If you ask many business executives, they would say their customer service contact center is a necessary expense and it does not contribute to the bottom line.
As such, they don’t emphasize on technology upgrades or process improvements for their in-house centers and, when outsourcing, they would settle for the least expensive options. Even worse, some companies are cutting their contact centers altogether, considering them less relevant in this age of digital self-service.
But what if you could turn your customer service contact center from cost to profit center? In fact, what if it could become one of the largest revenue generators in your entire company?
We already highlighted the reasons for investing in Customer service in our previous blog post. Check out in case you missed it.
Now that I have your attention, let’s discuss why investing in your customer service contact center to turn a profit makes sense and the steps you can take to get there.
Below are the following steps to turn your contact center into a profit center.
One strategy to boost revenue is to aggressively mine your customer service data to pinpoint and capitalize upon specific sales opportunities. With the right tools at your disposal, you can uncover a wide range of such opportunities—including accessories, add-ons, up-sells, cross-sells, service contracts, and training.
This strategy may be attractive as a first step because it is the least intrusive one. You don’t have to retrain your customer service staff or modify your existing customer service processes. With this strategy, the sales cycle itself gets initiated and fulfilled by other parts of the company. Customer service here would simply provide the data necessary to generate revenue opportunities.
Here is a simple example of how this strategy works. A consumer calls a software company with a technical question. While gathering the information needed to solve the problem, the customer service agent also notes that the customer is using an older, somewhat obsolete version of the software. The service rep will complete the call as usual. Over the course of the month, customer service agents receive many such calls. So at the end of the month, the company can send a special upgrade offer to every customer who called in and was found to be using an older version of the software.
There is a Triple benefit with this kind of strategy: * the company realized additional revenue from the upgrade sale. * Customers are more satisfied because they have a better product now. Customer service costs are reduced because newer products will have fewer problems and at the end are less expensive to support.
“When a customer comes to you with an issue, you actually have a great opportunity—after you first solve the problem, of course—to initiate a highly engaged relationship with that customer,” declares Geric Johnson, who led the implementation of this strategy at Skechers. “So you can realize incremental revenue at the same time as you convert unhappy customers into highly loyal ones.”
Today’s customer values speed, so in addition to traditional phone and email, adding support channels like chatbots, live chat, social media, and mobile apps is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Make it easy for the customer to get in touch with you using whatever means is best suited to their preference and convenience.
Another way to turn your contact center from cost to profit is by training your customer service agents to make relevant offers to customers when appropriate. Even though selling is not their primary role, that does not mean that the customer service agents can’t learn the art of the soft sell.
Train your agents to get to the heart of the customer’s challenge, steer the conversation around cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and invite the customers to take advantage of the product or service opportunity being presented.
While the aim is not necessarily to create a sales culture within the customer support team, clear goals and objectives do need to be set so that the team knows what they are aiming for.
How much should your Customer Care Specialists be selling each month? Based on their volume, how does that convert into conversion levels? What’s the average revenue per call across the customer support team? With clearly defined metrics and targets in place, this level of tracking becomes easy, and by monitoring how individual Customer Care Specialists are performing, then they can be strategically motivated through positive feedback, incentives, and end-of-year performance appraisals.
Revenue-generation can only be increased by enhancing the customer service agent’s ability to convert cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. This can increase revenues, build excellent customer relationships, and increase customer awareness. However, according to Loudhouse Research, 86% of strategic decision-makers in contact centers do not think that their agents currently have the skills required to meet their obligations in terms of upselling and cross-selling. Organizations should invest in identifying skills that lead to revenue-generation, and train and coach the customer service agents to use the most important skills. Despite these opportunities, only 45% of contact centers are offering such programs, but when utilized, over 52% of contact centers reported observing increased revenue per contact. The most challenging part of implementing revenue-generating programs in your contact center is procuring sales enabling technology that can work as an extension to the existing customer support platform, a technology that can easily integrate with service and sales functionalities.
With evolving customer expectations and service complexities, contact centers are poised to deliver strategic value and profitability to organizations in the years to come. Perceiving contact centers as a cost center is old fashioned and needs to be disposed of if organizations wish to see the real potential of a contact center.
In an era when customer experience is the make or break criteria for business success, not investing in your customer service contact center is the biggest mistake. If maintaining a center in-house is no longer feasible due to the low unemployment, higher wages, and the inability to scale, choosing to outsource can be a viable/ better option.
Never select an outsourcer based on cost alone, however. Price is a critical metric, but the ultimate goal should be to provide high-quality service that reflects the value of the investment.
If outsourcing is an option, consider Team MAS. We provide customized solutions, experienced leadership, and an open model that lets you see exactly how your contact center is working at all times. Contact us to learn more.