Most people end meetings with familiar sentiments like, “Keep in touch,” “Let’s do this again sometime,” and “Give me a call sometime next week.” A sale should follow a similar progression. Business owners and salespeople should never be content with a no-strings-attached, have-a-nice-day handshake at the end of the sale. Why? Because today’s successful businesses don’t just sell; they build relationships with customers.
Contrary to popular belief, staying in touch with your customers isn’t just for your sake – it’s also for your customer's sake. There are many ways to serve your customers well after a sale by helping them to continually get the most out of your service or product.
The small business owners create post-transaction touchpoints and after-sales service practices that ensure they’re offering the best experience they can to their customers, all while keeping their brand top of mind.
These marketing habits boost both loyalty and upselling ability. They also add to the value of the originally purchased product or service. There was a reason that your customers bought, and there's a way to “wow” them after the sale is complete with excellent follow-up services and products. By doing so, you give them more proverbial bang for their buck.
Engaging customers in this way mutually benefits both of you in the long run. While customers get extra value with after sales services and products, your company gets a leg up in its quest to recruit an army of brand ambassadors and trusted voices who can provide feedback on new products, services, initiatives and more.
8 types of service to offer after sales
A piece of physical correspondence is always a strong marketing tool. Not only does it get your brand into the hands and home of your customer, but it also serves as a physical reminder of your company while sitting on their kitchen counter for a day or two. Carefully craft the card’s message, pick a meaningful post-sale arrival day and always reinforce that you’re available. This process can even be automated with services like Zen Direct or Send Out Cards.
2. Quality and unique packaging
Today’s retailers are capitalizing on the modern customer’s recycling habits, shifting their shopping bags to reusable ones that customers use for a variety of reasons. This is very intentional. Investing in quality, good-looking, distinct packaging is a great way to provide after sales service. It benefits both the customer and your brand.
Did you just complete a sale? Why not catalyze another? Depending on your product or service offering, extending a coupon to a recently converted customer as a token of gratitude could do just that. If a secondary purchase doesn’t make sense for your customers, consider prodding customers toward buying your product or service as a gift with the coupon you’re presenting. Or consider providing a coupon that encourages the recipient to give it to a friend, family member or next-door neighbor. Both options provide tangible post-sale value.
4. Personal phone call
If applicable, call your customers within thirty days of a sale. Don't call to upsell or ask for referrals, but instead simply to ask how your product or service is working for them and if there’s anything they need. This simple human touch can solidify a customer’s loyalty. And if they don’t pick up or don’t have time to talk, don’t sweat it. Just leave them a simple message letting them know that you appreciate their business and are available for any questions they have.
Maybe your product is nuanced and difficult to use. Maybe it has some often underused features. Consider creating or hosting a tutorial, something that adds tangible value to the product. A tutorial not only puts your brand back on the radar screen of your customers but also provides unique, interactive after-sales service and maintains engagement.
6. Periodic surveys
Customers of certain business types may really appreciate being included in the feedback loop via periodic surveys. Some businesses attach a coupon to survey completion, boosting the value that comes with allowing a customer to feel that their voice is heard.
7. Birthday email or gift
Birthday recognition through a timely email or a thoughtful gift can be very powerful. This is especially true if you are reaching customers months after a sale, at a time when their memory of your brand is fading or gone. Consider pairing a coupon with a birthday email and craft the language to be fully genuine—free of a sales-y tone and what the recipient may perceive to be ulterior motive. Simply wish them a happy birthday.
8. Holiday announcements
Holidays are great excuses for re-engaging past customers with your brand. Even if your message simply announces a closure during a holiday season, wishing the customer an enjoyable holiday, it’s a reminder that your brand exists. Holidays are also a common time to run promotions and sales.
The kind of after-sales service that grows customer value
Surely the primary goal of after-sales service, first and foremost, is to best take care of your customers. Secondarily, after-sales service is meant to build loyalty and trust, which leads to even more valuable customers.
If you’re able to create an experience that “wows” or impresses customers, you’ve put your sales team in a prime position to grow the value of those customers. What do we mean by that?
Well, wowed customers are very much on deck for any or all of the following sales strategies:
- Product and service pairings: Companies with multiple product or service offerings probably see common pairings or combinations. When someone buys a new smartphone, for example, they often pair it with a case, headphones or a number of other accessories to enhance their experience with the product. What can you pair with a sale to enrich your customer’s experience with the product or service you offer?
- Upsell (plus warranties and special services): Upselling may carry a negative connotation. But, as seen with product and service pairings, selling an accompaniment to a product or service is meant mainly to ensure that a customer’s experience is positive. Salespeople and customers alike should be cognizant of higher-priced offerings and the advantages of those offerings, as it may not be the ground-floor offering that’s best for their particular vertical. Also, consider matching products with extended warranties, special maintenance services and other programs which, again, create a better overall experience for the customer.
- New products and services: Past and current customers should be the first to know about new product and service rollouts. That group, after all, is your ambassadorship and a more than capable vehicle for reaching new business. Honor them by breaking the news to them and watch as they engage with your brand.
- Customer loyalty program: Do you have perks or rewards for your customers? Customer loyalty programs aren’t new, but they’re awfully effective at maintaining engagement between brand and buyer, all while encouraging sales. If you don’t already have one in place, brainstorm ways you could start and how it could aid both your customers and your bottom line.
And now you have referrals
Asking for referrals and rewarding customers who refer your business to their friends and networks is the final stage of after-sales service. Effective referral programs are a big win for small businesses because they help customers develop habits that include your company. Consider establishing a referral program with rewards that are low-hanging fruit. Providing gift cards in small increments, discounts or movie tickets for referrals shows your company’s appreciation while bolstering customer loyalty.
Keep the following in mind when chasing referrals:
- You don’t want to come off pushy or needy. So when asking for the referral, focus not on the referral itself but instead the value of your product or service offering and how it could benefit such a referral.
- Remember, customers generally follow instructions. If you appeal to them and ask them to review your business or share it with friends or family or coworkers, expect a lot of them to do that. That puts pressure on you to make sure you offer clear, easy-to-follow instructions that don’t require dog tricks from the customer.
- Don’t copycat. Come up with creative, strategic ways that your particular business can reward customers for their referrals. There’s no universal reward suggestion, so make sure it fits your customer’s needs and desires, along with your sales strategy.
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