Training Agents to Balance Between Sales and Service

Customer service agents are seen as the front line representation of a company’s values

and processes. Because of this, it is important for every agent to understand the importance

of balancing company sales quotas with exceptional customer service.

 

Customer service at its core, and true to its name, is simply that — servicing the customer.

As agents are trained on a myriad of systems and processes, emphasis should always be

placed on the root foundation of customer service, which is the customer connection. This

connection is formed when the agent makes the customer feel comfortable enough within

the customer service experience that open dialogue can occur. Open lines of

communication between customer and agent make it much easier to boost sales and

retention rates.

 

Training Agents - Keep Your Customers Happy with EmpathyAfter all, most customer service agents are consumers themselves, so it’s

important to emphasize customer empathy. This is done by asking the

popular question “would you sell to yourself and why”? Simulations are

performed in which agents are treated as owners of their own organization

or brand.

 

Doing this activity allows the group to compare and contrast their customer service skills with one

another. You’d be surprised to see how good each agent is at making sure that the customer is getting the

best service possible. This is simply because the exercise makes each participant view customer service

from the eyes of the consumer, rather than the agent.

 

Training Agents for Sales and Service - Image of Agent in Training

As agents continue their commitment to customer satisfaction, and learn the

importance of their role, it’s important for them to realize that they should

offer opportunities rather than wait for the customers’ initiation. This can be

facilitated by training an agent to utilize active listening. Within the

constructs of this skill, agents are able to implement their response

triggers. These triggers are essential to sales and service practices, as it allows the

branching of rebuttals or for lack of better terms, options.

 

In an era where consumers are saturated with base line service for certain products, a

company that has several different choices and avenues for their brand is more viable than

a company that is fixated on just one particular avenue. As this is explained, they start to

understand the multi-faceted approach that Stratus Contact Solutions utilizes and its

commitment to that end.

 

As interactions are analyzed between customer and agent as it relates to sales and service,

one important thing to keep in mind is that the balance always depends on the nature of

your product or service. This is why it is important for agents to share experiences they’ve

had in previous customer service roles. During this reflection, the group collectively learns

the effectiveness of certain strategies based on the type of product or service being offered.

From that point, quantifiable results can then be looked at during training, which allow

supervisors to assess each agent’s productivity. For instance, when repeat customers

request the same agent or accolades are given within a customer service call, it is easy to

attribute a certain “wow factor” to that particular agent.

 

In the end, customer service agents always have to be proponents for both sales and

service. The balance between the two can sometimes be a latent gift that they might not be

aware of. However, when agents are encouraged to compare experiences and streamline

collective practices, they begin to understand the symbiotic relation between sales and

service.

 

Ilou Thompson is the Corporate Trainer and Quality Manager at Stratus Contact Solutions. He has been with the company since July 2014 and has 9 years of experience in the industry. Previously, Ilou worked with ADT Home Security Services where he worked with and developed groups of 30+ agents monthly. Currently, his responsibilities with Stratus include creating training material and agendas for new accounts, training agents on new material, as well as maintaining call quality observations for each account.