Organizations rely on their sales team to grow and call centers are no exception. Ramping up sales in the call center can provide a valuable outlet to help companies meet sales quotas and drive sales effectiveness. In preliminary results of ICMI's survey on call center types, 47.3% of respondents noted that their call center does some type of selling, cross-selling or up-selling to customers.
But customers are becoming more informed and sophisticated as consumers. This alters the traditional selling approaches and customer interactions. If in the past, call center agents were trained simply to follow a script, enter customer orders and deal with problems, now they are challenged to create value and adopt adaptive selling techniques.
To help agents succeed, many companies are turning to performance support technologies which are designed to support the agent in real-time, while they are on the call. Performance support streamlines or automates the call center agent's interaction with the increasingly complex and large number of systems and processes so he/she can focus on the customer. Performance support also provides in-application guidance and tooltips so an agent can spend considerably less time searching through scripts, sales sheets and knowledge base articles. Companies using performance support technology typically see lower Average Handling Time (AHT), increased First Call Resolution (FCR), and an overall improved customer experience – ultimately yielding a higher win rate and more efficient call center.
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Here are our 5 best practices for call center agents to become more effective sales professionals and how performance support can help:1. Gain specific knowledge of the product/service
Agents need to be knowledgeable about the product or service that they are selling. Make sure your agents are up-to-date and aware of what’s selling well, who it’s selling to, and what’s not working. The more they understand everything about the product/service, the better they will be able to sell it. They should also have easy access to the information they need to effectively answer any questions, objections, or concerns addressed by the customers.
Performance support can help: A high performing call center agent will spend extra time prepping each lead to learn as much as possible before making the call, however, not all agents are as diligent or have the time they need if they want to meet their call volume goals. Performance support makes product information extremely accessible, by displaying relevant information on top of the application itself, while the call takes place so that the agent feel confident that they are ready for the call and can concentrate on closing the deal.2. Accurately identify your customer's needs
Call center agents who have a good understanding of the customer's needs and can personalize their interactions are more effective than those who do not. The more information on-hand; the better. This can include purchasing history, caller demographics, previous call recordings, voicemails, emails and social media postings. Agents with access to this information have better insight into the customer and are able to provide more personalized service.
Performance support can help: Few things are more frustrating to both customers and agents than not having access to the information necessary to resolve an issue. With performance support, agents have quick and easy access to comprehensive information about the customer while on the call and can tailor the conversation to the customer's specific needs, offer the best solution, and seal the deal faster.3. Quickly build trust and rapport
Your customers want to feel that you have a real interest in them. They need to trust that your company will be there for them and that your product will do what you say it will do and what they want it to do. According to CRM experts Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, personalized selling is one of the most important aspects of almost any business career and goes a long way towards building customer trust and making a sale.
Performance support can help: Encouraging your agents to offer more personalized information during their customer interactions starts with equipping them with the right tools. Performance support uses in context, in-application guidance that adapts to the actual conversation. This allows customer service agents to offer the best answer/solution quickly and with significantly less errors. Meanwhile, the desktop automation part of performance support enables a seamless business process so that your agent can concentrate on the customer4. Effectively select course of action (up-sell, cross-sell)
At the end of the day, the primary objective of every outbound call center is to generate revenue. Based on the information at hand, the agent should be able to recommend the next appropriate course of action that will close the biggest deal.
Performance support can help: Performance support solutions takes the guess work out of the equation by analyzing the data on the customer and the customer's eligibility for possible promotions or sales campaigns while the call takes place, driving cross-sells and up-sells. Making this information available at the time of the call produces results in more focused pitches which helps increase close rates and the average deal size.
5. Skillfuly execute the action plan
Effective agents are confident in their abilities to lead their customer towards a successful transaction. Once a decision has been made, agents should be able to skillfuly enter all the relevant information quickly and accurately.
Performance support can help: Performance support systems add a safety net around possible pitfalls by checking the validity of entered information and can be set up to monitor information to ensure that an agent does not save a billing error in a customer's account. Instead it will alert the agent that there is an issue and suggest corrections. As a result, even novice agents can feel confident that they are doing the job right, every time.
By adopting performance support technology you can improve the performance of your call center, close more deals, and increase the efficiency of the call center team while reducing errors. The result is more sales, happier customers, and a more confident call center team.