Impress customers with gentle cross selling

by Betty Hintch, editor, First-Rate Customer Service Forum

Customers may not be aware of all the products and services your organization offers. How do you inform them without sounding pushy? Use these tips to create happier customers who buy more:

  • Offer targeted suggestions. Ensure that your recommendations have a clear relationship with customers’ goals and preferences. Example: “If you enjoy our chocolate cake, you might want to try our double chocolate cookies. We use the same chocolate in the cookies, and other customers say they make a great accompaniment to tea or coffee and even some dessert wines.” If the connection isn’t clear, customers may suspect that you care only about another sale and not offering value.
  • Ask for feedback. When you send thank-you notes, ask customers whether your recommendations were helpful. You communicate that you care about customers’ satisfaction, and you receive feedback on whether your choices are sound. Example: “We appreciate your business. I recently I suggested that you order your book on CD in addition to the hardcover version. Did you enjoy listening to the CD during long car trips?”
  • Respect customers’ decisions. If customers reject your recommendations, don’t pressure them or suggest additional items. A soft-sell approach communicates that you are helpful, not greedy.

Hungry for more information on how to improve your organization’s profits by capitalizing on the needs of exisitng customers? Want Fries With That? What Customer Service Up-selling and Cross Selling Really Bring to Your Bottom Lineshares the secrets to making customers feel supported, not sold.

Last month’s question

Our readers have an independent streak. In our last survey, we asked how you respond when dissatisfied customers ask to talk with your supervisor. More than half of respondents said they first try to solve the problem themselves. If they can’t, they request assistance from their supervisor. Only 19% said they immediately connect customers with their boss.

Handling dissatisfied and angry customers effectively is one of the biggest challenges faced by customer service reps. Winning Over Even The Most Difficult Customers: Going Beyond “Service With A Smile” shares tips for transforming frustrating situations into positive customer experiences.

Click here for this month’s poll.

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Each issue of the First-Rate Customer Service Forum offers you tips for improving your customer service skills. Plus, you have the opportunity to request advice on your most vexing customer service problems—and receive feedback from your peers and our panel of editors!

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