In the stages of customer experience, the most critical is the after-sales interaction with customers. It is probably easy to attract customers during the pre-sale stage with well-prepared marketing strategies and advertising techniques, but once the customers make the transaction, the biggest challenge of every company is how to make them stay in the business. Some businesses focus more on the product and how it can be improved without realizing that customer retention is more critical. In the end, these customers will be nothing but typical buyers who continue to seek for other companies offering the same products or services but with a better treatment, giving the customers a feeling of being valued.
How can a company make customers stay and continue doing business on a long-term basis? What essential elements are involved in the post-sale customer interaction? How can a company attend to the complaints and concerns of the customers?
The first important element in a post-sale interaction is building the customer relationship. With an established connection, the customer finds it compelling to keep doing the business. A company should consider the following attributes in promoting quality customer relationship:
• Courtesy and Professionalism
A common situation wherein a customer would come back to an establishment is to make a complaint about the staff’s or sales representative’s way of treating this person. A company must consistently manifest a high level of courtesy and professionalism when dealing with customers even after sales.
A company must make it easy for customers to get in touch with the representatives given the various ways to communicate.
Customers appreciate quick responses to their inquiries and concerns. A company representative should know how to acknowledge customer statements and be attentive to their needs.
Apart from being responsive, customers would like to deal with knowledgeable and experienced employees. They believe that representatives equipped with product and service knowledge are credible enough to attend to their issues and concerns.
In order for customers not to grow tired of using the same product or service over and over again, which may lead them to seeking for better upgrades, a business must see to it that it regularly makes strategic product innovations.
Customer Retention Techniques
Another important element in the post-sale customer interaction is customer retention. Certain companies have a way of keeping loyal customers for the longest time. How do they do this? Here are some ways:
• Quality customer service
Excellent customer service from the company representatives is guaranteed to make customers stay. It is a matter of addressing their needs with care and treating them with respect during an interaction. They have to feel valued and important. They must feel that there is a company, which takes care of their needs and attends to their concerns.
After the customer makes the purchase, a business should try to get in touch with them to elicit feedback or simply to thank them for doing business. Sending out thank-you cards through email or a thank-you letter is enough to show gratitude. Sending out monthly newsletters with current updates and helpful insights is something customers will appreciate. Making a follow-up is also a means to promote other products and services that may interest them.
• Perks and retention programs
Any customer will definitely enjoy perks from a company especially after the purchase. Some retention programs may come in the form of rebates, future discounts, giveaways, coupons, and special offers especially made for loyal customers.
Reasons for Losing Customers
All businesses probably wish that every customer who makes a purchase or avails a service would just simply stick to them and not go to their competitors. However, there are factors that trigger customers to keep a very limited interaction or even just a one-time experience with a company. These may be:
- Poor customer service
- Defective products
- Competition from other businesses
- Change of location
Among all these factors, poor customer service creates the biggest impact on the business. Customers do not see the greatness of a product if the treatment they get is poor or unprofessional. They end up not making another transaction and may instead look for a company that offers better quality of customer service. This is a realization that every business organization must not simply disregard.