Healthcare Call Centers

Upsell Futility: Would You Like Fries With That?

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

I needed to order some ink cartridges for my printer, the kind I can only buy from the vendor. I called and told the agent I wanted to order two black ink cartridges. Not surprisingly she suggested I buy a package that included two color cartridges. “No thank you, just black,” I replied.

Upon discovering the age of my printer, she tried to sell me a new printer. “No thank you – I just need ink.”

When I acknowledged that I own several computers from her company, she asked if they were working okay and did I…. “No, I just want to buy ink.”

Then she offered me a special price on anti-virus software for only…. “No, I only want ink!”

Next she inquired if I was interested in a maintenance plan to…. “NO, just ink!”

Perhaps she was supposed to try to upsell me five times, or maybe she was on commission. I don’t know, but I do know the call took much longer than necessary. I became irritated, and I won’t buy another printer from this vendor.

Now let’s imagine a call to refill my prescription. The agent says, “Would you like to meet with the doctor to review your current health status?” I decline.

“When was your last annual checkup? Should I schedule you for one?” I refuse.

“We have a special this month on colonoscopies, and I see you’re at the age….” I spurn that offer.

“Can I have a representative contact you to review all the services that we offer?” I reject her proposal.

“We have a new family plan to save….” “NO!”

What would be the results of this pretend health call? Did we have a positive interaction? Has the agent made a positive impression? The next time I have a healthcare need, will this organization be first on my list to contact – or will they be last?

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat and Medical Call Center News covering the healthcare call center industry. Read his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.