The Loyalty-Revenue Relationship
Commoditization is sweeping many industries, and your company is not immune. Considerable time and money has been invested to win your customers. You can’t afford to lose them. You need to deliver customer service that’s a competitive differentiator, a loyalty builder, and an aftermarket revenue generator, fast. Your CRM system can help.
Tangible Impacts on Revenue
Because customer service representatives (CSRs) are in constant contact with customers, they can be leveraged as a low-cost sales force to up-sell, and potentially, cross-sell products. A survey by AMR Research has noted that aftermarket services represent approximately 24% of revenue and often contribute 40% to 80% of profit. The key is to ensure that front-line reps are equipped with access to customer history, so they can easily identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities during routine conversations with customers.
Step 1: The Personal Touch
We’ve all heard the adage, “people buy from people.” Enabling your CSRs to engage in personal dialogue with call-in customers is critical. If your CRM and telephony systems are integrated, the phone number can identify the customer calling and pull the appropriate record automatically, allowing the rep to greet the customer by name and to quickly scan the history and speak intelligently with the customer. Instead of wasting valuable call time wading through screens searching for customer data, your rep can begin building a personal relationship with the customer, while focusing immediately on the reason for the his call.
Step 2: Up-selling Reactively and Proactively
During a routine call, a natural up-sell opportunity may present itself to your rep. For example, a customer having trouble locating ink cartridges for the printer she purchased from your company a few years ago is calling customer service to complain. Your CSR pulls up the purchase history in the CRM system and determines that the printer has been discontinued. The rep is authorized to offer the customer a significant rebate if she chooses to upgrade to the newer model. Thus, a reactive problem resolution becomes an up-sell opportunity.
If your CRM solution provides an interface to access business rules, you can create a process to query the purchase history when a call is received, then pop the relevant rebate offer on the rep’s screen automatically. Look for CRM solutions that offer a point-and-click wizard to guide you through the editing or creation of business rules. As the dynamics of your business change, you want the ability to tune your processes and up-sell offers quickly and affordably. If you have to rely on a programmer to code customized business rules, your implementation costs can ratchet up quickly, and you could miss out on time-sensitive up-sell opportunities.
Taking the example a step further, your marketing department could proactively send a rebate offer to all customers who have purchased the discontinued printer, but have not upgraded to the newer model. If your telephony and CRM systems are integrated, customers can dial an offer-specific phone number and be routed directly to the CSRs responsible for execution. By streamlining the interaction, you maximize efficiency for both your rep and your customer and increase the probability of a successful up-sell.
Step 3: No-Brainer Cross-Selling
If your company has found an undeniable purchase pattern of product combinations, you may be able to enlist your CSRs to engage in cross-selling, either reactively or proactively.
The key is finding the combination of products that is a no-brainer for customers. Perhaps you’ve found that customers who purchase a specific printer model consistently add on a scanner. When routine calls come in regarding the printer, a business rule triggers a call script to pop on the CSR’s screen, enabling the rep to gently introduce the new scanner. Leveraging CSRs to solicit a straightforward cross-sell can go a long way toward increasing your wallet share with the customer.
Service Impacts on Loyalty
More significant than up-selling and cross-selling, but much less tangible, is the impact of customer loyalty on long-term corporate revenue. Everyone has a personal example of how outstanding service has influenced brand loyalty. We receive offers for lower-priced alternatives, but would never, ever, consider switching brands, because our peace of mind from the superior service outweighs the lower cost.
Superior customer service is the key to creating and sustaining fervent customer loyalty. The following are tangible steps you can take to continuously improve your customer service quality. The competitive differentiation that only service can provide fosters revenue for years to come.