If implemented correctly, the Always Be Closing (ABC) mentality can significantly boost your call center’s bottom line. You can diversify revenue streams by developing a customer service team capable of delivering exceptional CX and taking advantage of sales opportunities. Industry leaders have been pursuing this approach, with Salesforce’s 2022 State of Commerce report finding that nearly half of the companies have already made commerce a part of their customer service offering. Here’s how to introduce the ABM mentality in your call center and reap the rewards.
Always Be Closing is a famous motivational phrase made popular by the memorable performance of Alec Baldwin as the ruthless salesman Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross. It describes a sales approach wherein the salesperson should always remain persistent and focused on closing deals. In fact, it is more of a mentality. To embrace ABC, salespeople must develop a mindset where completing a sale is the ultimate goal at all times. This sales-first attitude differs from the typical call center focus on customer satisfaction but, as we’ll discuss, it can also be a valuable tool in the call center.
Instilling an ABC mentality in your call center can drive revenue by taking advantage of existing opportunities. Your agents are already interacting with customers regularly, so why not use these interactions to fuel further sales? No need to transfer potential sales opportunities to a different department; let your agents close the deal there and then.
The ABC mentality gives a clear sense of what they want to achieve in customer interactions. Customer satisfaction remains number one, but agents now have a set of sales-related goals to focus on. This sense of purpose can help keep agents engaged and further drive revenue, with research finding that highly engaged teams can increase profitability by 23 percent.
From the playground to the office, humans are inherently competitive in nature. When it comes to driving sales, it’s always helpful to create a little healthy competition among agents. This can help push sales numbers up and get the most out of the ABC approach.
At the end of the day, sales is a numbers game. As Wayne Gretzky/Michael Scott said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” With agents handling a huge number of calls on a daily basis, the ABC mentality can help you turn all of these interactions into sales opportunities. The calls are coming in anyway, so why not get the highest possible value out of them?
Upselling and cross-selling are two main approaches that call center leaders should encourage to build the ABC mentality. During service interactions, agents are ideally placed to find out exactly what customers want and attempt to upsell or cross-sell based on this information. If a customer calls for assistance with one product, the agents can use the opportunity to identify their pain points and offer another product that could resolve them.
As noted, service calls are excellent opportunities for agents to learn about customer needs. By identifying follow-up opportunities related to these needs, you can take an alternative approach to upselling or cross-selling and instead pursue a sale later. A timely follow-up call or email can increase sales while also boosting retention and lifetime value.
If your agents embrace the ABC mentality and focus on pursuing sales opportunities, it will also encourage them to find quick, efficient resolutions to customer queries. This benefits both CX and sales, with research finding that customers are 2.4x more likely to stick with a brand that solves their problems quickly.
A strong understanding of the products and services on offer is essential in a call center environment, and the introduction of the ABC mentality reinforces this. With a detailed knowledge of the product, agents will not only be better able to assist with customer queries, but they will also be better able to convey the product's value in pursuit of a sale.
While the ABC mentality brings many benefits, it has potential downsides. If you do decide to implement the Always Be Closing approach, you should be aware of its possible dangers.
In a call center, customer satisfaction is always a number one priority. Even if you decide to focus on sales a little more, you shouldn’t disregard this. Metrics like CSAT and NPS remain the key priority for most call centers, and if you fail to provide an exceptional customer experience consistently, you will fall behind on these KPIs.
Working in a call center is challenging. With an extremely high average attrition rate of 42 percent, you must do everything possible to keep morale up. If ABC is not implemented correctly, adding the extra pressure of delivering sales could lead to overwork and agent burnout, ultimately doing more harm than good despite your positive intentions.
While healthy competition is a useful tool to drive performance, it’s vital that you don’t let it escalate to unhealthy levels. Given the pressure of added sales targets, too much emphasis on the competitive element could drive a wedge between coworkers and damage morale, leading to worse performance in the long run.
Just as unhealthy competition could damage relationships between coworkers, an overly aggressive sales-focused approach could damage relationships with customers. Buyers have become savvier over the years, with access to information and alternative products, and a pushy salesperson could drive them away if they take it too far. Remember the importance of customer retention and lifetime value to your business.
The key to successfully implementing ABC in the call center is unifying service and sales while always keeping the customer at the front of your thoughts. A customer-centric approach organically generates sales opportunities as you identify consumer pain points and help resolve them. Here are the key steps you need to take to adopt the ABC approach successfully.
Agents are the ones who will carry out this approach, so you need to educate them about what ABC means and what the benefits are. Use the method to empower agents to identify sales opportunities and have the confidence to turn them into deals. It’s also essential that you remember to mention the potential dangers that we’ve discussed in the previous section.
Product knowledge is key to a strong sales pitch. How can you explain the value of a product to the customer if you don’t understand it yourself? By establishing effective onboarding programs and delivering ongoing training, you can ensure that your agents are equipped with the necessary knowledge. Building a readily accessible knowledge base will also allow agents to access any information they need at any time.
As we’ve discussed, healthy competition is a useful tool for driving performance. You can cultivate it by running competitions, maintaining a leaderboard, offering prizes, and more. Recognize top performers with appropriate rewards, and you will give your team something to aim for. Stagger the rewards throughout the year to keep motivation consistent.
Knowing your customers and understanding their needs is the first step to making a sale. If your agents can identify these needs in real time and offer product-based solutions on the spot, they will open up a world of new sales opportunities. Train your agents to ask the right questions, clarify the issues, and gauge whether or not they can offer a product or service to help the customer.
Before you get anywhere near closing the deal, you have to build a rapport and show the customer that you care about providing them with the best possible outcome. To do this, you must establish trust. Training your agents in key soft skills like communication, empathy, and positivity will go a long way in building the trust that will eventually support a sale.
Creating a strong pitch script is an excellent way to give your call center agents a basis for their sales approach. Here’s the kicker though—you shouldn’t actually stick to the script. Customers value sincerity in their interactions and will pick up on it if you’re rigidly reading off a script. Build a flexible pitch script that gives agents key points to focus on while also empowering them to be dynamic in their interactions and confidently handle different scenarios.
Objections are part and parcel of selling. Customers will push back against suggestions, throw up roadblocks, request further information, stall before making a decision, and push back with any number of objections. Agents must be able to link what the customer wants to what products and services are available. This way, they can overcome objections by meeting customer needs.
Even if you are implementing the ABC approach, you must remember that customer satisfaction is the top priority for a call center. It will help increase retention, build brand image, and encourage positive word of mouth, ultimately generating more sales opportunities. It’s cheaper to retain customers than it is to acquire new ones, so make sure you keep your existing clients happy.
By evaluating the impact of the ABC mentality, you can identify areas for improvement and implement changes that will make ABC even more effective. Using quality scorecards and reporting tools, you can pinpoint weak spots, identify trends, and gather agent feedback. Then you can refine the process. These evaluations should be carried out regularly to keep your team sharp.
The Always Be Closing mentality can transform your call center, unifying sales and customer service to maximize your potential for revenue generation. By cultivating the ABC mentality among your agents, you can diversify your revenue streams, continuing to deliver a quality customer experience while also boosting sales numbers. With Scorebuddy, you can use tools like custom scorecards, conversational analytics, and personalized dashboards to help your team adopt this mentality and show off their sales skills. Reach out today and request your 14-day free trial to see what Scorebuddy can do for you.