It's a tale as old as time. A company spends time and money wooing you, and then the moment you're hooked, everything changes. Business interactions like this, where companies mislead you into thinking they'll provide excellent service so they can close the deal, is a terrible experience.
After-sales service is the remedy to this issue. Instead of only treating the customer well to get their money, treat the customer well in the long-term to earn their loyalty.
What is after-sales service?
After-sales service is the support and help you give your customers after they've purchased your product. It might include advice on how to use your product or service, being available to answer questions, and checking in to see if they're satisfied with their purchase.
Among other things, after-sales service includes:
Thank you notes
Excellent, and available, customer service
Check-ins to ensure customers are doing well
Listening to customer feedback
Returns and exchanges
Why is after-sales service important?
Most companies aren't trying to pull the rug out from under their customers after the sale. Often, businesses end up paying more attention to prospective customers because that's where the obvious opportunity is. Putting more time and effort into converting leads pays off immediately.
This results in a cycle of investing in the pre-sales experience without investing in the post-sales experience. All of sudden, you might wake up and realize that your customers are not being treated as well as you would like them to be -- or how they expected to be, based on your excellent sales experience.
While investing in pre-sales service is important to converting browsers into buyers, after-sales service is critical for the longevity of your business for three reasons: ensuring repeat customers, fostering word-of-mouth referrals, and maintaining a positive brand image.
Providing great after-sales service improves customer retention and increases the likelihood of customers purchasing from you again. According to a 2020 study conducted by Shep Hyken's CX consulting firm, 96% of customers are willing to leave your business if they receive bad service.
Even if you've sold them on your product initially, if you abandon them after the sale, they won't come back in the future. Think of it like a leaky bucket. Sales are pouring in, filling up your bucket. But if you have a hole in the bottom of your bucket, customers will keep leaving, and your bucket will never fill up. Providing great customer service after the sale is like patching up that hole. Customers will stick around, even as you recruit new customers and make more sales.
Providing great after-service sales has a positive impact on the number of customers who are willing to provide referrals. And since 65% of new business leads come from referrals, according to a survey of marketers, it's critical that your existing customers are happy with your after-sales service. If they aren't, you'll see fewer and fewer new leads coming from referrals.
Positive Brand Image
A number of studies have shown that a good post-sales experience positively affects the overall brand image, which in turn promotes customer loyalty. Ensuring that you're seen as a trustworthy, helpful brand is essential to customers returning to purchase in the future. It can also improve conversion rates and reduce churn. While short-term sales might look good on your revenue chart, investing in ongoing customer happiness will make sure you'll keep getting sales in the future.
Examples of Good After-Sales Service
These companies all have their own unique way of providing service to customers post-sale. What stands out about them is that each business has uncovered a specific way they can improve their customers' experience or provide more value. Use these examples to help uncover your own opportunities to provide good after-sales service.
1. Baratza After-Sales Service
Baratza makes coffee grinders that are built to last, and their after-sales care program is second-to-none. Rather than building a cheap product that constantly needs to be replaced or upgraded, Baratza produces grinders that are meant to be repaired for a long lifetime. Not only is this sustainable for the planet, but it also increases consumer confidence in their product.
Baratza provides great after-sales service through extremely helpful customer support, online troubleshooting guides, easily ordered replacement parts, and affordable repair service for customers who don't want to DIY.
Along with the standard warranty, customers can also upgrade to the Suzuki Protection Plan, a transferable warranty that makes sure the customer is taken care of, even after they've purchased.
3. Lenovo Vantage Post-Sale Support
Included with every new Lenovo PC shipped to consumers is an app called Lenovo Vantage. It's designed to help the customer get the most value out of their new computer. Not only can the app help them customize the performance of their PC, but it can also run diagnostic tests, help the user troubleshoot, and keep everything up-to-date and running smoothly. It's basically an IT help desk located right on the user's laptop.
4. LastPass After-Sales Service and Training
Support isn't just about fixing things when they go wrong. It's also about empowering your customers to get the most value out of your product. LastPass provides their administrators and end-users with ongoing free training on how to set up their computer security systems. Not only do users get the benefit of a safe password manager, but they also are informed of any new security concerns they should be aware of. This brings a lot of value to the product and improves overall customer satisfaction, even after the sale.
5. EPIC Bar's After-Sales Support
Occasionally, things will go wrong after the sale. Instead of taking a "buyer-beware" attitude and leaving your new customer to deal with the issue, it's important to take a proactive approach. By being available to support new customers you can turn their experience around and end up with a loyal customer.
For example, an EPIC bar customer found a bad bar in her purchase. After writing into the company, they not only replaced the bar but sent her extra and a coupon for future purchases. By including a hand-written note, they showed her that they care, and have earned a customer for life.
Don't Abandon Your Customers After the Sale!
It's natural to court your customers when you need their business. But the good times can't stop as soon as you get the sale. Instead, spend just as much time making your new customers have a great experience. The investment will pay off in customer loyalty and referrals.
Originally published Aug 23, 2021 8:00:00 AM, updated August 23 2021