Every service interaction is an opportunity for value creation. This is especially true in the contact center, where service calls can turn into moments to cross-sell and upsell. But can your contact center identify these revenue-generating opportunities? And do your customer service associates know how to capitalize on them?
The service to sales concept has been around for quite some time, but most brands aren’t realizing its full potential. Little or no personalization, unmet revenue opportunities, and a lack of brand advocacy are just some missed opportunities that occur when sales activities aren’t optimized in the contact center.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, with new sales perspectives and AI-driven technology.
To sell, or not to sell
Many contact centers don’t have a formalized service to sales program. Associates typically are trained to resolve customer problems and inquiries, but usually aren’t trained to spot sales opportunities that can drive revenue growth and improve customer experience. Without sales training, it’s unrealistic to expect customer support associates to successfully close sales.
The associates who do propose cross-sell or upsell offers often present sales opportunities at unwanted or awkward moments during their calls or chats, because they’re simply instructed to incorporate them into the conversation at some point. These poorly timed interactions can feel forced to customers and make them feel as though they aren’t being listened to.
Too many contact centers have an incredibly passive attitude toward sales, which means they’re leaving money on the table. There are ways to incorporate sales conversations into customer service calls in ways that feel natural and personalized – and are data-driven to increase associates’ odds of success.
Win at service and sales with AI + humans
A personalized, value-driven customer experience is the linchpin to unlocking share of wallet, brand loyalty, and retention, which in turn translates into closed sales and top-line revenue.
With rapid advancements in AI and machine learning, brands can serve up relevant customer information that associates can tap into to inform valuable sales offers. AI can comb through mountains of contact center data and identify trends, patterns, and customer intent (why customers contact brands and what they want to get out of it). Most (65%) of customer intents have potential sales opportunities attached, so brands need to pay attention to them.
With these AI-powered tools working behind the scenes, an associate can enter an interaction and immediately know why customers are calling, what they want to accomplish, and what specific upsell or cross-sell opportunities will resonate most with them. And when the associate has the right training to take it from there, it makes a huge difference.
Advanced service to sales platforms can quickly become the link between machine and human workforces. Associates gain not just unique insights about their customers, but also the confidence to know when (and when not) to sell by creating a structured solution.
The right tools will guide associates on what to sell and how to sell across multiple channels, with insights coming from voice of the customer, CRMs and other customer databases, ERP systems, web data, and social media data, to name a few. The key is bringing this intelligence together and making it accessible and usable for associates.
When done well, this increases the likelihood that customers will buy something during an interaction – and it shows you’re listening to them, know what they need, and have proactive suggestions to help make their lives easier. The results? Better customer experience, improved employee experience, and revenue growth.
Uncover insights with conversational intelligence
To unlock the full potential of service to sales, you’ve got to have the right AI tools powering your efforts. Conversational and business intelligence should play a key role.
With conversational and business intelligence solutions, such as speech analytics and sentiment analysis, AI can listen in on all your customer interactions – not just some of them – and identify signals in those interactions that correlate to customers’ propensity to buy.
Once you’ve determined what those signals are, you can craft an intent-based strategy on how to approach certain customers. Making strategy decisions in this insight- and data-driven way eliminates guesswork and sets you up to maximize the ROI of sales efforts.
With the right strategy in hand, you’ll be ready to develop and implement the technology you need to bring it to fruition. And modern AI tools are agile enough to let you continually optimize and make changes as needed.
Get associates up to speed quickly
Even the best insights and tools won’t make a difference if your associates can’t deliver the right message to close sales in the moments that matter. For many customer service associates, this foray into sales will be new (and may feel uncomfortable at first), so brands need to invest in training them.
Ensure associates are ready to hit the ground running by incorporating sales best practices and the use of AI tools into their onboarding and training. For new hires and tenured associates alike, offer training and coaching that lets them practice using real-world scenarios and offer immediate feedback. And be sure to recognize and reward top performers, to ensure employees feel valued and incentivized.
With all the technology and back-end work that needs to be done, plus the workforce training impacts, embracing sales to service may seem daunting. Working with an experienced partner can help set you on the right path.
When your associates are having the right conversations with the right customers your CX, EX, and bottom line can improve.