Uncovering Additional Opportunities to Serve Customers

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Once a customer’s rea­sons for call­ing have been sat­is­fied, cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives usu­ally ask, “Is there any­thing else I can help you with?” If the cus­tomer says no, the cus­tomer ser­vice rep con­cludes the call.

Bet­ter Cus­tomer Ser­vice: “Is there any­thing else I can offer?”

In most cases how­ever, cus­tomers don’t know that there are addi­tional prod­ucts, ser­vices, or pieces of infor­ma­tion that may be of use to them. That’s where top-notch ser­vice and sup­port reps ask them­selves, “Is there any­thing else I can tell or give the cus­tomer that might be of benefit?”

In order to do this suc­cess­fully, ser­vice and sup­port reps need to have a thor­ough knowl­edge of the prod­ucts and ser­vices the com­pany offers, and be able to make a con­nec­tion between those that may be related. For exam­ple, let’s say you have an out­door cloth­ing com­pany and a cus­tomer calls in order­ing a red stock­ing cap from the recently mailed cat­a­log. Since the cat­a­log only con­tains a lim­ited num­ber of items, the cus­tomer wouldn’t know that there is a match­ing red scarf. The cus­tomer ser­vice rep would be doing the caller a ser­vice by let­ting him or her know about the scarf. Maybe the caller wants to buy it, maybe not. But this gives the cus­tomer ser­vice rep an oppor­tu­nity to point out that more items are avail­able on the web­site. Per­haps the caller will check the web­site next time and order online, sav­ing a call into the con­tact cen­ter and, pos­si­bly, increas­ing the order value.

But offer­ing addi­tional ser­vice to cus­tomers doesn’t always mean upselling or cross-selling some­thing. It’s answer­ing the ques­tion above: “Is there any­thing else I can tell or give the cus­tomer that might be of ben­e­fit?” Here’s a real-life example.

My friend, Nina, called a 1–800 hot­line to get tax forms sent to her last Feb­ru­ary. She had already received the stan­dard 1040 form, but needed to obtain a sched­ule to report her income from self-employment. The CSR exhib­ited ter­rific cus­tomer ser­vice skills—she asked for the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion, con­firmed her under­stand­ing of Nina’s request, arranged to send the sched­ule out, and told Nina when it would arrive. But then this cus­tomer ser­vice rep went above and beyond. She asked Nina if she had received her State of Cal­i­for­nia tax forms, and Nina real­ized she had not. So the employee arranged to send those forms to her as well.

It was a small measure—one quick ques­tion and an extra form or two to send. But to Nina, it meant a lot. She wouldn’t have the frus­tra­tion of sud­denly real­iz­ing that she didn’t have all the forms she needed, and wouldn’t have to call the hotline—a very busy one—again. The inci­dent increased Nina’s appre­ci­a­tion of the organization—in this case, the fed­eral government!

Are your cus­tomer ser­vice and sup­port reps pre­pared to offer addi­tional ser­vice? If not, hold a team meet­ing, play some cus­tomer calls and ask the atten­dees, “Is there any­thing else you can tell or give the cus­tomer that might be of ben­e­fit?” If they come up with great ideas, con­grat­u­la­tions! You have a well-trained team who has the cus­tomer as their pri­mary focus. If they don’t have many ideas to share, you know that train­ing will be required.

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