From financial services to quick service restaurants, e-commerce portals to retail chains, every brand loves the idea of cross-selling and up-selling. But very few do it right.The dictionary definitions of cross-selling and up-sell amount to the same thing – getting the customer to spend more money. The difference in successfully doing it without being pushy and leaving the customer annoyed lies in how it is executed by your front line.Here are some ways in which brands can get it right:Consent is keyBefore your team launches into a sales pitch seconds after closing a sale, it is important to get the customer’s consent. If your customer is having a bad day or is in a rush, your pitch will only serve as a waste of time and will annoy them. Ask for permission before you cross or upsell.Be relevant and on the ballProducts and services suggested through up-selling and cross-selling should be relevant to the customer's needs. Effective up and cross-selling is essentially a consultant’s role, not a salesperson’s. It requires that your service associates switch personas accordingly. Upselling and cross-selling must always come from a strategy that spots and fulfills real needs, instead of simply making an attempt to push a product without much concern for how it fits.This often translates to not relying on scripts to determine how to move forward with the pitch. It means listening to your customers and their unmet needs – things they don’t necessarily say – and consult them on the way forward. For instance, if you are a tech retail brand and your customer comes to you to buy batteries for an older version of an iPhone for two months in a row. It is a good time to identify their need for either a new iPhone or just a phone with better battery life. Anybody’s guess which way this conversation needs to be headed.Being pushy only ensures that your customers boltIf you incentivize your service associates on each cross or upsell, they are very likely to get pushy to close the pitch. It might mean a one-off additional sale but in the long run, can only harm your brand. Train your service associates on how to persist without pushing and incentivize intelligently.Brands must remember that cross-selling and upselling test the value they bring to the table. Eventually, they should come from the space of giving the best customer service experience, not just closing a sale.
Ritz-Carlton has a wonderful secret, as Micah Solomon writes in Forbes. Every day at 9 a.m. local time, all its employees get together for a quick ten-minute line-up meeting to attend to the day’s tasks by discussing one of the brand’s 16 central serving principles, the core of Ritz-Carlton’s customer service culture.This sounds simplistic, but, is one of the most inspiring ways in which brands stay true to their service commitment. At Onion Insights, we believe it is extremely impactful.There is more to service principles than putting it down on paper Every organization has a set of values and commitments that it puts down on stationery. But very few actually live these commitments. It is difficult, no doubt. In the daily rigmarole of running businesses, attending customers, responding to social media angst, long term planning, and short-term goals, it is not easy to regurgitate or even remember these principles.Putting the commitment into practice demands it to be brought up at every opportunity and to be deeply integrated with every decision and task.An organization’s culture is simply its values put into practice. The 10-minute slot does this job well. Not only does it remind employees of the brand principles every single day but it also shows them that the brand means business with these principles. It gives employees real-life scenarios in which these principles come alive and act as the pivot.A daily 10-minute slot gives organizations an opportunity to identify employees who live and breathe its service culture If an organization takes its values and principles seriously, it is only fair that it rewards employees who put them into practice. When the values come up in conversation every single day, and when you notice employees quote the values to back their decisions, you know they are engaged and share your vision.It also reminds your employees of the overriding purpose of your organization It takes purpose to engage employees in your customer centricity vision and for your brand to thrive. As Solomon puts, “The challenge is that even if you start off strong with a great orientation, the daily grind will ensure that functional issues ultimately end up overwhelming company purpose. A daily stand-up meeting is a chance to keep your company focused on your overriding purpose and to ensure that all staff is aligned to fulfill it. It only takes a few minutes, and the difference it makes can be crucial.”As a brand, you can set up the Customer Experience Strategy, make Standard Operating Procedure booklets, and put it on inspirational wall hangings. But your organization’s leaders need to teach its staff how to put the principles into practice. They need to stand by the principles themselves. It starts with the C-suite and goes all the way down to your last front line employee. Give the 10-minute slot a try, with every single person in your organization. And watch how your fellow warriors start to live and breathe the service culture like you had intended them to.Also Read:- Experience Needs Your Customers Aren’t Telling You About
Service excellence is a matter of organisational culture and larger vision and goals. It is rarely as subjective as the last person who came in contact with your customers.In our experience, most organisations penalise employees for poor service experience. They believe that the only way to satisfy customers is in the hands of frontline employees. However given that it’s the very same employees who have to deal with the brunt of an angry customer, the chances of them deliberately ignoring the right thing to do is very, very slim. More often than not, they do the very best they can amidst the existing structures and processes dealt out to them.
Continuing on our myth buster series, today we speak more about the unconventional implementations of a Mystery Shopping program. Most literature we find on Mystery Shopping concludes its positive impact on customer service, specifically in the offline retail industry. However, the program gives you eyes and ears to find out much more about the real time operations of your business.
Despite Customer Experience Measurement processes, Net Promoter Scores, and Customer Satisfaction Surveys, there are several customer service and experience needs that remain unsaid. Marketers and service professionals alike are often baffled when research reports look great but don’t translate to sales. Could it be that we are failing to uncover the unsaid expectations?
If this United Airlines debacle or the way Justine Stacco's life blew up because of an unfunny tweet are anything to go by, the biggest lesson brands need to learn today is how to behave like everyone is watching.
A common myth surrounding Mystery Shopping is that it is only useful for some industries like Retail, F&B, Banking, etc. and can be used only to keep an eye on Customer Service standards. But the real impact of Mystery Shopping can be much more diverse and far-reaching.
Brands, especially customer-facing ones in the industries of Retail, F&B, Automotive, Banking and Services, have training and development programs designed to deliver on their Customer Experience promise. Depending on the industry and audience demographics, we have known these training programs to answer specific customer scenarios and use cases. It is an excellent starting point for front line staff to consistently deliver satisfactory Customer Experiences. The question that remains - how can brands track whether these brand-specific protocols are really being followed in their outlets and customer touch points or not? This is where Mystery shopping comes into play.