The current pandemic period brought an unprecedented opportunity and growth for e-commerce but also increased competition. New entrepreneurs and offline businesses open new shops every day, either to seize these new opportunities or to stay alive.
To face this competition, brand awareness and customer loyalty are more important now than ever before. And these are achieved by keeping your customer happy.
In this post, you’ll learn how to meet and manage expectations, create a connection and show empathy in customer service, so that your customers would be happy to come back.
Keep your customers coming back!
Up until the moment your customer spends his money in your business, you did everything to persuade him to purchase your product. From this moment on, your goal is… well, the same, only again.
Your customer heard you and deposited his trust in the perceived fact that you are his best choice.
And he spent his money with you instead of the competition, so from this moment on he expects you to meet the expectations created.
Enters the after-sales care. To ensure that your goal and your customer’s expectations are met, and improve customer retention (AKA: keep them coming back!).
After-sales care is the extra last mile that keeps a customer journey an open-ended and repeating cycle.
A happy customer can only exist after-sales. He needs to go through a purchase (and the experience of that purchase) to have something to be happy about. But once he is happy, he has the power to increase your brand awareness and customer loyalty, which translates into customer retention.
A happy and returning customer will reduce your CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) and increase your LTV (LifeTime Value). This happens because your customers will spread good word of mouth and positive reviews while buying themselves repeatedly and more often over time, or inspiring others to buy.
It will be cheaper to bring a customer into your shop and he will spend more money once there.
How do I improve my after-sales care?
The goal of any after-sales care is to give your customer the best possible experience after he spent his money with you. So plan your efforts to tick these boxes:
- meet his expectations,
- make him feel valued,
- go beyond his expectations,
- … and then remind him how good the experience was.
Here are 6 steps you can follow to check all the boxes and excel in your after-sales care.
1. Pre-after-sales (allow me the play of words 🙂 )
Meeting expectations is the first and core principle in providing a positive customer experience throughout any customer journey. This is only enhanced when it comes to after-sales care.
But since expectations are created before the purchase happens, follow this logic: your after-sales care starts before the purchase happens. So acknowledge these points:
- Be as clear as possible about the product. Your customer should know exactly what he is buying.
This is the first point of the first step for a reason. Your customer came to you to buy a specific product and you convinced them that your product was the best option for their needs. If they end up feeling deceived, you just sabotaged your brand and your whole business.
- Be transparent regarding shipping times. The decision to make a purchase is partly influenced by “when” your customers will have it in their hands. So avoiding bad surprises goes a long way.
- Be upfront about your return policy. Today, most return policies are quite flexible and consumers are prone to buy a product knowing that they can send it back if it isn’t exactly what they expected. So take the initiative to explain how your return policy works.
- Inform any possible extra costs. There may be extra costs when it comes to international deliveries. So be sure to inform if they exist or that they may exist. It will avoid further hassles.
Make sure that there aren’t bad surprises. That you don’t over-promise and under-deliver, if anything, it should be the exact opposite.
2. Somewhere on the way to you…
That’s a line that you do not want to have to tell your customer when he asks “so… where is my purchase?”. There are 2 reasons for that:
- You should have the tools to provide him the most accurate information possible. Besides, order tracking is becoming more and more a standard service in e-commerce.
- Your customer shouldn’t need to ask this question. He should get this information by self-service. Both you and your customer can save time this way. Avoiding that he waits for your answer and that your customer service wastes his time with a simple inquiry.
Offering your customer the possibility to track their orders directly on your website is the best way to manage your customer delivery expectations. And it keeps him visiting your website often to be informed about his order status.
3. Much more than just receiving a package
We all love to receive packages, it feels like receiving a present and taps into the child in us.
So when your customer receives his package, make it a thing. Send him a message via the channel that makes more sense for your brand and your customer, with a text, image or video:
- Thank him for buying with you. And for his patience expecting the package if necessary.
- Send him an explainer on how to use or better enjoy your product.
- If you are selling a lifestyle, congratulate him for becoming officially part of your community.
- And if he is part of your community, give him the possibility to share this moment instantly in social media and interact with him publicly.
Don’t risk spam, one message is probably enough. But whatever you do, do it in style (in the style of your brand), in a way that makes him feel special and enjoy it even more.
4. Empathy in customer service
Showing empathy in all interactions of your customer service should be a given.
But imagine that your customer feels a lack of empathy when communicating with your brand before he spends his money. You’ll end up decreasing the chances of a purchase and your customer will probably end up forgetting about you.
Although this scenario sounds bad, failing to show empathy after-sales can have worse consequences.
At this moment your customer already gave you his money, so he expects you to acknowledge, understand and solve his problem. Showing empathy is the first step to establish a connection at a personal level, disarm any possible situation and smooth the whole process.
Empathy in customer service together with offering a solution to the issue is the key to turn a negative situation into a positive experience and win your customer over again.
5. Post-after-sales (you saw this play of words coming 🙂 )
Your customer got to enjoy your product and his experience, it is time to ask him to give feedback.
You’ll want different calls to action for this:
- Review your product on the platform that makes sense for your brand.
- Like or follow you on social media, and ideally share the experience and a picture of him using your product to inspire the next customers.
- Share with you any points for improvement and negative experiences.
This is the main trust test for your product and the way that you designed your customer journey. So listen carefully, especially the negative reviews. Answer each feedback and find the cause for a bad experience, then adapt and improve on it.
6. Persist in his memory
It looks like everything is done but now is up to you to capitalize further on your good work and your customer’s positive experience.
Stay in touch with him:
- Offer him a promotion mentioning his previous purchase.
- Contact him with new releases.
- Congratulate him for his Birthday.
- Include him in your newsletter.
- Keep your Social media alive.
Channel diversity is also important:
- Emails are a good way to keep in touch (with a newsletter for example)
- SMS and instant messaging are more personal and good for targeted and birthday promotions.
- Underrated channels like push notifications are perfect to announce new releases or products.
Keeping your customer engaged is also important, so make sure to always include a call to action and even to gamify his experience.
The idea is to keep remembering him to come back, in different channels, but with relevant information and without spam.
A customer is more than just a customer
Here you go, six steps to have an after-sales care designed to cause a good impression and provide a good experience. Because each customer you receive in your shop is more than an opportunity for a purchase.
Is an opportunity for multiple purchases through the returning of the same happy customer, through the friends he told about his experience, through all those that read his feedback and were inspired…
Each customer is a real opportunity for growth.