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Post-Sales Customer Experience Drives Strategic Growth and Customer Loyalty for Brands

Post-Sales Customer Experience Drives Strategic Growth and Customer Loyalty for Brands

Last month I purchased a water purifier from a renowned purifier brand in India. While the buying experience was exceptional, thanks to Amazon’s same day delivery service, the after sales experience with the brand turned out to be quite opposite.

At the time of purchase Amazon raised a ticket with the brand for a free installation and provided the service request number to me. Despite multiple follow ups I couldn’t get the purifier installed for 6 days. Every time I called the brand’s customer service, I was told, the installation will be done next morning. After following up rigorously and not been able to solve my problem, I called up Amazon for a return and refund. They informed me, per the agreement with the brand, they are not allowed to return and refund. However, they can replace the product in case of any damage. I had no option but to continue to follow up with the brand for installation.

Finally, the technician came to install on the seventh day and as luck would have it, the product turned out to be defective. As such my post sales experience was already bitter. Despite having an option to ask for replacement, I took the opportunity to bailout myself by returning the product. The brand lost an opportunity to create good customer experience and lost a valuable customer.

PwC, one of the Top 4 global accounting firms and professional services majors surveyed 15,000 consumers and found that 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions.

An important miss

I am sure, many of us gone through similar experience at some point or other. Brands often miss out to think through the entire customer life cycle. As a result, they end up focusing way too much time and money on the presales stage of a customer journey and very little efforts go on to create post-sales customer delight.  

As per Rosetta Stone, highly engaged customers buy 90% more frequently, spend 60% more per transaction, and have 3 times the annual value compared to other customers [1].

B2B customer journey is no different. If a brand starts with a clear understanding of what customers value and use it to decide where to focus, it will result in improved customer experience. And if that means making important operational workflow change, then it needs to be done without any compromise.  

Why focus on post sales journey

The single most important goal for a brand is to make happy and loyal customers. And to be able to create loyal customers, brands need to deliver exceptional customer experience throughout the customer lifecycle across all touch points and keep their customers engaged.

As per Oracle, three out of four (74%) consumers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences [2].

Majority of startups spend a lot of time and money to build world class products and services followed by significant efforts in sales and marketing. What gets often overlooked is the post sales customer journey and potential opportunity to create a loyal customer and good customer feedbacks.

As a consultant I often advise startup CEOs /founders on the importance of creating exceptional customer experience throughout the customer life cycle. Good customer experience not just important during the sales process, but also equally important for the post sales journey as well.

According to a McKinsey study, poor onboarding, engagement, and customer service make up 52 percent of the reason’s customers leave in the first 90 days [3].

For a new customer nothing is more important than getting some help to be able to use the product at the earliest. And a brand has a great opportunity to engage back their customer and help navigating through the onboarding phase. This is an emotional phase for a customer and the brand has an opportunity to create a strong emotional connect with the customer.

When a brand sells a product and acquires a new customer, they have an opportunity to create lifetime customer loyalty through excellent after sales customer service. Carefully researched and diligently executed good customer experience interventions during the post sales customer journey directly translates to revenue expansion and customer advocacy.

Where to start

Often it starts with meaningful engagement right after the purchase.

  1. Start with congratulating the customer for owning the product and thank them for becoming the part of the brand family.
  2. Provide your customers with omni channel support details and stay alert
  3. Connect with your customer to check if they have any trouble with onboarding or if they need any help
  4. Share any online resources that your customers may benefit from
  5. Ask your customer if they are satisfied with the purchase. If yes, then if they would like to share their experience online /recommend any friends /family members
  6. Stay connected with the customer across all channels and thank them for any positive reviews /referrals

For B2B post sales customer experience:

  1. Stay connected with the customer through the post sales onboarding process and ensure your customer can utilize the products they have invested in at the earliest
  2. Ensure you have a Customer Success Manager (CSM) assigned to the customer to help navigate the initial up and running phase.
  3. Let your CSM understand the internal success matrix for your customer and plan the customer engagement plan to support those matrices.
  4. Let your CSM stay connected with the customer and assist with all possible resources including customer support contacts, escalation routes, use cases, success stories, best practices, and whatever it takes for your customer to be successful

Bringing it all together

According to Bain & Company, a 5% increase in customer retention rates can increase a company's profitability by 75% [4].

Post sales Customer experience shouldn’t be seen as an ad hoc activity. Good customer experience starts with visualizing the customer journey across customer life cycle and carefully designing meaningful interventions through different stages of the journey. And it can only happen when the organization embraces it as part of their DNA.

Nothing is more critical than having the right customer data. When you track each customer’s journey from the beginning, you can better relate to their pain and the reason for their investment. And if you have the right technology infrastructure in place, you should be able to map out your resources and investments through the journey and create exceptional customer experience for each customer.

Reference(s)

  1. https://www.groovehq.com/customer-service-statistics
  2. https://www.groovehq.com/customer-service-statistics
  3. https://flatfile.com/blog/the-danger-zone-losing-clients-in-the-customer-onboarding-stage/
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexlawrence/2012/11/01/five-customer-retention-tips-for-entrepreneurs/?sh=58c6c95b5e8d

About the Author

Jaydip Sikdar is an independent marketing consultant to startups and small/medium businesses, helping them with GTM and marketing strategy. Jaydip also work as a Ghostwriter for startup CEOs /senior industry executives helping them to connect/communicate with their audience and build an authentic voice for themselves on social media.