The Perfect Customer Interaction: You Will Know It When You Experience It

K. Landoline

K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:         

  • Most customers would probably not be able to describe the perfect customer interaction until they experience it.  So, asking customers to describe their expectations will probably be an unsuccessful effort on your part.
  • ‘Personalization,’ ‘up-selling,’ and ‘cross-selling’ are often perceived as negative terms in customer service efforts.  However, experience tells me that, if used appropriately, they can enrich customer interactions and often lead to customer elation.

Most savvy customer service executives would tell you their goal is to use personal information to cross-sell and up-sell every customer that contacts their enterprise.  It’s just good business, right?  However, the terms ‘personalization,’ ‘up-sell,’ and ‘cross-sell’ have negative connotations with many customers who are worried about protecting their privacy and being forced to buy something they do not need.  Allow me to relay an experience I had with my financial institution that, I am certain, will open your mind to the benefits of personalization, up-selling and cross-selling.

I once called my auto insurance company, USAA Financial Services, a company I have been a ‘member’ (Note: not a customer) of for more than thirty years.  The purpose of my call was to add my youngest daughter to my auto insurance policy.  After the agent handled the task at hand very quickly and efficiently, as I had come accustomed to with USAA, the dialogue went as follows:

Agent: Mr. Landoline, I notice from our data base that the car you now drive is a leased Nissan Maxima and that the lease is about to terminate in two months. (PERSONALIZATION)

Me: Yes, that sounds about right.

Agent: Have you decided whether you will return the car or buy it when the lease expires?

Me: Well, I have not thought about it yet, but I will have to compare its current value with the pay-off and make that decision in a month or so.

Agent: If you have a moment, I can put you on hold for just a minute, call Nissan Finance, and do the calculations for you right now.

Me: Well, okay…

Agent: Thanks for waiting. The car’s present value is approximately $14,000 and the pay-off is approximately $12,000. So even if you do not want to keep it, you can buy it, resell it and profit by $2,000.

Me: Sounds like a good deal.

Agent: Mr. Landoline, I see that you have an excellent credit score (PERSONALIZATION) and a car loan at very competitive rates would be quick and easy.  If you like, I can transfer you to Julie in the banking department (CROSS-SELL) and she can set it up for you.

Me: Well, okay.

Agent #2: Hello, Mr. Landoline, I see that you are looking for a $12,000 car loan and we can do that for you at 5.2% for three years. I can have the paper work to you tomorrow morning. You just have to sign the forms and mail them back. (UP-SELL)

Me: Sounds good. Please do.

Agent #2: Is there anything else I can do for you today?

Me: No, thank you. You have been very helpful.

Agent #2: Have a great day!

Wife in the background: Did you just buy a car?

Me: I think so.

Is personalization, cross-sell, and up-sell such a bad thing?  I think not.  What do you think?

About Ken Landoline
As Principal Analyst within the Current Analysis Business Technology and Software group Ken Landoline tracks the enterprise unified communications and contact center (UCCC) markets.

What do you think?

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