Article | 4 min read

Turn customer service agents into inside sales reps

Customer interactions are revenue-generating opportunities when CX agents have the right tools to boost conversion rates and increase average order values.

By Caitlin Keohane, SVP global customer advocacy, Zendesk

Last updated December 12, 2022

With concerns about a worldwide recession, it’s no surprise that shoppers are in a bit of a slump. But there’s some encouraging news: Consumers across the globe are estimated to spend $1.301 trillion more on retail goods in 2022 over the previous year—and digital spending is expected to total $5.717 billion worldwide.

“Consumer staying power may be waning, but it’s showing few signs of breaking,” Tim Quinlan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo, told Reuters. “Overall spending will continue to moderate as inflation persists and tighter monetary policy begins to weigh more meaningfully on consumption.”

While consumers may not be ready to splurge on unbridled spending sprees, many are clearly willing to open their virtual wallets. And smart ecommerce leaders are positioning their CX teams to not only resolve customer questions quickly and personally—but to also act as sales reps.

It’s all about relationships

If your company plans to invest in CRM, it won’t make much difference if your customer service agents ignore the letter “R.” The relationship that customers have with a brand is everything—and agents who understand this are better able to minimize churn, increase repeat purchases, and upsell.

When CX agents can relate to customers in a way that truly represents the brand, they’ll naturally drive additional revenue to the business. And if agents have a platform that makes it easy to track all points of the customer journey, it’s a natural progression to turn support into sales.

Superior CX creates €1M in sales

Based in Dublin, Ireland, Chupi is an award-winning jeweler specializing in heirloom-quality gold, diamond, and precious gemstone baubles. Named for its founder, Chupi Sweetman, the company has steadily grown since its launch in 2011 and is known for providing a VIP customer experience.

In 2020, Chupi replaced its outsourced call center with a dedicated customer care team and support platform. With the new system in place, Chupi grew quickly, doubling its CX team to meet customer demand. With better insight into the customer journey, Brian Durney, Chupi’s Chief Technology Officer, realized there was an opportunity for his team to turn customer support inquiries into sales revenue.

“When our customer care agents feel they’ve nearly got a sale over the line, but that customer needs to see the jewelry, they escalate the ticket in Zendesk, book a virtual consultation, and follow up with a post-consultation package,” Durney explains. “Those sessions have a successful conversion rate of 65 percent.”

Using Zendesk, Chupi’s CX team was able to seamlessly track, nurture, and follow up with their potential sales leads at every stage of the customer journey.

“In 2020, we had a 300 percent increase in care-based sales,” says Durney. “This resulted in one million euros in sales directly from the customer care team.”

Turning conversations into conversions

Gen Z and millennials are on the move—and Dorm Room Movers is their one-stop shop for storage, moving, and shipping services. Founded in 2007, Dorm Room Movers has successfully moved over 85,000 college students across the United States.

With a focus on friendly and reliable service, Dorm Room Movers’ support team connects with students and parents over email, messaging, text, voice, and through social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And those channels keep the CX team busy: Agents engage in up to 1,000 messaging conversations per month.

“Zendesk has simplified and streamlined support so messages from all channels come into one place,” Steve Lacoss, Dorm Room Movers’ Supervisor of Production, explains. “Agents get a full picture of the customer issue and can move conversations to the next level without asking customers to repeat their story.”

And with a centralized platform, agents are better able to turn conversations into sales—increasing the lead in conversion rates by 79 percent. “Zendesk messaging gives customers a right-now feeling that someone is paying attention to their needs, which builds positive relationships,” says Lacoss.

And fostering those relationships with customers means Dorm Room Movers has happy clients. “Our satisfaction scores have substantially improved year over year,” Lacoss says of the gain. “We went from 77 percent in 2021 to 85 percent in 2022.”

Rev up your reps

Agents who regularly provide exceptional CX can take that enthusiasm one step further and close sales. Encouraging personalized, conversational service will empower your agents to not only solve customer service issues, but also add a little bit of ka-ching to your virtual cash register.

See how you can get the highest return on your service investments to save cost and time.

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