Maximising sales through service

While the trend towards sales through service makes good practical sense, some contact centre advisors may not see themselves as salespeople and can be put off by the thought, let alone targets. In some industries there is also clear regulation to be followed to ensure ethics and avoid mis-selling.

Unfortunately, if a contact centre operation has historically been purely driven by service metrics then getting the team to switch their focus to selling can be a problem and be met with resistance. After all, being a salesperson isn’t the job that they signed up for.

Helping customers is a key driver of job satisfaction for CX agents. Offering an alternative when a product is out of stock is an example of being helpful but can also save a sale.

Here’s how you can make your customer service team more sales-orientated, while not disrupting the team dynamic or helpful service spirit.

Firstly, when introducing a sales focus, many leaders make the mistake of thinking it won’t be a huge change or big deal, but in fact moving a service-based contact centre further towards sales requirements can break role expectations and the psychological contract an advisor has with the organisation.

There is a reason why it is hard to change human behaviour in a contact centre environment, and it is because of a “psychological contract”. This is something that is absolutely in all of us, you have a psychological contract with your employer, and it was formed during the recruitment phase, through your induction and during your employment.

“It is a set of expectations, which are unwritten, but are clear in your head.”

If someone was to sign up for the role of “Customer Service Advisor” and was then inducted into a training programme that was created to get them to cross-sell or up-sell and offer more products, is it their job to do that? Why would they want to do that?

When we try to break the psychological contract, it can cause attrition and absenteeism, as moving the team out of their comfort zone is unlikely to be met with enthusiasm. This highlights the importance of building a culture where the team are open in terms of job flexibility.

However, it is easier said than done to create a culture in which advisors have a more open mindset.

To manage this culture change on the contact centre floor, remember these four key points:

1. Consider the legacy of your organisation culture

What is your organisation doing currently to make sure they have a lasting, positive and effective culture? Culture is defined as behaviours at scale – reward the behaviours that are working well and coach and manage those that aren’t.  Leaders must authentically demonstrate the desired culture and take responsibility for the direction.

2. Acknowledge the good points, as well as the bad

What is the tangible benefit of this change and who benefits? How will it feel to your teams compared to what they do now? There’s no point hiding the negative side of sales such as the rejection – you will need to equip your people with the correct techniques and resilience tools to manage this.

3. Manage the change transformation

Going through transformation in a managed process will help the culture shift land better for all involved. Make sure this is treated as a project and goes through all the correct consultation and implementation steps needed. Skipping steps to save time never ends well and the result is often patchy and confusing.

4. Develop effective communication

Consider all the areas a shift to selling may affect. Sharing information and always including the “why” so people can understand how this affects them, why they’re having to change, how you will support and the benefits to expect.

Looking at all these points where do you think your business currently operates? Do you have challenges when trying to implement change that focuses more on sales? For more helpful resources and tools complete this short form here.

Lee Russell

Consulting Director

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