Up-Servicing: Creating Superior Customer Value Through Up-Selling Valuable Add-Ons


About once a week I grab my laptop and head to a café to work, brainstorm, and map out business plans.

I usually enjoy a latté, cappuccino, or green tea while I work.

I’ve found the change of scenery ignites my creativity and jump starts my productivity.

For years I’ve gone to the same family-run café for my weekly ritual.

But last week, while working in Albuquerque, I stopped into a Barnes & Noble cafe.

I approached the counter to purchase my normal latté and the sales person immediately responded with an ‘up-selling’ offer.

She asked, ‘Can I get you a slice of cheesecake to go with your that?’

I wasn’t even thinking about a dessert.

Yet, I somehow let the unexpected query: ‘Can I get you a slice of cheesecake to go with that?’ entice me into accepting a rich slice of cheesecake.

This also doubled the cost of my order.

The lady at the Barnes & Noble café had flawlessly executed an ‘up-selling’ technique.

And without any hesitation I accepted.

Not once in all the years of my attending my usual café has anyone tried to up-sell me.

As I enjoyed each delectable bite of the cheesecake, I wondered what would it mean to Barnes & Noble’s bottom line if every salesperson in the café attempted to up-sell beverage seekers?

What would it mean to the bottom line if just 2% of customers everyday were up-sold?

What would it mean to your bottom line if you, and every one of your employees, flawlessly up-sold your customers?

In my experience, both as a consumer and as a Small Business Advisor, I have discovered that many businesses avoid up-selling because they’re concerned that the customer may feel irritated or pressured.

As a result, customer service professionals are reluctant to upsell because they’re uncomfortable with a ‘selling’ role.

But here’s the thing: If you don’t try to upell you are

1) Leaving money on the table…. and

2) Withholding value-added services from your customers.

When done right, upselling offers translate into sales between 5% and 20% of the time.

Research shows that most customers appreciate up-selling when they are offered additional benefits that are relevant to their needs.

Read on to get 5 tips to help you confidently and successfully upservice your customers.

1. Think of upserving as ‘Up-Servicing’
When done right, upselling is simply offering a suggestion to an already receptive buyer to enhance the value of her service.

This is exactly what I experienced at Barnes & Noble cafe.

I was already a receptive buyer and the cheesecake most definitely enhanced the value of my experience.

When viewed as truly up-servicing as opposed to upselling, selling doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

2. Make sure your upserving offer is always relevant to the customer’s needs
Offering a buyer of a latté a book on Feng Shui tips may not be relevant and is likely to be rejected.

But offering dessert truly offers to enhance the receptive customer’s experience.

3. Be more interested in being of service than in getting a commission
Always focus on offering products or services that are relevant to the customer’s needs and that will enhance the customer’s experience.

If your sole purpose is to get a commission, customers will smell you a mile away. And trust me, they will not buy.

4. Recognize that up-servicing increases customer satisfaction
Research has found that offering products which customers might find useful conclusively leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

5. Think of ‘up-servicing’ as a proactive service initiative
When you add up-servicing to your skill repertoire, you will increase customers satisfaction and grow your bottom line.

Think about which ‘up-servicing’ offers would be appreciated by your existing clients.

Then try making these up-servicing offers to your new clients.

Let me know the result of your efforts in the comments below.

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