Cross-selling takes customer care programs from costly to profitable
All companies want to keep their customers happy. Finding the right balance of effective customer care while trying to keep costs low can be a challenging endeavor for any organization, because metrics such as customer loyalty and brand image that are boosted by customer care are not easy to measure.
However, there are ways to change customer care into easily measurable, profit-generating activities that make it easier for companies to justify customer care expenditures, according to Paul Derbyshire, director of operations strategy at InfoCision Management Corporation.
“We have adopted the philosophy that customer care applications need to be viewed as profit-generating activities,” said Derbyshire. “We are talking about real revenue generated by the cross-sale of appropriate products and services that fit your customers’ needs and wants.”
Customer care phone calls, whether inbound or outbound, create a unique opportunity to cross-sell customers at a time when you are building customer loyalty and satisfaction. And the revenue generated from cross-sales can help to subsidize the cost of customer care activities.
“A customer who calls your inbound customer care line and receives assistance that satisfies his or her needs is the most receptive candidate for a cross-sell – more receptive than if you had placed an outbound call or sent that person a mail piece” Derbyshire said. “Adding a well-thought-out matrix of add-on products and services to your customer care process can turn this costly but necessary service into a profitable activity, covering the call center costs and providing a profit back to your enterprise.”
While the opportunity exists for almost any organization to take advantage of customer care activities by adding cross-selling to its strategic marketing mix, many companies are hesitant to make changes because they see the up-front cost associated with spending more time on the phone with customers.
“The perception that a customer care solution must remain a cost center has become firmly rooted in corporate psyches. The budgets that companies allocate to handle customer care are substantial and, as a result, the trend historically has been to pursue a unilateral cost minimization strategy,” said Derbyshire. “However, when considering the cost of your customer care activities, spending the talk-time to introduce new products and services through a thoughtful, coordinated cross-sell program more than pays for the additional per-minute cost, effectively turning customer care into a profit-generating activity.”
“In fact, we have seen examples where, after adding a series of cross-sell opportunities the client’s customer care was essentially free. In addition, the client received profit for every call that used to cost it,” added Derbyshire. “Everyone wins in that scenario.”
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