After-sales service refers to everything you do to nurture your relationship with your customer after they purchase a product from you. Gone are the days of wooing customers to win their wallets for a one-time sale; today, brands understand the value of winning the hearts of customers in every interaction long after their initial purchase.
Excellent after-sales service benefits both customers and your business. There’s no easier method of building long-term success and customer lifetime value than by establishing authentic and deep-rooted customer relationships.
A Customer’s experience of your brand is the sum of all their interactions. When you help your customers make the best use of your product or service and ensure a positive, tailored experience both before and after the sale, you produce happy customers. Satisfied customers become loyal buyers and ambassadors for your business.
Leveraging Customer Support in After-Sales to Create Customer Engagement
Referrals generate high-quality leads. The Harvard Business Review, in a report on 10,000 German bank accounts, discovered that referred customers remain more loyal and become more valuable than un-referred clients. In particular, referred clients were 18% more likely to stay with the bank.
The potential peaks and valleys of after-sales loom large for your company’s bottom line. The man behind the I Love Marketing podcast, Dean Jackson, claims that around 20% of your portfolio comes from your current customers. Jackson dubs this 20% the return on relationships and reminds merchants that your roster of current customers holds two opportunities: A chance to provide new value to them through another purchase, and the prospect of garnering referrals.
Through a well-crafted after-sales strategy, you also gain the opportunity to reaffirm your customer’s decision to purchase your product, and to prove the quality of your product or services. This in turn promotes a positive brand image, which drives customer loyalty, improves conversion rates, and reduces churn rate.
Related Reading: How to Improve Customer Loyalty in Ecommerce
Customer Support in After-Sales
Great Customer Support is at the core of customer satisfaction. Often we consider the best customer journeys ones where the customer seamlessly flows through the purchasing funnel without any added support. But excellent customer support in relevant channels is one of the most converting tactics within ecommerce. The same goes for after-sales in terms of creating repeat customers and brand ambassadors.
Talk – Call center software
The call center has shaped the customer’s expectations of support and engagement. Still, many clients rely on calling a number when reaching out for help. Customers like to know that behind the glossy website images, real people are available to assist them.
Chat – Live chat and messaging
Your online store presents the closest alternative to the shop floor, and the chatbot — like a salesperson (live or from AI) — converses with potential clients. The use of live chat will help boost your retention and sales. But be mindful of when to rely on AI. The only thing worse than no service is bad and irrelevant service.
Guide – Knowledge base and smart self-service
By ensuring that your customers make the most of your products, you’re far more likely to see them return to re-purchase your goods. Depending on the products or services you sell, provide education to your customers in the forms of free product training, courses, or onboarding. Warranties are also a commonplace element in after-sales service; ensure that the pathway to redeeming a warranty is clear and easy to navigate for your customers.
If the product calls for it, offer installation services, or configuration assistance.
Feedback – Connect with your customers
Ask for feedback — not only about your product but about the quality level of your after-sales care. Did the installation crew show up in a timely manner with that new spin bike, and did they install it correctly? Were they knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about the product? All these small experiences culminate in a brand image in your customer’s mind.
Pro tip: Offer a coupon as an incentive for customer feedback, or request photos of your customer using the product that you can promote in your social media channels. Bedrock Sandals recently sent out a customer feedback form and did just that — not only did they offer a 15% coupon upon completion of their survey, but they also promised to feature a handful of their favorite customer photos in their social media feed, with a chance to win a pair of one-of-a-kind sandals.
Support – Integrated Customer Support
Until this point, we’ve described the trifecta of customer support: the talk, the chat, and the guide. Here’s the problem: how do you aggregate information into a seamless knowledge base for your customer support staff? After all, a speedy and informed response defines the after-sales game just as much as the pre-sales one.
Artificial Intelligence can help serve up consistent results when supporting your customers. You can leverage AI by diverting the endless stream of emails, tweets, phone calls, chats, and searches in your help center into one place. AI enables your support team to spend less time tracking incoming issues and more time providing value for your customers.
The after-purchase email can be the first step to building a long-term relationship. The email immediately following the purchase comes at a critical moment and will usually be saved in your customers’ inbox. This is an excellent opportunity to provide them with information about the product or give them tips about content to get into while they are waiting for delivery. You of course also have the option to offer them the opportunity for a cross or upsell.
Take advantage of special occasions, like holidays, with a personalized greeting or a special treat (Starbucks offers free drinks on members’ birthdays) or coupons. Why not provide a sneak peek at upcoming products to loyal customers? This is also a great opportunity to share new features and benefits of your products or possible upgrades that are available to the product your customer already purchased from you.
If possible, infuse your message to your customer with personalization. A simple thank you note with your packaging, or an appropriate gift goes a long way. LA-based sustainable clothing brand Christy Dawn’s customers will often find that opening their online order is a magical experience — a letter from the designer, a sprig of dried wildflowers, and a reusable shopping tote really show the love and care that the brand delivers to the customer.
Pro tip: Check in with your customer and genuinely ask if they are enjoying the product. Do it in an authentic way. Make sure they know about your return and exchange program, and how easy it is.
Cross-Sell or Upsell Other Products
Upselling is the process of convincing your customer to buy additional features or a more expensive product, while cross-selling occurs when a customer buys a product or service that serves as an add-on or couples with the initial purchase. For example, Lululemon includes “Shop the Look” with each clothing item, which lists the other items the model wears in the photos. Nordstrom takes this to another level with “Style ideas for this item” created by stylists, who put together 5-6 products that match the original product.
An upsell or cross-sell can take place in the follow-up email, or via your chatbots. With the help of your customer’s data, you are able to optimize their experience by connecting them to an additional product or service.
Pro tip: Don’t use cross-selling and upselling just to make money. Think about how you can add value to your customer with product and service pairings that make good sense.
Make it easy for your customers who love your brand to share the love. Enterprises who work with our partner, Yotpo, can do things like adding a referral widget or a post-purchase pop-up. Similarly, Nosto offers the user a chance to receive a percentage off their next purchase for referring a friend.
Invite Your Customers to a Loyalty Program
An easy way to engage your customers and keep them obsessed with your brand is through a customer loyalty program. This program offers clients a chance to receive exclusive promotional offers, coupons, rewards, and referral awards. Remember – your current customer has a 70% chance of converting while getting a new one to bite works only 5-20% of the time. But don’t forget that your CX needs to be top-notch to earn loyalty.
Ask for Reviews
Known in the marketing realm as social proof, the term documents the behavior that people display when they don’t know about a given product, service, topic, etc. While evaluating a product, they look to others who know more about the subject. Reviews attract new customers.
Spotlight on Excellent After-Sales Support: BAUHAUS Sweden
Here’s how Vaimo’s client BAUHAUS Sweden meets their customers at every touchpoint and provides excellent after-sales customer service:
- Live chat and phone customer support: BAUHAUS uses the Aircall and Zendesk integrations that allow customer support representatives to have access to customer data, including order items, dates, and personal information, when they connect with customers during live chat and phone support.
- Smart returns: Customers fill in the returns forms on the website for a frictionless returns experience. Smart returns are available for both smaller orders, which involve the creation of a return label, and larger orders, which involve the confirmation of a pick-up by a driver at a certain time.
- Reviews and ratings: BAUHAUS Sweden’s reviews and ratings are powered by Vaimo’s partner, Yotpo. Customers receive an automated email request to leave a review and rating seven days after the purchase.
- Installation services available on site: For products that require installation, a fixed price montage service is available on the product page.
- Easy access to documents and instructions: All relevant documentation is available on the product page, including user manuals, in-depth product descriptions, and safety information.
- Loyalty scheme: BAUHAUS Sweden offers a loyalty scheme in partnership with a local bank. The loyalty scheme consists of a BAUHAUS premium bank card, which allows customers to earn points that convert to gift cards when purchasing on the site.
Related Reading: Check out our full case study with BAUHAUS Sweden here.
Improve Customer Satisfaction with Technology
Vaimo’s Strategy and Consulting team notes that customer experience is a crucial aspect of customer success. One point you need to consider to drive customer success is “using technology as an enabler and not a conductor.”
To improve your customer satisfaction, set your sights on a service-first CRM. Zendesk allows you to manage all of your customer interactions from one place. Whether your team is on a single site or several, one sole point for all customer information helps your team give speedy and informed answers.
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It’s important for a digital business to utilize the best tools and tech for its website. Unfortunately, the right tools on their own are not enough; you also need strategy and experience-based expertise to navigate the digital commerce landscape.
Whether you are interested in creating memorable customer experiences across every channel or forging a brand new channel, such as D2C, for your business, we’ve got you covered. Our passion for building exceptional digital experiences has led us to almost every corner of the world for over 14 years. As a full-service omnichannel partner, we guide you from the first thought all the way to a seamless global omnichannel solution and help drive growth after the fact.
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