Efficiency, Enhancement, Engagement
A Productive Campaign Made Better
Technical Customer Support
Live Chat and Voice
An old proverb says not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. But in a culture of continuous improvement, when is good enough really good enough? Service levels were certainly good enough for one of our clients, a global technology services provider to thousands of web-based businesses. CSAT and quality scores were reliably high, and the user experience was well-regarded, but there was a problem – the client’s market share was stagnating.
The in-house sales team produced about one dollar per customer contact, well below the client’s expectations. So, a “what if?” question arose: what if the service and support team, which had a high-tech IQ but little sales background, added revenue generation to its repertoire?
A "what if?" question arose: what if the service and support team, which had a high-tech IQ but little sales background, added revenue generation to its repertoire?
Learning a New Role
01 The Challenge
Agents on the support team saw themselves as problem solvers, not salespeople.
02 The Solution
We developed a training program that required agents to expand their horizons and see their roles through a different lens.
03 The Results
Per-contact sales jumped by more than 1,700% in just six months, and there were also improvements in first-contact resolution and CSAT.
01 The Challenge
Sales and support are not interchangeable, but they are complementary. No one with a contact center is better positioned to recognize a sales opportunity than agents who interact with end users every day. But are support people trained to seize those moments? Customer service is often cast in linear terms: diagnose the problem, fix the problem, and move to the next one. As long as customers are happy with the service quality, so is everyone else.
Agents on the support team saw themselves as problem solvers, not salespeople. At the same time, these agents were subject matter experts on the client’s product line. They also have a unique insight into how consumers use what they buy. If pain points are emerging, agents know about them; if trends are brewing, agents learn of those, too. They also have ready access to every customer’s account and buying history, so they are in an ideal spot to act on what they learn.
02 The Solution
We developed a training program that required agents to expand their horizons and see their roles through a different lens. The methodology behind this approach was remarkably simple: first, solve the issue that led the customer to make contact. Until that happens, nothing else will. Agents were trained on building rapport with customers, explaining what they were doing to resolve the issue, and conducting some discovery along the way to get a clearer picture of who the customers were and what they wanted. This opened four potential pathways to success:
• New sales of this client’s products and services
• Renewals as time-based services approached their expiration dates
• Preventing lost sales when shopping carts were abandoned or timed out
• Upsell/cross-sell sales
We also added chat as an additional service channel, as it promotes engagement through back-and-forth conversations while also allowing for multiple concurrent interactions. Since the client is tech-focused, its customers are savvy with digital tools. In addition, there is a massive reseller base, so when customers buy anything, they can, in turn, sell those things to their customers. In this manner, our sales effort became a force multiplier with great potential to impact revenues significantly.
03 The Results
Per-contact sales jumped by more than 1,700% in just six months, and there were also improvements in first-contact resolution and CSAT. The customers involved did not make contact intending to buy anything, but that is the value of a quality sales program – the ability to find opportunities that are not readily apparent. As consumers, we cannot buy things that we do know about. It’s up to the agent to give the customer enough information to make a fact-based decision. During the conversation, the agent creates awareness, points to a means of relieving a specific pain point, and dies it without pressure or coercion, just by understanding the voice of the customer.
When a key campaign metric is high customer satisfaction scores, then it is hard to improve on 1) solving the issue that drove the initial contact and 2) providing a way of avoiding a recurrence. The latter is a matter of making the customer aware of the solution, which builds on the former. Problem resolution creates satisfied customers who, in turn, will be more receptive to agent suggestions. And for this program, that is what agents do – suggest. Just imagine if their only focus was sales.
The client has been able to deepen relationships with customers by selling them products and services with value. The client has also incorporated our customer education approach for internal training. In sum, the client realized revenue growth, was introduced to the utility of chat, and has achieved an impressive ROI through this initiative.