Your contact center plays a pivotal role in delivering the great customer experiences that keep your customers satisfied and coming back to you time and again. Yet, like most departments in most organizations, they routinely find themselves in the tricky position of having to deliver to a consistently high standard, but with limited resources at their disposal.
In this three-part series, we explore how contact center leaders today can make the most of what they have through a combination of (1) driving revenue through their contact center, (2) increasing agent efficiency, and (3) streamlining contact center operations.
First up, we put the spotlight on how you can leverage your contact center agents to drive revenue for your organization.
Structure incentives around sales
For the past 20 years, contact centers have measured an agent’s performance around their handle time (i.e. the time it takes from when a customer reaches out, to when their issue is resolved)—essentially, the faster they’re able to help a customer, the better they’re performing.
But focusing on average handle time won’t set your agents up for success in sales.
Instead, think about structuring your agent’s KPIs and incentives around the revenue they bring in; like when they’re able to upsell, or turn a customer’s exchange request into a net new sale. That way you motivate your agents to try to make the sale, rather than just resolve an issue.
Train agents to sell
Besides incentivizing for sales, companies should also think about how to hire or train for sales.
A good salesperson is someone who can combine both soft skills (empathy, and an ability to connect with your customers) and sales skills (an instinct for what products to recommend to a customer).
To help agents succeed, companies should train for both—to ensure that agents know not just what to sell, but how and when to do it, without putting your customer off altogether.
Give agents insight into your customer preferences
Even your best salespeople will find it hard to make a sale without any context about a customer.
While your in-store representatives can play off of visual cues—like what a customer is wearing, or which item they’re holding—it’s harder for contact center agents to understand what may appeal to a customer from behind a screen.
Give them the contact center equivalent of these cues by providing agents insight into a customer’s past orders with you.
In Gladly, we do that by integrating with our customers’ order management systems, so that when their customer reaches out, their agents automatically see the past transactions a customer has had with them.
You can also go the extra step to show your agents their preferred purchases—for example, are they more likely to buy a handbag versus a scarf? Or shoes over a belt? That way, your agents know which item to recommend over others.
Make checkout easy
And while getting a customer interested in your agent’s recommendation is certainly an accomplishment, it is ultimately just half the battle—the next part is getting them to complete the checkout process.
Remove any hurdles to your customer’s purchase by empowering your agents to accept payments on your customers’ behalf, whether they’re on the phone or on your messaging channels.
Be intentional about routing
And while on the topic of removing hurdles, stack the odds in your favor by prioritizing your most frequent or high-spending customers, and routing them to the front of the line—and to your most-skilled sales agents.
Play to your agents’ strengths
Speaking of skilled agents, you’ll often find that your agents are naturally more knowledgeable about certain items or services over others.
Play to their strengths by matching customers to the agent best-suited to help them—for example, if your customer is looking at snowboards, send them to the avid snowboarder on your team who can provide the best advice on the subject.
Especially when it comes to complex or expensive purchases, the more knowledgeable your agent is, the more likely a customer will be to trust their advice and go through with a purchase.
Proactively reach out to customers
And while the suggestions above assume your customer is reaching out to you first, there are certainly instances where a customer may have questions, yet not feel like going through the process of finding your ‘Contact Us’ page and starting a conversation.
Instead of missing out on a potential sale, leverage proactive chat to reach out to customers who have been on a page for a while.
By removing the effort from your customers’ end, they’re more likely to engage with your agent, giving them an opportunity to guide the customer to a sale.
Build a concierge program
Finally, consider creating a concierge program that’s focused around your VIPs, or those customers with the highest lifetime values.
When agents can create a relationship with your customers that goes beyond the transactional, it increases the chances of their returning to you the next time they need something, and makes them less price-sensitive or likely to switch to a competitor.
The idea of closing sales over your support channels may seem incredible, but it can be done—see for yourself how a well-known retail brand was able to turn their contact center team into a revenue-generating one.
P.S. Stay tuned for the next installment of our three-part series coming out this Friday—this time on how to increase agent efficiency in your contact center.