After–sales service is a key element for many companies. Every time a sale takes place, we have the opportunity –or the obligation, depending on how you look at it – to offer customers a service. By taking advantage of this opportunity we gain a better understanding of our customers’ needs and motivations.
The objective of after-sales service is to build a relationship of mutual trust and knowledge with our customers in order to ensure their continued satisfaction. By moving from a reactive strategy to a proactive strategy, we improve customers’ experience with our product or service. At the same time, we generate new sales opportunities.
In fact, from this perspective, a sale is a process that never ends.
After-sales strategies can be divided into two types. The first are activities focused on the product, which we call technical services. The second type are activities that focus directly on the customer, which are purely sales-oriented.
Some examples of opportunities focused on the product or on technical support are:
- Product installation: operations required for product setup are often the first point of contact with our customers and therefore can define their first impression of us. These can also be a way to identify new sales opportunities.
- Repairs: these services may or may not be included in the initial price. In terms of opportunities, here we can establish different types of contracts with different levels of coverage or options in order to meet the needs of customers in various market segments.
- Periodic maintenance: periodic visits to keep the product in good working condition give us an excellent opportunity to continue improving our relationship with the customer. These can include for example systematic inspections, cleaning, or part replacement. Through these visits, we can continuously demonstrate the quality of our service and the added value we offer the customer. They are also another excellent chance for us to identify new sales opportunities.
We can see then that technical services offer us an excellent opportunity to develop and improve our relationship with our customers.
Among the customer-focused opportunities or business services opportunities, here are some examples:
- Complaint management: this can be a decisive point, as customer satisfaction is at stake when we are dealing with any complaint about the product or service. Sometimes this can be the difference between keeping a customer and losing one.
- Training in the use of products: in this case the service must be simple and personalized in order for the customer to get the most out of our product.
- Promotional campaigns: these include strategies such as discounts, offers, events, or mailings, to name a few. These are campaigns tailored to our customers, with an emphasis on segmentation. The opportunity in these cases is to be able to relate them to the rest of examples already analyzed.
- Loyalty: finally, and perhaps most importantly, all actions aimed at customer loyalty are the key to making the customer aware of our interest in them and to finding out how we can improve. We have a number of tools available for this purpose, such as surveys, applications for further information, or periodic visits.
We can see then that by using strategies focused on the customer as well as those focused on the product we can increase the effectiveness of the after-sales area, maximize its strategic position within the company, and generate more profits.
However, the real key to a company’s success lies in its ability to develop solutions that are creative enough to involve both lines of approach at the same time. We will analyze this on a future post.