Everyone aims to deliver proactive customer service. Whether you refer to it as cross-selling, up-selling, suggestive selling, or – as we like to say — “soft question” selling, a basic component of effective customer service is to offer your customers additional choices. Some customer service representatives might fear being perceived as pushy or assuming. No one wants to offend the customer. To successfully ask the soft question, you need to know the right technique.
The key is to remember to ask if your customer has any need for other products or services your company offers and that they might not have heard about. These can be free services that your company is promoting, they might be products that are on sale or anything else that naturally ties in with what the customer already is using or ordering. Think about how you liked it when someone told you about an offering which compliments another product you’d been eyeing.
Here’s how it’s done: Offer your client products or services they could use. If you don’t suggest or offer these helpful ideas, you’re actually denying them something they might need. So don’t deny them a choice. That’s critical in being proactive.
These are some examples of soft questions:
- “By the way, are you aware of our free overnight shipping policy if we make a mistake on your order?”
- “I noticed that you bought socks the last time you ordered shoes. We have a buy-two-get-one-free sale on socks. Do you need any more?”
- “Would you be interested in taking advantage of our sale on knit Polo shirts?”
- “Were you aware of our VIP plan? It allows business travelers to upgrade to the concierge level for only $50 additional per day.”
- “Have you seen the cute matching jacket? It’s also on sale this week.”
- “Did you know we now offer an identity protection plan on checking accounts? It’s only $2.95 per month.”
- “Oh, by the way, were you aware of our free, online bill paying service?”
Soft questions are seldom rejected. If people need the services, they’ll give you a positive response. And if they don’t need it, they’ll give you a soft turndown to your soft question.
That’s one of the best things about asking soft questions: you won’t feel rejected. But the important thing to remember is that when you ask the soft question, you are not denying your caller the choice of having access to a product or service they could benefit from.
Want to improve the level of service you deliver? Don’t deny your customer a choice.
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