An inbound call center provides a business with unique opportunities. Read on for inbound call center sales tips and strategies and ensure business success
An inbound call center provides a business with unique opportunities. It’s a scenario that allows for one-on-one conversations with customers, giving your business a clearer look at their primary needs and how best to address them. When handled correctly, they can form the building blocks of customer relationships that are loyal and long-lasting.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t pitfalls to avoid.
This guide will go over strategies to help ensure your inbound call center services have a positive impact on customer relations. Here you’ll find eight inbound call center sales tips that will allow you to navigate these opportunities with finesse and professionalism.
What is an Inbound Call Center?
Before jumping straight into the tips, let’s get a better understanding of what a call center actually is. There are two main types of call centers in which agents will talk directly to customers:
Inbound call centers – The call centers handle mostly incoming calls from customers. The topics of these calls are likely to run the gamut of customer service, including:
Support services that may range from offering product assistance to managing customer complaints
Technical support or installation assistance
Answering services that provide a range of benefits from taking messages, answering basic questions, and scheduling appointments
Outbound call centers – The big difference here is that, instead of waiting for a potential customer to call you, you’re reaching out to them. This technique is often used to generate sales or complete conversions.
While this guide will be focusing on inbound call centers, it’s important to realize that both types of calls can be handled in each center. The tips that work well for one may also apply to the other. Even with incoming calls, there may be opportunities to utilize cross-selling and upselling to help build your business.
Inbound Call Center Tips
An inbound sales call can be a major boon to your customer relationships when handled correctly. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t challenging to navigate. After all, each customer is different and requires specialized attention.
Although a KPI call center inbound can be made to help measure your success, there’s no perfect script you can devise that will work for every type of incoming phone call. However, these are some tips you can apply to your current inbound sales call strategy to help ensure the best outcomes.
1. Listen Carefully
While keeping control of a phone call is essential, it may be tempting for a call center agent to immediately steer the conversation in the direction of their choice. This urge could lead them to interrupt new and existing customers—or even to fail to understand the caller’s needs in the first place. Resist this urge.
Instead, focus on these goals:
Hear them out – A good call center agent may be able to assess what a customer needs in the first few seconds of conversation. But remember, the first need anyone has is to be heard. After all, they called you. By letting them describe their situation fully, you establish a tone of trust and understanding from the start. This helps to avoid misunderstandings that could cause deeper frustration down the road.
Ask questions – Before immediately trying to fix a problem, try to fully understand the situation by asking the customer questions. This will help them clarify their request or concern,and signal to them that you’re making an effort to understand.
Let them finish their thoughts – Sometimes, customers call when they’re feeling frustrated or even upset. By hearing out any complaints at the start of the call, you could turn a customer’s initial aggravation into gratitude.
2. Display Empathy
This tip goes hand in hand with the first one—but goes even deeper.
If they’ve been hired to support your business, your agent should have a specialized knowledge of your products or services, which will allow them to assess and troubleshoot a customer’s problems. With that expertise, however, may come an inability to empathize with a customer’s seemingly rudimentary concerns.
To mitigate this situation, encourage your customer service agents to put themselves in your customers’ shoes. We’ve all been in situations when we didn’t know what to do and needed help. By taking the time to understand your customers’ position, your agents will allow them to leave the call feeling positively about the interaction—not as though their concerns were invalid.
3. Control the Call
As mentioned before, successful inbound calls allow the customers to lead the conversation. Leading and commandeering, however, are two very different things.
The best customer service agents will be able to control their calls in a way that maximizes efficiency while still creating an environment in which the customer feels fully heard. Some tips on how to do that include:
Asking the right questions at the right times – Open-ended questions are a clever tactic to be used at the start of a call. They let customers speak their piece and give you a better sense of their situation. Once you’ve shifted from troubleshooting to providing a solution, close-ended questions may be the better way to go. They project competence and help move the call forward at a more efficient pace.
Staying on topic – A little banter can be beneficial, especially when it comes to building positive rapport. However, you’ll want to take care not to get too far off-topic. Channel the energy of the conversation in the direction of actionable insight, allowing for a few exchanges of pleasantries in between—not the other way around. This way, the agents’ productivity will increase and the customers will have their needs met more efficiently.
Subtly establishing authority – Never control the call in a way that can come across as rude or pushy. The best agents will lead the conversation without the customer even knowing they’re doing it. Agents should be able to establish authority with tact—not tyranny.
4. Be Human
This tip can apply figuratively and literally. People are often so fatigued by talking to a robotic answering service that simply being human is an advantage.
However, this tip also applies to the tone with which your agents approach the call. While it’s an agent’s job to be informative and helpful, they can do so in a way that’s dynamic and engaging. The more animated and conversational your agents can be, the more likely your customers will be at ease.
5. Be an Authority
No one can be perfect all the time but accuracy and competence are essential—especially when it comes to building your business. Customers are often able to discern when they’re speaking with someone who’s knowledgeable on a topic versus someone who isn’t.
That being said, no one will have all the answers. Be honest about what you don’t know and tell the customer how you will find the information they need. Pretending may only result in severing any bonds of trust you’ve built.
6. Stay Positive
This is an important but oft-misunderstood tip. Positivity shouldn’t be forced to the point that humanity is lost—excessive positivity, in fact, may run the risk of making the customer uncomfortable. That said, maintaining a positive outlook by being assured in your knowledge and ability can transform a call from adversarial to cooperative and collaborative.
7. Look for Opportunities to Upsell or Cross-Sell
Just because a call is initiated by the customer, doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to insert a piece of your own agenda. By building a rapport and relationship with the customer during the call, you may be able to increase your chances of upselling or cross-selling. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when doing so:
Don’t push – Remember that sales are a secondary goal. The primary goal is to deal with whatever prompted the customer to call in the first place. If there’s room to try for a sale, capitalize on it—but don’t force a sales pitch somewhere it doesn’t belong. If the customer appears resistant or uninterested, it may be best to leave it for another time.
Focus on the value propositions – Chances are, your agents have built a relationship with customers over the course of their interactions. That means they should know enough about the client’s needs to understand how a product will affect their life. Don’t just rattle off features that may or may not be of interest. Instead, focus on how what you’re selling will benefit them, specifically.
Believe in what you’re selling – Enthusiasm is contagious. If you truly believe what you’re selling is worthwhile, customers will sense that. If they already have trust in you, this could give them the confidence they need to make a purchase.
8. Monitor More Than the Statistics
Statistics are important tools you can use to monitor the success of an agent during a call. However, they aren’t the only tool.
Instead of focusing solely on the numbers, evaluate the quality of the call by considering questions such as:
What’s allowing one agent to minimize the amount of time spent on each call?
Do customers follow up with positive feedback in regards to the call experience?
Does the language your agents use reflect the professional voice of the business itself?
Do your agents speak with proper cadence, or do conversations feel rushed?
There’s nuance to numbers, and the only way you’ll get a real sense is by monitoring actual calls and getting a sense of how conversations are going.
Enhance Your Inbound Calls with Nexa
The best way to succeed in your inbound call center is to focus on the conversation. At Nexa, that’s one of the things we do best. With our inbound sales services, we provide exceptional customer support focused on your customers' needs while also ensuring you don’t miss out on any business opportunities. Plus, we do all this while limiting your overhead and maximizing your revenue.
If you’re ready to take your inbound call center to the next level, see what Nexa can do for you with a free 30-day trial.