From Order Taker To Sales Maker

August 16th, 2010 | Posted in Sales and Customer Service | Comments Off on From Order Taker To Sales Maker

We have a number of Breuer chairs in our office and recently one of the cane seats wore out. I called the local retailer where I had purchased replacement seats before.

The person who talked to me seemed less than enthusiastic about selling a replacement seat. His part of the conversation went something like this:

“Hello, Parts. . . . What color? . . . It comes in natural or walnut. What color do you want? . . . Hold on. (PAUSE) No, we don’t have any in stock. . . . No, I don’t know when we’re going to get any. . . . Well, you could check back in a couple of weeks.”

I have to admit that for a moment I actually paused. But only for a moment. I turned to Google, and searched for “breuer chair replacements.”

In about a minute I was ordering a replacement seat on line. And a few days later the part I wanted showed up at the office without a hitch. The entire process was web self-service and at no point did I ever talk to a human being.

Was that a surprise? Not really. According to research conducted by The Yankee Group, phone contacts with a live agent already account for less than 45% of all customer contacts. Web self-service, speech recognition, and web chat or instant messaging have increased from 15% to 25% in just two years, and are continuing to increase at a rapid rate.

The long-term trend is clear. Many “order taker” positions are simply going to be replaced by technology-driven self-service options. Or As Bruce Springsteen sang in “My Hometown:”

“They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back”

But, as companies continue to move to technology-driven self-service options, the personal interaction between a representative and a customer really represent a great opportunity for both outstanding “service” and effective “sales.”

What does it take to capture that opportunity? To deliver great service and open the door to sales?

Your representatives need to deliver a customer experience that adds value because it is ESP: emotional, simple, and personal.

Service To Sales Tips

  • Recognize that any time a customer talks to a live agent you have a unique opportunity to generate sales revenue and to sell the customer on doing business with your company.
  • Turn any call into a sale by delivering value-added service that is ESP: emotional, simple, and personal.

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