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How do cross-selling and up-selling impact customer satisfaction?

Cross-selling and up-selling are great ways to build customer profitability, but how do they impact customer satisfaction? Martha Rogers gives tips for up-selling in this expert tip.

What effect do cross-selling and up-selling have on customer satisfaction? While both can build customer profitability,...

is it worth negatively impacting customer satisfaction?

This is a very interesting question because it raises several issues simultaneously. First of all, there are two ways to approach cross-selling and up-selling. One way is when somebody calls and has a problem you say "Oh, we're offering everybody this today." We think of that kind of approach as finding customers for products that you want to sell. That approach can be very annoying to customers and even though you will get some takers, in the long run you are probably killing some customer equity and that's really a serious concern.

The way to think about cross-selling and up-selling correctly is not to think about how to find customers for some product that you want to sell, but rather that you've got a customer who has taken the time to call or maybe you've gotten him or her on the line somehow, now what you need to do is find the right product for this customer. So, given what this customer has bought before and based on the questions that she's asking now, think about what would be the next right thing to offer this customer, not the same ol' thing to offer everyone. That can be extremely helpful to customers, and even if they respond that they don't care for that right now, if you've thought about it correctly and if you're offering something that's relevant to this person then you're very likely to be able to build the value of that customer, whether or not she buys at the moment, rather than really annoying many customers in the process of selling to a few.

This was last published in June 2008

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