Monday, August 15, 2011

Cross Selling in the Call Center

I was surprised when I heard the Call Center Manager explain to me that they do not ask the agents to cross sell because it does not work. The manager went on to say that his agents are not trained to sell and asking them to do something they are not trained to do would be a waste of time. His metrics would also be adversely be affected by having his agents cross sell. I suggested the agents did not need to sell but rather just bring up the idea of another product or service.
When was the last time you were so surprised that you were almost speechless? This is what happened to me when I was talking to this manager for a major insurance company. His entire argument about cross selling does not work because of training is ridiculous. I am in sales and I no without a doubt that cross selling works. In fact it worked on me the other day.
"Yes, I am calling to receive a copy of my mortgage interest statement for 2010." "Ok, please give me your account number...." After the main purpose of the call was done the agent asked me if I was interested in learning about the current interest rates for refinancing my home loan. "Sure" I said and I was quickly transferred to another agent that did some routine questions with me then I was transferred to a loan officer. Within 15 minutes I was ready to make a decision.
Cross selling works. Call Centers and Call Center Managers that do not cross sell are missing a tremendous opportunity. I suspect the insurance company CC manager was afraid that cross selling might negatively affect his metrics and scorecard. This manager is missing the big picture.
For those that want to employ cross selling there are some very basic rules to follow:
1. Train the agent to mention only a single product or service;
2. Make the cross selling statement simple and quick. The statement should take no more than 5 seconds to ask;
3. Remind agents to cross sell using your call center reporting tools such as wallboards, desktop messaging and weekly meetings;
4. Everyone should be cross selling, everyone;
5. Reward the agents that cross sell, especially the successful cross sellers;
6. Track your efforts.
Cross selling works and more call centers should employ this technique to boost review. By the way the question, "Is there anything else I can help you with?" is not cross selling.

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