After-Sales Strategy for Businesses
1.What is after-sales service?
2.Why does a business need an after-sales process in place?
2.1 Good start to customer retention
2.2 Boosts customer’s trust and loyalty
2.3 Increases chances of referral
2.4 Adds to the brand value
3.Examples of after-sales practices
3.1 Pre-installation services
3.2 User training
3.3 Return & Replacement
4. Examples of after-sales practices
4.1 Make your customer feel valued
4.2 Streamline your service process
4.3 Streamline your service process
4.4 Listen to your customers
4.5 Streamline your service performance
1. What is after-sales service?
As the name suggests, after-sales support is a service provided after a customer has purchased a product. It is usually provided by the seller, retailer, manufacturer or in some cases, by a third party customer service provider. Some examples of after-sales service are extended warranty, upgrade in the product, training, discounts or a gift hamper.
After-sales service is a part of a company’s overall marketing and retention strategy.
2. Why does a business need an after-sales process in place?
After-sales service is an important part of modern-day businesses and it is important for both the buyer and the seller.
For a buyer, after-sales service plays an important role to ensure the maintenance of the product. It also strengthens the buyer’s trust in the business.
For a seller, after-sales service brings in a sense of satisfaction and helps them make sure that they stay at par or ahead of their competitors.
Here are a few reasons to understand why should a business have a proper after-sales strategy in place:
Good start to customer retention
As soon as your customers make a purchase, they enter this loop of retention. Remember, a happy customer is the best marketing asset you can have. Be by your customer’s side at each step like installing a device, setting up the furniture, getting the car road-ready and so on.
Boosts customer’s trust and loyalty
Imagine you run a business that sells a device to measure your blood pressure and pulse rate. After a customer buys the device, how about calling them within a week and asking them if they have successfully set up the device or need some help. If not, helping them in-person or over a call for this. Usually, the older age group finds this difficult. Just a soft nudge can do a lot for your business here!
Increases chances of referral
If you let your customer leave with a wide smile from your store or your website and let that smile last long, that customer can at some point be labelled as an unofficial brand ambassador of your brand. Even after all the advancement and success in digital marketing, nothing beats the power of word-of-mouth. One satisfied customer can bring you 10 or more customers with zero money spent from your end.
Adds to the brand value
Humans are seen to get emotional with brands. An experience worth remembering can not only help you get a brand evangelist but also make them keep you on top of their mind. They will increase a connection with your brand and will keep them coming back to you!
3. Examples of after-sales practices
Usually, a product comes in with a written manual for installation. The difficulty levels vary from product to product. Some products like ceiling fans, washing machines etc require technical expertise while a product like headphones and mobile phones do not. On our case, deploying our Sparta ERP software securely onto the local server with all the required configurations is part of the service. Providing free pre-installation is one of the best after-sales services.
Training of the end-user is another part of the after-sales service. This is an important aspect with a business dealing with industrial machinery or an ERP software. It is essential for the seller to guide and walk with the customer until they have a 360-degree hold over the product.
Software maintenance is a part of Software Development Life Cycle. Its main purpose is to modify and update software application after delivery to correct faults and to improve performance. Software is a model of the real world. When the real world changes, the software requires alteration wherever possible. Software maintenance is a vast activity which includes optimization, error correction, deletion of discarded features and enhancement of existing features. Since these changes are necessary, a mechanism must be created for estimation, controlling and making modifications.
Majorly common between software and electronics, ‘upgrading’ software for a device for a certain period is another type of after service usually adopted by companies. In a way this also makes your customer get used to the new version and hence, end up purchasing it!
4. Best after-sales practices
Make your customer feel valued
Always, look for ways of providing additional value for your customer- they expect it! For example, when a customer brings in their bike for servicing, offer them a free inspection report.
Streamline your service process
Your customer ‘expects’! They expect you to be the master of all trade and make them a priority. Document all the procedures and train your staff to do things in a jiffy. This way, even your staff will be more efficient.
Build a positive atmosphere
If you operate out of a store, train your staff to be cheerful and helpful. If you are an online business, train them to make your customers feel good and satisfied every time they come in.
Listen to your customers
A business that listens to its customers is the one that understands them. Give your customers time to explain themselves. You can also get information from them by doing a real-time survey.
Monitor and refine your performance
Track your service performance from time to time and have a system in place that can track and monitor your activities. Keep updating your processes with the technology and lookout for new and exciting ways to keep your customers engaged.