Five Tips to Help Cust Serv Reps to Increase Their Company’s Revenue


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Customer support is usually seen as a cost center – every customer brings in a new set of problems, ideas and frustrations that need to be attended to. That translates to more phone lines to power your support infrastructure, more hours invested in talking to your customers and more dedicated agents handling tickets – but there are a bunch of things you can get your reps to do to actually increase the bottom line. Here are five:

1. Teach reps to focus on solving the customer’s problem

And nothing is a better example for this technique than Apple and its Geniuses (that’s what the store reps call themselves). Every Genius-in-training gets a Student Workbook, a handbook that not only lists some bizarre Do’s and Don’ts but also some sales strategies most of which echo the same edict: focus on solving the customer’s problem, not on selling the most expensive device in the store. The assumption is that a happy customer is a customer who’ll buy things. And it works.

“Apple fanboys” (yes, there is even a name for them) follow the company and release plans closely and upgrade their devices each year as a new version pops out. They purchase the whole family or products to work together and buy them as gifts (it does help to sell good products). But, if you empower your support agents to solve your customers’ problems and not focus on just selling your product or an upgrade, the chances are they’ll have a good feeling about the company, stay longer, and invest in you as you grow. And you’ll maximise your average customer lifetime value.

2. Teach reps to listen for potential new product ideas and share them with product teams

While developers and product managers might be the ones slogging day in and day out to build great products, it’s the customer support reps who actually get to talk to users all day. Some customers stretch out something you’ve built in great and unique ways – for example, we’ve seen Freshdesk double up as a project management tool for a web studio, and as an internal IT support desk for big organizations. If support reps share these stories with the product owners, they may find ways to support new use cases they hadn’t considered, driving adoption in new markets. They may even inspire the next big product for your company.

3. Ask reps to teach your customers about other products you offer

Cross-selling additional products to happy customers is a great way to grow your business. Your support reps talk to customers everyday. If your company sells multiple products, your reps should know how to listen for opportunities to tell customers about other products that might help them. They can quickly give your existing customers a demo or a walkthrough of all that you have to offer. Of course, there’s a fine line between upselling and actually listening to their problems and providing them with a solution (a solution that might even direct them to a competitor!). But if done right, your support agents can double up as sales reps who are not just solving your customers’ problems, but also adding revenue.

4. Turn your support reps into account managers

A support rep, on an average, runs through hundreds of tickets each week. But even with such a large number, it’s the support rep, not the product manager or his account manager, who ends up having a deep, meaningful connection with the customer. It’s the support rep who’s there when a bug pops up or a feature breaks down, it’s the support rep who patches things up and provides a workaround. Empower your support reps to be account managers and they can easily make sure that your hard-won customers feel well-loved and pampered. This job traditionally falls into the realm of sales, but if your rep does it, it’ll come across more like an attempt to be helpful than an insincere attempt to maintain a relationship for a card swipe. Some businesses even incentivize teams to maintain a healthy ongoing relationship with customers, and have seen revenues soar.

5. Focus on post-sales support as much as pre-sales support

More often than not, interactions with brands change drastically the minute you sign up for their service/product. And not in a good way, either. All the love and attention stops once the contract is signed. If instead, you provide consistent support and treat customers like kings and queens even after they open up their wallets, your customers will turn into brand advocates and spread the word about your products among their friends and colleagues. Focusing on after-sales support helps businesses build credibility and bonds with the existing customer base, leading to increased sales and referrals.

Shankar Ganesh
Shankar Ganesh is a Marketing Analyst for Freshdesk, the world's leading customer support software. When he's not working, he's busy tweeting links about tech, and everything else.


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