Are you a manager or executive in a large company, for example in the consumer electronics or telecommunications industry? Are you responsible for strengthening customer loyalty to your brand in order to sell more products and increase your company’s market share?
These are all goals that you share with many other companies. But how can you achieve them? One answer to this is by creating perfect customer loyalty, especially after the purchase has already been completed. This is where the actual work begins for many companies: in the after-sales service.
What Is After-Sales Service?
What do we mean by after-sales service? For whom is it relevant? What does it bring to your company? And how can it be designed in the best possible way?
In order to gain a better understanding of what after-sales service means at its core, let’s take a look at a definition of the term. After-sales service is a technical and commercial service provided after the purchase. What exactly does this mean? After-sales service, often referred to as after-sales management, encompasses customer service and seeks to ensure optimum customer loyalty by making follow-up offers after the purchase. This fits right in with the motto after the purchase is before the purchase.
When it comes to after-sales service, the customer relationship does not end with the business transaction – this is where it actually begins! The length of the customer relationship depends on the product lifecycle and usage cycle. The longer your product lasts, the longer you can retain your customers through after-sales services.
What Is the Goal of After-Sales Service?
The aim of successful after-sales management is to boost customer loyalty, extend the customer lifecycle and minimize the customer’s willingness to move on. You should seek to strengthen customer loyalty to your company over the long run, not just for the time being. This will give your products and ultimately your company a global competitive advantage over competing products. At the end of the day, what matters most is not having the perfect product, but the perfect customer experience.
Which After-Sales Services Strengthen the Customer Relationship?
Once again, the aim is to retain the customer in the long term by providing after-sales services after the purchase. However, how can this be achieved? To help you reach this goal, we have compiled a number of key tactics for you:
- Offer product add-ons: Cross-selling and upselling are classic after-sales tactics. Offer your customers upgrade options that enhance the original product through additional features and services in order to enrich the customer experience.
- Provide personal recommendations: Provide your customers with customized product information as this will help them to make optimal use of your products and services. At the very least, this will result in an enhanced user experience. In the best case, it will lead to a lock-in effect; because the more intensively a customer uses your product, the lower the risk of losing the customer to a competitor.
- Suggest membership in a customer community: Subscription-based models are a classic tool for fostering customer loyalty. What applies to gym memberships and Netflix subscriptions can also be transferred to after-sales service. Make this more attractive for your customers by promising to grant them access to exclusive additional offers and discount campaigns if they sign up. This way, you bind customers to your brand on a long-term basis according to the motto: once a member, always a member.
In addition to loyalty strategies, discount campaigns and the sending of informational material, the area of general customer service is one of the main aspects of after-sales management. In addition to handling returns, this most definitely also includes technical support:
- Complaints: The product doesn’t work, is damaged or the customer is not satisfied with the quality of it. If this is the case, provide a replacement or offer to exchange the product in a seamless manner.
- Maintenance work: If you purchase a vehicle or computer system, for example, it may be necessary to service the device and its components from time to time.
- Repairs: If a product such as a washing machine is damaged by hard water or has worn out over time, service technicians provide rapid assistance to solve the issue.
- Spare parts: Offer spare parts, accessories and other consumables to help maintain or even enhance the product. This strengthens customer loyalty and is also a very profitable area of business for many companies.
- Help desk: Does your customer have questions about the product or require support when using it? For example, if they buy a new smartphone, they may need assistance setting it up and contact your call center for help.
The more you increase customer satisfaction after the purchase of a product through after-sales service, the higher the chance your customer will be loyal to your company – a loyalty that goes beyond a unique shopping experience. If, on the other hand, you forego the opportunity to increase your customer’s satisfaction after they have purchased the product with the help of after-sales service, you miss out on the chance of generating profitable additional business.
How Can After-Sales Strategies Be Implemented?
After-sales organizations can learn from direct marketing tactics to help them implement the measures mentioned above. Whether email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing or affiliate marketing: many proven online marketing tools are becoming increasingly relevant for after-sales service. But even supposed offline activities in after-sales service such as customer service, maintenance and repairs are becoming more and more digitalized.
Here is a concrete example from the online business world:
Your customer, who is in a very good buying mood today, has already selected several goods from your online offering and diligently placed them into the shopping cart. It is the beginning of the month and the account is still so well funded that the customer doesn’t worry too much about their spending. For this reason, they put one item after another into the shopping cart, click on the checkout button without hesitation and complete the purchase. It is in this exact moment that the after-sales service starts. It is here that you have the unique possibility to persuade your customer to buy again, even though they have just purchased a shopping cart full of goods.
What role after-sales service plays in the example?
For example, if you sell e-bikes or e-scooters, the actual works begins for you after the sale. The product wears out progressively and gives customers the sense that the product they purchased is losing value over time. If you offer a regular check-up service, including professional repair services, you can turn that negative impression into a positive customer experience. If service offers are linked to voucher or discount campaigns, which the customer can immediately use in your shop for accessories, you have created an all-round feel-good package for your customer.
As you can see, after-sales services offer numerous possibilities which you can use to boost the loyalty of your customers to your brand and company in the long term. You should always keep a close eye on what it ultimately all comes down to: the satisfaction of your customers and their individual needs. No matter which strategies, tactics and tools you choose for your after-sales service, one thing is certain: every well thought-out measure increases your chances of generating long-term customer loyalty. You should try it out!