Iowa Telecom’s Healthy Mix of Service & Sales

Iowa Telecom. I had a great time Wednesday at the Association of Contact Center Professionals (ACCP) get together at Iowa Telecom's (ITC) Newton, Iowa contact centers. ITC was a fantastic host and gave those of us in attendance a terrific overview of their contact center operations along with a tour of their facilities.

Our group has worked with ITC for many years providing Customer Satisfaction surveys. We also helped them start their QA process and get it off the ground. I have to admit that I felt some pride as I toured the facilities and saw what a great job their team was doing.

One of the things that I've witnessed ITC doing well is to merge cross-sells and up-sells into their customer service environment. It is an example of how the "cost center" mentality normally associated with Customer Service can evolve into a revenue generator for the company. A couple of high-points:

  • The CSAT research our team provides ITC clearly established that a good percentage of ITC customers are sometimes or always willing to hear up-sell or cross-sell offers if their primary issue has been resolved. This knowledge provided a firm foundation on which to build their up-sell process.
  • The management team has done a good job of establishing realistic guidelines for when CSRs should, or should not, present offers – and which offers to present.The up-sells are natural value adds to the customer's communication needs (not an irrelevant add-on like time-shares in Jamaica).
  • The QA team focuses on a healthy mix of customer service skills and sales skills. Sales opportunities are aggressively tracked right along with soft skills and resolution.
  • Utilizing a combination of outbound surveys and post-call IVR surveys, ITC is keeping their finger on the pulse of the customer. If there is a shift in winds of customer satisfaction, they should know and respond.

We all know that great customer service builds customer loyalty. Leveraging that into immediate sales opportunities is a delicate balance. Iowa Telecom is walking the tightrope well.

Thanks to Tim Lockhart and the Iowa Telecom team for being such generous hosts. Thanks to the local ACCP board for putting the event together. Thanks to Avtex for sponsoring the event.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and jalexartis 

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