A Desperate Upsell

Have you ever been irritated when a routine task turns into an effort? Last week I confirmed a hotel reservation that quickly turned into an annoying customer service experience.

I gave the reservationist my confirmation number, and before she even verified my name, she offered me a car rental or ground transportation from the airport.

I declined politely, and reiterated that I just wanted to confirm my reservation. She confirmed it, and then told me that they were offering $100 off a 4-day weekend getaway: could she connect me to the travel department to learn more?

Of course, the answer was “no thank you”. I was about to exit the call and one last attempt was made to give me $50 in cash if I talked to their travel department.

Now I was irritated. The answer was “no” without the “thank you”.

She tried to upsell me three times during a two minute conversation. All I wanted to do was confirm my room, and she turned it into a frenzied attempt to sell me on a variety of things that I expressed no interest in.

If you want to upsell or solicit client feedback or open a new conversation, it isn’t effective when you read from a script without regard to qualifying the customer.

I know she was just doing her job, but if she had been trained to ask one or two qualifying questions in a way that made the process seem more organic, she would have been immeasurably more effective. Even something as mundane as, “Do you have a minute for me to tell you about some special travel offers today?” would have been an attempt to qualify my interests and to bridge the conversation.

Whether it’s sales or customer service feedback or tech support, be careful how your staff steers such a conversation with a prospect or customer. The most important thing to do is first respond to the customer’s request, that is, answer the inquiry and then ask if there is anything else you can do for them before you launch into a different topic.

Remember that your clients, customers, or patients entrust you with their business. Don’t blow it by personifying the worst parody of a used car salesman. Think first, and then ask elegantly.

Have a great day!


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