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Total Service through Cross-Selling: A Brief History Seth Brickner

Approx­i­mately 65,000,000 years ago, as ptero­dactyls were on their way out and USB devices were on their way in, printer cables were sold sep­a­rately from home print­ers. That was stan­dard prac­tice.  Here's how it worked:

You bought a printer from an elec­tron­ics retailer or your local com­puter store, you took it home and eagerly removed it from the Sty­ro­foam pack­ag­ing, dream­ing about the con­ve­nience of hav­ing a home printer.  Just as you were ready to con­nect it to your PC…what the? Where's the printer cable? You searched the con­tents of the box, aston­ished to find that the most cru­cial com­po­nent of the entire print­ing process was miss­ing.  You knew at that moment that another trip to the com­puter store would be required.

Here's what was absolutely crim­i­nal about the whole sit­u­a­tion: the per­son who rang up your pur­chase, the per­son who let you leave the store with­out a printer cable to accom­pany your printer, knew that printer cables were sold sep­a­rately! Why didn't that per­son say some­thing to you?

Because we live in a just world, most of those retail cashiers are now doing hard time behind bars in the max­i­mum secu­rity pen­i­ten­tiaries where they belong.

The point is this: to pro­vide total ser­vice to peo­ple who pur­chased a printer, you had to ask them if they also needed a printer cable.  Maybe some folks didn't need one: maybe they were buy­ing a new printer to replace their old one and they could reuse the old cable they had pur­chased previously.

You can bet, how­ever, that every sin­gle per­son who pur­chased a printer would have appre­ci­ated being asked if they needed a printer cable.

What they would have appre­ci­ated was the total ser­vice they were receiv­ing.  They would have appre­ci­ated some­one smart enough, kind enough and proac­tive enough to cross-sell printer cables.

Because you know more about your company's prod­ucts and ser­vices than your cus­tomers do, it's your duty to inform them about oppor­tu­ni­ties from which you think they could benefit.

How do you do this?  Easy: just tell peo­ple what you would want to know if you were the cus­tomer.  Let them know "what goes with what" or what's on spe­cial that might relate to their intended pur­chase. Peo­ple sin­cerely appre­ci­ate "real-time cus­tomer ser­vice" and cross-selling just might be another expres­sion of that philosophy.

Explain the value of your sug­ges­tion so the cus­tomer see's the connection.

Ulti­mately, it's the customer's deci­sion to pur­chase your sug­gested ser­vices or prod­ucts, or not to pur­chase them.  Don't push any­thing on any­body; you sim­ply want your cus­tomers to know what's available.

Call it cross-selling, call it a log­i­cal sug­ges­tion, call it what you will: we refer to this cus­tomer ser­vice skill as offer­ing total ser­vice, and it's one way that suc­cess­ful busi­nesses dis­tin­guish them­selves from their competition.

Seth Brick­ner is a Devel­oper and Facil­i­ta­tor with Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems Inter­na­tional. In addi­tion to train­ing and devel­op­ment, his back­ground includes edu­ca­tion, tech­ni­cal sup­port and cus­tomer ser­vice. When not trav­el­ing or in front of a com­puter mon­i­tor, Seth can be found run­ning, cook­ing, play­ing gui­tar, read­ing, con­vinc­ing him­self he can sing, or enjoy­ing the hik­ing trails of Colorado.
6 Total Service through Cross Selling: A Brief History
Seth Brickner
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