After Sales Service: Definition
- After sales service is the customer support following the purchase of a product or service
- In some cases after sales service can be almost as important as the initial purchase
Why After Sales Service ?
- After sales service plays an important role in customer satisfaction and customer retention. It generates loyal customers.
- Customers start believing in the brand and get associated with the organization for a longer duration. They speak positively about the organization and its products.
- A satisfied and happy customer brings more individuals and eventually more revenue for the organization.
- After sales service plays a pivotal role in strengthening the bond between the organization and its customers.
After sales services: Strategies
- Identifying customer support requirement
- Design for supportability
- Choosing/managing distribution channels
- Promoting support for competitive advantage
After Sales Services: Strategy Variables
- Product related attributes: lifecycle, complexity, value, physical dimensions and consumer perceptions
- Firm related attributes: Managerial objectives, resources, desire for control and breadth of product line
- Market or industry related attributes: consumer preferences, geography, market size, competition, nature and availability of channel intermediaries
Six steps to remarkable service and customer satisfaction
1. Connect with your customer
2. Discover what they want: By asking pertinent questions and paying attention to the answers, you can discover a lot about your customer
3. Know what you can do: It's about choosing the customers who best fit what you can do well by knowing what you do best.
4. Do it: convert your customer's wants into actions you can measure. Then setup a system to measure the outcomes and the actions that produce them.
5. Follow-up: plan a follow-up contact. Follow-up by phone, email, letter, visit, whatever works. The more direct and personal the better but make it work for your customer and your company. This thrills customers because very few companies do it consistently.
6.Thank them: Thank them in multiple ways, not just once. make sure they know you are grateful for their business.
After Sales Service Techniques (1/2)
Sales Professionals need to stay in touch with the customers even after the deal. Never ignore their calls.
Call them once in a while to exchange pleasantries.
Give them the necessary support. Help them install, maintain or operate a particular product. Sales professionals selling laptops must ensure software is configured in the system and customers are able to use the internet without any difficulty. Similarly organizations selling mobile sim cards must ensure the number is activated immediately once the customer submits the necessary documents.
Any product found broken or in a damaged condition must be exchanged immediately by the sales professional. Don’t harass the customers. Listen to their grievances and make them feel comfortable.
Create a section in your organization’s website where the customers can register their complaints. Every organization should have a toll free number where the customers can call and discuss their queries. The customer service officers should take prompt action on the customer’s queries. The problems must be resolved immediately.
After Sales Service Techniques (2/2)
Take feedback on the products and services from the customers. Feedback helps the organization to know the customers better and incorporate the necessary changes for better customer satisfaction.
Ask the customers to sign an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) with your organization. An AMC is an agreement signed between the organization and the customer where the organization promises to provide after sales services to the second party for a certain duration at nominal costs.
The exchange policies must be transparent and in favour of the customer. The customer who comes for an exchange should be given the same treatment as was given to them when they came for the first time. Speak to them appropriately and suggest the best alternative to them.
Building loyalty with customers
There are two key ways brands can realize this goal of loyalty:
Pro-activity – identifying and rectifying issues before the customer makes contact.
Empathy – showing real concern and an appreciation of a customer’s individual circumstances
Creating a customer oriented business: the hallmark for sales and after sales services
To meet the high expectations of today’s customers, brands must become truly customer centric. They need to deliver consistently positive customer experiences to find and retain their competitive advantage. Investment in sales and marketing to win customers and promote new products and services must be balanced with the same investment in the after-sales service
Customer oriented after sales
This means customer-centric brands need to re-think their after-sales service, to move from a transaction management mindset, towards ensuring that it is fully integrated and part of the continuous experience that is focused on building stronger customer relationships.
After Sales Services Challenges
- Products are more complex and therefore more service sensitive
- Greater customer awareness of rights regarding warranty servicing
- Inflationary pressures creating greater sensitivity to repair costs
- Inexperienced and unqualified personnel maintaining and servicing products
- Increased incidents of products misuse by the customer