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Call Centers Need Ongoing Assessment of Sales Programs

Research from the CMO Council finds that bank customers are looking for any and all ways to save, exploit financial opportunities, and gain better control over their own finances. In fact, the research concludes, “And with any level of market volatility, customers will look for more insight, information, and education to guide them through treacherous waters.” The opportunity this presents for financial services call centers should not be overlooked.

Presenting the right information about available services and products is resonating with customers. Sixty-five percent of consumers surveyed by the CMO Council remember receiving helpful information and 22% of them took advantage of the presented offer. Ensuring that your call center agents have the visibility into customer account history that enables them to personalize offers is the key to improving existing customer up and cross sell efforts.

Underlying this success in cross sell and up sell is the need for process design for call flow effectiveness that your outsourced contact center vendor should bring to the table. According to recent research conducted by ICMI, increased complexity in the call center is the cause of broken processes (reported by 44% of respondents) and missed opportunities for cross sell and up sell (reported by 30.5% of respondents).

Customer Interaction Design for Cross and Up Sell
As defined, process is a specific course of action taken to achieve a result. The building block of industry, process plays a critical role in determining the success or failure of a business. In service-based industries – this is particularly true. The process design, or series of specific, sequential steps, a provider adopts to deliver service can either cement success or act as a roadblock to profit. Fortunately, as customer service entails a complex web of human interactions, service delivery practices are highly responsive to process improvement initiatives.

Customers will have many different reasons and ways of interacting with your call center. The first thing to do when undertaking a process improvement initiative to simplify the complexity that’s limiting your success at converting revenue opportunities is to ask:

For every customer touchpoint, what is the most effective way to design the overall customer interaction to achieve consistent, predictable, efficient and satisfying customer experience?

In this case, the goal is to improve cross sell and up sell. Begin by reviewing and assessing the reasons for the service calls. Identify the type of call, the knowledge of the agent and the types of questions asked that could lead to a product offer that the customer would find relevant and valuable.

Emotional orientation should also be identified to determine situations where the customer may not be receptive to an offer. Cross sell and up sell must never occur when there’s a risk of diminishing customer satisfaction. Remember that the “voice of the customer” should always be used to inform successful interaction design.

Additional factors to evaluate during call review and assessment include:

  • Customer demographics. Can you identify patterns that indicate which types of customer are more receptive to offers than others?
  • Service Process. Is the sequence of steps and timing consistent across the same types of calls?
  • Sales Process. Are the questions asked able to inform the agent sufficiently about what type of offer may be best received given the reason for the call?
  • Customer Attitude. How does the customer’s attitude shift from the beginning of the call to the end? Have they moved from negative to positive? What expectations has the agent set for future interactions?

When undertaking a process improvement initiative to design interactions conducive to cross sell and up sell, your call center vendor should conduct a thorough assessment that can be used to map product offers to call types and situations. The value of well designed customer interactions is that product offers occur as a natural result of the conversation, not a contrived push to sell a product based on achieving a self-serving revenue quota. Helping customers to help themselves by educating them about what they need to know to make the right choices for their financial needs creates a successful customer experience that will result in improved revenue growth for your financial institution.