Why Your Customer Care Agents Should Be Upselling

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Sometimes an upsell is obvious. The kid at the movie theater register (MAN, I miss the movies) has obviously been scripted to say, “How about some Red Vines or nachos with that?”

That’s NOT what you want your customer care agent doing. To keep the analogy going, a great customer care agent might instead ask, “What are you seeing today?” and engage the moviegoer in good conversation while the kids are picking out candy or while the (always slow) popcorn machine is working.

This may lead to a conversation about whether or not they’ve seen a similar movie now playing, an upcoming special throw-back feature, or a kids’ summer movie pass. All great cross-sell upsell opportunities. She may ask the kids about their favorite type of candy and share hers – uncovering an unstated need for chocolate and now we have an add-on opportunity. You get it.

From a sales perspective, your care agent has nearly unfettered access to your buyers, your users, your influencers. They have unguarded conversations about the user experience, the chance to solve problems, the chance to CARE. If a sales rep called into the moviegoers with these questions after the movie, the buyer is wondering why the theater is calling them and they’re preparing their defenses for the pitch. 

There are four major ways to add revenue to an install base:

  1. More buyers buying the same/similar product 
  2. Add-on sales to the existing buyer
  3. Cross-sales to the existing buyer
  4. New buyers buying different products

Not all of us have all four opportunities in our install base, but most of us have at least one. Our job as leaders is to:

  1. Identify the top opportunities
  2. Detail how these opportunities may relate to the caller (“I buy that”, “I know someone who does”, “I have information about how we use that”, etc.) 
  3. Create some pre-set questions and conversation starters that may uncover this relationship
  4. Train reps to execute the questions, follow-up questions, and identify potential opportunities and then bridge this call to your sales team or close themselves depending on the scope and skill of your team. (here is the big lift)

It might go like this in a technical care opportunity:

The customer is calling in with an issue with their internet outages/bandwidth now that they are homeschooling (this MIGHT be fresh in my mind). The customer care agent identifies they are using an outdated modem and begins to troubleshoot.

  1. The opportunity here may be a new modem, new wireless router, router booster pods, increased bandwidth, higher package (e.g. a business package), or even bundling better internet service with phone, cable, etc.
  2. The caller in this B2C model is likely a user and a buyer for their home and may be in need personally for better service as well as know the frustration of their kids glitching during video calls.
  3. Care agent asks questions like:
    1. “Tell me about how your household is using the bandwidth. Has this increased lately?”
    2. “How important is uninterrupted service and bandwidth? Do you see this need and priority continuing?”
    3. “Are there certain rooms in your home that are better or worse than others?”
  4. Care agent introduces a value-add service like this:
    1. “We are going to get your modem fixed today, but you might also benefit from some additional bandwidth and even our new router pods. Are you familiar with these?” 
  5. Care agent begins to educate and sell or passes to sales like this:
    1. “Well, your current bandwidth is great for occasional work at home, but I see you now have 10 devices hitting your service, and I think you just need more juice. This should dramatically improve everyone’s experience. And the network pods help keep service in those dead corners in your home. At mine, it’s the kitchen. It’s simply too far away with too many walls between it and the router in the office.”


    1. “For many of my customers this makes all the difference. May I suggest that we bring my team member on the line to walk you through these options before we fix your modem? You may not need or want the fix at that stage.”

Seems simple right? Be clear, I still don’t understand why my son just lost connectivity during virtual band (VIRTUAL BAND!?!), but I did buy more bandwidth, a new modem and router and these pod deals in the past month, and I was infinitely grateful that my care agent suggested them.

Does this seem like a big lift for your care agents? Try the workaround where you stop at #2 and the care agent enters a potential opportunity for sales to call back. CRM says:

“Customer has frequent outages, modem fixed, may need more bandwidth or pods.”

Now our job as sales leaders is to work with the sales team. At this stage, a call to an internet customer who just spent an hour with tech support could go either way, right? See which scenario you’d appreciate as a home internet user:

  1. Salesperson: “I understand you are in the market for increased bandwidth services, our premiere package is an additional $50 / month.”
  1. Salesperson: “I’m calling to make sure the service you got last week on your modem has fixed the problem. Any more call drops? Dead areas? Now they start back at #3.

This is how you maximize every touch. Remember, making suggestions to clients is true selling. It’s how we become that trusted adviser and consultative seller. Unfortunately, our sellers have less and less opportunity to be in front of customers to identify opportunities to do so. Read more about customer touches in my blog on the 3 questions customer care agents should be asking to help generate revenue

Not all your care agents will get it, excel at it, or even like it. Part of the training we like to provide here is a mindset shift. Solving problems is their job, your products and services solve their problems. The “Did you know we also?” conversation goes a long way and in our experience, they’ll get a few bites a day.

How many care agents do you have that could be funneling a few leads/day to your sales team?

Bonus: The agents that DO get it are a great hiring pool for your next sales position!

Ready to train your customer service agents to sell? We’ve got you covered.

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