or social demographics that their customers belong to. Knowing the needs and goals of a particular consumer group will empower the agent to make valid upselling or cross-selling suggestions.

After all, a Gen-Z customer isn’t likely to have the same needs and wants as an elderly Baby Boomer!

Similarly, by drawing on a client’s previous buying history and behaviour, agents are much more likely to be able to come up with accurate cross-selling or upselling suggestions. Drawing on insights from previous interactions with a customer will enable an agent to come up with appropriate suggestions that are likely to be acceptable to them.

Timing is crucial!

Cross-selling and upselling can only ever hope to be successful if a client feels that they have been listened to, and that their problem has been recognised, acknowledged, and resolved. An unhappy customer who feels frustrated and undervalued is not going to agree to buy a more expensive item!

Therefore, the customer service agent needs to establish a rapport with the customer by treating them with empathy and courtesy. The customer will then be much more likely to listen with a willing ear to suggestions about upgrading or upscaling the product they’re buying.

Hire agents with people skills and natural sales ability

Choose your CS reps well, and then make sure they get thorough training – including how to identify a good chance to upsell. Just as important, they should have a good instinct for when it’s not the right time to try and get the customer to part with more money.

You need friendly, relaxed, intelligent, and empathic people to give your customers the best CX possible. They should be able to ‘think on their feet’ to deal with the diverse range of situations they will be confronted with.

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To cross-sell and upsell successfully, your customer service agents need to know your products, procedures, and services extremely well. They need well-honed skills in active listening and in asking appropriate questions to establish customers’ needs, wants and expectations.

Practising and role-playing are successful added techniques to empower your CS reps to deal with customers naturally and effectively.

And don’t forget to offer your customer service staff incentives to motivate them. Upselling and cross-selling are very effective ways of boosting profits for the company, so there should be something in it for them too.

Did you know that Digital Customer Care Company offers in-depth live chat and customer service training? Well, now you do!

If you’d like to help your customer support staff communicate more effectively with clients and become true brand ambassadors, we can help.