Call centres can be relationship centres, study finds

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on July 6, 2004

Companies that operate customer contact centres can use them to significantly expand existing customer relationships through cross-selling and up-selling strategies, according to a study from Best Practices, LLC.

The study, entitled 'Transforming Contact centres into High-Performing Sales Channels: Building Service that Sustains Sales', shows how leading US-based companies such as Bank of America, Citigroup, Dell Computer, and IBM have used their contact centres to drive sales, increase customer loyalty, and expand customer relationships by enabling customer service agents to cross-sell and up-sell more effectively.

The benefits
The study's key findings include:

  • Most companies expect at least 80% of call centre agents to assume a cross-selling role.
  • Three out of five companies surveyed (60%) have already implemented training programmes to prepare their agents for cross-selling.
  • More than 50% of benchmarked companies say they designate cross-selling sales for agents.
  • Those companies that benchmarked the best in the study are employing at least a 10-to-1 agent-to-manager ratio to help enhance performance management.

Proven techniques
Best Practice recommends that companies should adopt such practices to begin using the contact centre as a relationship building centre. Among the best practices suggested by the company:

  • Drive sales through contact centre restructuring, and improving resource allocation.
  • Increase employee retention by managing change carefully when agents are introduced to new sales roles.
  • Increase per-transaction sales by implementing effective cross-selling processes.
  • Increase the value of your agent pool by recruiting top-level service and sales representatives.
  • Boost agents' sales skills by providing training, coaching and other skills-reinforcement techniques.
  • Drive agent productivity through performance tracking.

An excerpt of the study has been made available for download from Best Practices' web site.

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