To Sell or Not to Sell: Determining the Tradeoffs between Service and Sales in Retail Banking Phone Centers
Posted: 9 Jul 1998
Date Written: February 1996
Call center operations in retail banking are undergoing a transition from being service-oriented centers to becoming sales-driven organizations. This paper explores the tradeoffs between service and sales in phone center operations and develops an analytical approach to quantify the costs and benefits of moving toward a sales-focused operation. Empirical evidence from retail banking call centers is provided, along with a numerical example demonstrating the use of the analytical approach in the context of one major banking call center. It is shown that in addition to its visible costs, like training and technology to build support systems for sales activities, cross-selling has detrimental effects on customer service due to the additional load it creates on the system. With a move to more selling, capacity needs will sharply increase both in terms of customer service representatives and in terms of information processing resources. It is furthermore demonstrated that designing the right process and adopting human resource practices that support this design are critical in determining the success of a cross-sell program.
JEL Classification: G21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation