I have run sales training workshops for several energy re-sellers over the past ten years. Their Agents need to handle the usual customer service issues. On top of that, most Agents have a requirement to convert inquiries into sales and cross-sell existing customers onto other products. While general sales skills are important, here are 5 tips specific to the energy re-selling industry.
1. Do not sell on price alone
How loyal are customers who look for the lowest price? How likely are they to cancel as soon as they find something cheaper? Instead, offer a fair price with the added benefit of price predictability. If your contact center sells a fixed price natural gas and/or electric plan, think of the concept as being similar to a fixed rate mortgage. Why do people buy fixed rate mortgages? Because they want the predictability of having a set monthly fee to pay. I recently renewed my mortgage with a fixed rate. Why? Because I want my monthly fee to remain the same throughout the life of the contract. Will I end up paying more for a fixed rate mortgage than an adjustable rate one? Possibly. However, I want that safety. I am not alone. Over 90% of people decide on a fixed rate mortgage even though an adjustable rate mortgage could save them money. Likewise, a set fee per unit of gas or electricity helps consumers plan their monthly energy bill. So, empathize price predictability, as well as the overall value they are receiving.
2. Give consumers a “green” energy option
Let consumers know if your company offers renewable natural gas (from biomass) or electricity (from wind, solar, hydro-electric, etc.) These “green” energy plans help consumers feel better about their energy footprint. Mention these up-selling options to both new callers and existing customers. So, they can make an informed choice.
3. Reduce the risk factor of committing to a contract
No one wants to get trapped in a long-term contract. Let potential customers know if it is possible to cancel without penalty, if they move outside your coverage area. Or if they move within your coverage area, can they transfer their energy rate to their new home? Generally, the more you educate your customers, the more likely they are to feel comfortable with a commitment.
4. Cross-sell from gas to electric (or vice versa)
If a new or existing customer has only gas OR electric service with your company, train your Agents to cross-sell the other product to them. If a customer has an electric agreement with you, Agents can ask, “Do you have any natural gas appliances such as a furnace, water heater or stove?” If so, Agents can cross-sell gas by empathizing the convenience of having just one bill to pay, instead of different bills to different energy companies. Plus, if your company offers savings to customers with more than one product, you can leverage that as part of your sales conversation.
5. Have the right contact center technology
You need to track previous sales attempts. Otherwise, you can annoy customers by trying to sell the same product repeatedly. If an existing electricity-only customer says their apartment does not have any natural gas appliances, you should have the ability to note that in your CRM system. Better yet, a great system will also track sales attempts across channels. So, if your Live Chat team discusses green energy with a client, your voice Agents can follow up with a friendly outbound call when appropriate. Leveraging technology can increase your sales.
Use these five tips to help your contact center Agents convert more inquiries into sales!