Deborah E. Pearlman

Question: How can I make sure my contact center is staffed by the best possible representatives? Answers: Use pre-employment testing. This can predict how an individual will react in certain situations and his or her style of relating to others. It also can help you evaluate the applicant's core values. All of these can indicate how an individual will fit into your organization. In addition, some HR managers have developed a profile of the type of contact center employee who succeeds in their companies and seek to find applicants with those same characteristics and profiles. —Curt Barry, president, F. Curtis Barry & Co., a

Offsetting some of the operating costs of customer service with cross-selling or upselling has become much more commonplace than ever. A profitable cross-sell/upsell program requires a well-conceived plan and skillful execution to avoid pitfalls. 1. Resolve Customer Service Issues A customer’s service issue must be resolved to his or her satisfaction before the selling process can begin. In some upsell/cross-sell programs, CSRs have been instructed to try to sell every customer. This is neither practical nor is it advisable. A customer with an unresolved problem will only be antagonized by the sales effort, and the program just won’t make sense to the CSR. 2.

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