Selling Through Service
Most companies are focused on trying to retain customers. It’s more expensive to attract new customers to a business, rather than making sure customers who are already interacting with a business carry on doing so. This article will outline how selling through service can be achieved and examine how this helps support a business.
How Can Customer Service Increase Sales?
There are many ways customer service can help generate sales for a business. Primarily, customer service teams can be an effective tool used to increase sales on the frontline:
The act of offering different products alongside a product a customer may have expressed an interest in. For example, a customer may enquire about buying a new phone, and a customer service representative might suggest a pair of Bluetooth speakers to go along with the phone. If correctly executed, a customer will feel like they have interacted with a business that cares about them and wants to give them the best possible experience with a product and their service.
Upselling can also be a tactic used by customer service representatives to increase sales. It differs from cross-selling in the respect that, usually, a more expensive, or valuable product which is essentially the same as the product a customer is interested in, is offered. Poorly done attempts to upsell through service can result in a negative customer experience. However, when executed correctly, an upsell can build a customer’s bond with a business and leave a customer feeling happier.
For example, a customer in a restaurant might ask to try a sample of the house red wine. The waiter might then suggest that because the customer has ordered a lamb dish, a slightly more expensive different bottle of wine might make their meal even better. Despite the increase in price, the customer will enjoy their meal better and believe they have interacted with someone who really cares about them having the best experience possible. Therefore, when done right, upselling through service can really help generate sales, customer happiness, and customer retention.
Customer service can also help increase sales in a less obvious sense. As front-line representatives of a company, customer service has a lot of potential power to influence how a customer will interact with a business. If a customer has a bad experience with customer service, a business will most likely see a fall in sales. Customer service can influence this aspect of the customer-business relationship in several ways:
By collecting feedback, customer service can help eliminate issues that hinder a customer’s experience with a business and understand what customers want from a business.
When collecting good customer feedback, for example, a customer emails to express their gratitude for a service offered. Customer service can use this to help increase sales. It highlights to a business what they are doing that builds their relationship with customers and prompts them to use their service again. It can also be used as a testimonial to show that a business provides good service to the customers it already has. This can entice future customers to a business, as caring, professional service is an attractive quality for any company to have.
Bad customer feedback can also be used by customer service to generate increased sales opportunities. Negative feedback is only negative if treated in the wrong way. Negative feedback can be helpful. It can highlight where a product, or service, is weakest. This can then be used to improve, so that future customers do not have the same problem. Furthermore, a business which is seen proactively using feedback to better customer experience is more likely to retain customers as they will feel like the company cares about getting things right for their customers.
Customer referral codes can also help a business extend sales by incentivising customers to continue using your business. Referrals can be used as a tool for further impressing satisfied customers. Furthermore, referral codes can be used to help appease a dissatisfied customer often leaving them feeling that despite being initially unhappy, they have been looked after by a company that has made a conscious attempt to rectify their problem.
Developing a Strong Customer Service Reputation
Nothing can affect business sales like reputation. A good reputation for looking after customers properly can help prompt current and future customers to use a business. However, a poor reputation for neglecting the customer service aspect of a business can decrease sales. It can act as a discouragement for current customers to carry on interacting with a business and it can also dissuade potential customers from bothering to use a company. By establishing a strong customer service department with a good reputation for caring for customers, a business can increase sales indirectly.
Upselling and Cross-Selling
Therefore, while there are various ways customer service can have an impact on a company’s sales, the most direct is by upselling or cross-selling. It is important therefore that a few significant practices when trying to upsell or cross-sell are introduced. These practices should be remembered when trying to increase sales as a customer service representative.
Primarily, it is important to listen to your customer. When recommending a product, try to satisfy an unsatisfied need. As a customer service representative, you aren’t trying to push product. If they are complaining about a product, listen to their complaint and try and work out what is upsetting them. It might be that they have a product which is unsuited for them and therefore need a different product. By listening intently to customers, upselling and cross-selling can be executed effectively without upsetting a customer.
Moreover, when trying to upsell, or cross-sell, a customer service representative should focus on providing their customer with maximum value. Remember that when upselling, you want to quantify a value. Helping the customer understand how good a product, or how good a deal is, will increase sales through customer service.
Finally, a good customer service representative increasing sales for a company will always respect context and timing. It’s exceptionally important to read the customer interaction properly. This comes partly from actively listening, but you also must gauge the likeliness of the customer to want to be upsold something. If a customer has called in an angry mood to complain about a product they have bought, it might not be appropriate at all to attempt to upsell or cross-sell something to them, or perhaps they may be far more receptive towards the end of your interaction when their issue has been resolved.
It must be stressed that while customer service representatives can help increase sales for businesses, their primary role is to serve customers. Installing a philosophy in which customer service representatives do not view upselling or cross-selling as methods for increased revenue, but as an appropriate strategy, in the right context, to improve a customer’s experience with a business is invaluable.
Check out the article to explain further the concept of Upselling and Cross-selling.