Customer Experience News & Trends

5 reasons agents hate to sell – and what you can do about it

Most contact center agents will tell you they were hired to help, not sell. But there are other reasons they’re reluctant – and ways to get around those.

Whether you want agents to make outbound sales calls to customers or just need them to cross-sell occasionally when customers make orders, many agents will resist, says Tom Stanfill, CEO of Aslan Training & Development.

Here’s what they hate about selling – and how you can help them overcome those fears and succeed at some sales:

  1. A departure from their values. Many agents feel they are only there to help customers. Pushing products is not something they believe in. To overcome this: Sales from the customer service function of any organization should be an extension of helping customers – help them find the right-fit products and services, help them do their jobs better, help them be more efficient, etc. That’s how selling must be addressed by contact centers.
  2. Role confusion. Contact center agents are often trained to be efficient, cut call time and increase speed to answer. Selling requires more time, and those goals would be missed. To overcome this: Leaders need to eliminate some metrics and expectations when they ask agents to change or expand their service roles.
  3. Fear of failure. Agents know how to satisfy customers – and they’re proud of their accomplishments in doing that. Taking a completely new role in which they may not succeed is scary. To overcome this: Train more and give agents plenty of time to adapt to new processes. Prepare them with better listening and questioning skills to make attempts to sell a success. Remain available to coach them at any given time until selling is second nature, too.
  4. A lack of rewards and recognition. Bottom line is agents want more recognition and incentives for succeeding at sales. To overcome this: Don’t create a sales program without including an incentive plan. Agents should be compensated for selling in ways that are similar to how sales reps are compensated.

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