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Blending Sales & Service – Part 3

November 8, 2012

When deciding if its best to combine your sales and service functions you must weigh out the pros and cons.  Today we’ll discuss two more benefits gained from combining these functions, reduced cost and increased revenueCost reduction is gained in two ways, reduced handle time and reduction in staffing requirements.  Having one group handle both functions will eliminate the need to transfer customer interactions to another group, reducing the handle time of the interaction.  Also only need to plan staff coverage for one group will reduce staffing needs.  While total contacts handled will increase for the group with both sales and service interactions, you’re only required to plan staff based on one group’s coverage hours vs. two separate groups.  This blended environment can usually reduce total center staffing requirements as much as 20%.  In addition, first contact resolution will also improve with cross trained agents, reducing the total volume of contacts within the center.

In many of the silo style organization the function of the customer service team is simply to resolve problems.  Until recently most contact center leaders didn’t feel driving revenue was part of the customer service mission.  By combining the groups, it has become clear that revenue opportunities exist in service.  Service agents trained to cross sell, up sell, and mention add-on/complementary products and services are becoming key revenue drivers for their companies.

As your organization benefits from cost reduction and increased revenue, your customers will receive a better customer experience.  Customers today look at transaction time, first contact resolution, multiple channel access, and multiple product/service options to define their experience.  The blend of sales and service can provide the experience your customers are looking for.

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2 Comments
  1. I think you certainly captured the essence, Greg. Increase in efficiency with one agent handling both sides of the interaction means no ‘reset time’ when the sales agent receives the transfer. You also mentioned utilization or occupancy as it is always more efficient to have a smaller number of larger teams to handle incoming volumes. Also, SQM has shown that a 1% increase in FCR results in a 1% increase in customer satisfaction. I contend this blending should occur, as much as possible, across channels as well.
    Thanks, great article.

    • Brian,

      Thanks for your comments and insight. There’s no doubt that blending sales and service is what more customers are looking for today and will help improve organizational results as well.

      Take Care,

      Greg

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