5 Ways to Use Your Customer Support Team to Drive Revenue

What if your customer support team could do more than just put out fires?

When you think about customer support, the first thing that comes to mind is probably solving problems and answering questions. While it’s true that customer support used to be seen as a necessary cost of doing business, customer experience (CX) is now becoming recognized as a crucial driver of business revenue.

There’s an undeniable link between customer service and business growth. 

Assuming your product does what customers need it to do, providing great customer support creates a one-two combination that leads to customer loyalty. Customers who see success with your product and receive great support are naturally more likely to repeat purchases and spread positive word-of-mouth to their friends.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s table stakes.

An organized and proactive support team can also provide a significant boost to your bottom line in four key areas: retention, expansion, upgrades, and referrals.

Let’s explore five tactical ways your customer support department can positively impact these areas to drive revenue growth for your business.

1. Get customer support involved in upselling and cross-selling

Your support team interacts with customers daily, so they have a unique understanding of customer needs, pain points, and usage patterns. This puts them in a great position to identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities. 

But to achieve that, you need to equip them with the right tools and data to understand what features and products your customers are (or aren’t) using.

If they’re going to upsell or cross-sell, it’s important that your support team has detailed insights into how your customers use your product. But because support teams also usually are focused on efficiency-focused KPIs like response time and resolution time, you need to make finding those insights effortless.

The easiest way to do this is to ensure you’re integrating your tech stack in a thoughtful manner. The most popular support helpdesk tools — like Zendesk and Intercom — provide hundreds of native integrations, on top of having flexible APIs that enable you to push data right into your agent workspace.

Here’s what this looks like in practice:

If you’re an ecommerce support team, your agents need easy access to things like recent purchases, shipping details, customer preferences, and so on.

If you’re a SaaS support team, your agents will need to be able to quickly grasp things like product usage, number of available seats, and so on. 

If you have the budget, you can also subscribe to additional tools like Mixpanel or Heap Analytics, which can provide your team with information about everything from the pages the user is on to their geographical location.

How do you use this data?

Perhaps a team member notices that your customer, Jim, logged into his account from both Pennsylvania and Oregon within a few hours. It’s highly unlikely Jim has a supersonic jet transporting him between locations. More likely, someone else logged into his account from a secondary location.

This flags an alarm: could Jim’s account have been compromised?

You reach out to Jim to check-in and ensure everything is secure, and that’s when you learn that his teammate Dwight is using Jim’s login credentials.

And there you have it: a clear opportunity to sell an additional seat or upgrade their company’s account to one that enables multi-user access.

2. Turn your support agents into (paid!) consultants

Since 2021, IKEA has upskilled 8,500 call center workers to act as “interior design advisors.”

Customers can book a video call with an advisor to discuss their needs for a particular space, such as a home office, and come up with a plan. From there, the design advisors can create a list of recommended products, offer further design consultations, and even create 3D visual mockups.

IKEA naturally charges for all these services, starting at around $32 for the initial call and recommended product list.

How do you think the advisors are creating this list of recommended products?

Through a pretty basic sales technique: by asking open-ended questions to clarify the needs of the customer.

  • What size space do you have?
  • What are the must-haves for your office?
  • What else do you do in this space?
  • Are there particular colors you really like?
  • Does your cat need its own space or will it be lying on your keyboard?

The answers start to form a picture of what the customer wants.

And before you know it, your customer support conversation naturally flows into something like this:

“You know what would look nice on that desk? A lamp! And a rug on the floor will reduce the noise from your office chair. And since you’ll be spending a lot of time there, you may want to think about adding some plants to help the place feel fresh.”

Suddenly, that customer isn’t just shopping for a desk and chair, but for all the accessories to make their new office a more comfortable place to be.

Because IKEA has trained their agents to know their products and ask great questions, average order value goes up and the customer is more likely to be satisfied with their new space.

Encourage your agents to probe into the needs of your customers. What exactly are they trying to achieve with your product? What have they tried so far? Soon enough, your agents will find opportunities to coach, upsell, and encourage customers in their journey with your product — even if it means they stay on the phone for a few minutes longer.

3. Use pro-active chat to engage customers browsing your website

Your support agents aren’t sales people. And we aren’t trying to turn them into sales folks, either.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t pave the way for the sales conversation.

An example may best illustrate this:

One of our clients at Peak Support wanted to reduce costs without sacrificing any part of their exceptional customer experience. After some discovery and analysis, our tech and AI solutions team found a big opportunity to improve their chatbot.

The strategy involved updating their chatbot flow and optimizing their help center, which would then enable adding in proactive chat from agents to drive new sales.

A key part of this was to transfer prospects from the chatbot to an agent during office hours when they were available. Agents were then able to engage prospects in a friendly conversation, answering any questions, and sharing their own experience on how to best achieve the desired results..

The result?

They reported an 8% increase in average order size and a 237% increase in revenue per chat, simply by having support agents engage with prospects.

What started as a way to reduce costs actually increased revenue.

Along with the chatbot and help center improvements that we implemented, this client saw a 75% reduction in chat volume, 96% of chatbot conversations being resolved without agent intervention, and their CSAT maintained at 97%.

Not only was support bringing in more revenue. They were now operating more efficiently, too!

If you’re curious about whether you have low-hanging opportunities like this, contact our team for a no-pressure consultation call.

4. Build out a customer referral program

Word-of-mouth is proven to be more valuable than paid advertisement. A survey conducted by Nielsen found that a whopping 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertisement.

A referral program is the best way to leverage this.

Your referral program doesn’t need to be anything complicated, either. The popular banking app Revolut keeps it simple — invite a friend to sign up through your link. Once the friend adds money to their account and makes a few purchases, you earn €80. Every customer can refer up to 5 people, bringing their total reward up to €400.

Who doesn’t like free money?!

Because they have so many touchpoints with customers, using your support team to get the word out about your referral program makes a ton of sense.

Incorporate your referral scheme into existing support workflows to maximize the reach of your program. Bring it up in conversations with customers, add it to your follow-up emails or signatures, and make it hard to miss in your help center.

Zendesk has created a stellar article that goes into the nitty gritty detail of how to launch a customer referral program. What’s stopping you from trying it?

5. Leverage your support team’s expertise to create content

Your support team is probably involved in creating help center content — but have you considered using them to create other forms of customer-facing content?

Because they know your product inside and out, support agents can create valuable content that resonates with customers and helps drive new business. This often involves collaborating with your marketing team, and it could include:

  • Podcasts featuring support agents and successful customers sharing about how to get more out of your product
  • YouTube tutorials with insights into how your product works and the problems your customers are solving through specific product features
  • Blog posts that demonstrate how to achieve outcomes or overcome challenges that are common to your customer base

Case in point: Izotope.

Izotope specializes in music production software, and they’ve been using YouTube for over a decade to promote their tools. 

One of their customer support agents, Geoff, posts masterclasses that teach viewers how to use Izotope tools, while also highlighting the technical depth and practical applications of the products. The videos appeal to new producers and industry veterans alike.

His most popular video has (as of this writing) over 313,000 views — that’s a lot of eyes!

These extra content channels are popular because they add some humanity to your company. Izotope doesn’t hide behind a slickly-edited video with a voiceover. Their YouTube channel is made up of actual people using the tools they make to create their own music. Geoff isn’t bogging viewers down with sales pitches; he’s approaching their products from a user point-of-view and demonstrating how he makes great beats with a plugin he knows like the back of his hand.

Creating this kind of content is surprisingly easy to do, too.

If you have the ability to record a Zoom meeting, you can create a podcast. YouTube videos can be a simple screen share with a floating face in the corner or a cinematic masterpiece. You might have someone on your staff with the skills to create a beautiful video. If not, Upwork is filled with video editors!

Find some willing participants from your support team — ideally folks who are engaging and knowledgeable — deck them out in company swag, and let them get creative.

Bonus idea: short form content. Shorts, reels, TikToks. They go by many names, but they are easily digestible, perfect for sharing on your social channels, and are the bread and butter of companies and influencers alike.

Depending on how successful these channels are, you may also be able to monetize them through partnerships to provide yet another stream of revenue.

Unleash your support team to drive revenue

Customer support team’s shouldn’t be relegated to a reactive cost center any more.

As these five strategies show, by using a little creativity and making space for your support agents to engage with customers in different ways, your support team can drive a huge amount of revenue for your organization.

At Peak Support, we build customer service teams that deliver unmatched quality and customer satisfaction. We do this by creating a great culture so we can hire the best agents in the industry – we only accept 1 in 50 applicants — and then train them to deliver exceptional support to your customers.

Growing companies like BloomNation and Advent eModal have trusted us to support their customers. If you’re ready to build or scale your own customer support operations, contact us today to learn more about how we can help.