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After sales service: your brand’s lifeline during peak seasons

Issac Thomas

July 15, 202214 min read

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Is your team struggling to keep up with customer requests and complaints during peak seasons? 

If you answered “yes,” you’re not alone. Most of the top prospects that engage with Sprinklr report the same challenge. If left unchecked, poor service can lead to dissatisfied customers and, eventually, customer churn. 

Studies show that 33% of consumers will take their business elsewhere after a single unpleasant experience with a brand. You can’t afford to lose your customers to poor service in today’s economic climate. Therefore, your company should focus on providing excellent service throughout a customer’s journey. 

And that’s why after sales service, in particular, matters.

What is after sales service?

A lot of work goes into acquiring a customer. Why let it all go in vain by not following up with the customer post their purchase. 

Making a sale is just a small part of winning a customer. For customers to return to your brand, long-lasting building relationships are key. And here are a few ways you can accomplish it.

  • Send customers a thank you note, and extend them invites to your store launches and other brand events regularly

  • Please provide them with all the information on how to make the best of your products and/or services

  • Ask for their feedback

  • Engage with them regularly, i.e., wish them on their birthdays, enroll them in reward programs, etc.

  • Keep them up-to-date on the latest offers.

After sales service is essentially customer support initiatives, like the ones mentioned above, you undertake after a customer has completed a purchase.        

Why is after sales service important?

25X

More than 90% of customers might leave a business if they receive a below-par after sales service. 

Visualize a leaky bucket — you can fill it with all the water in the world, but because there is a hole in the bottom, water will keep draining out. After a while, all you’ll end up with is an empty bucket. Providing after sales service is like plugging the hole in that bucket so that your customers don’t even entertain the thought of abandoning your brand. 

A great after sales service increases the probability of customers buying from you again and thus, becoming repeat customers in the long term. Shelling out vast sums of money to acquire new customers is fine but striking a balance is essential. Take good care of your existing customers, or else you’ll end up chasing new ones while losing your current, loyal ones.

Like how marketing can be credited with bringing in new customers, quality after sales service ensures higher LTV (lifetime value) of your customers. 

Benefits of great after sales service

Word-of-mouth referrals

Happy customers are valuable assets because they almost always refer your brand to their family and friends. And acquaintances of satisfied customers are four times more likely to convert compared to shoppers who discover your brand from other sources such as search engines or social media. Not just that, satisfied customers have a 16% higher lifetime value.

Since 65% of new business comes from referrals in general, delivering a superior after sales service increases the number of customers willing to provide referrals significantly. 

Positive brand image

Bad reviews impact even the most well-known brands. 

Eight out of 10 customers read a review before making a purchase. And several recent studies have shown that an excellent post-purchase experience enhances the overall brand image, improving customer stickiness. Ensuring that you're seen as a trustworthy, helpful brand is essential if you want customers to return to your brand. 

Customer loyalty

A great product with poor customer support is a disaster in the making. Even an average product does well when backed by excellent customer service both pre-and post-sale. Thus, engage with your customers regularly, provide them with helpful resources, and ensure that your offering makes their life easier. Doing so will exceed their expectations, resulting in increased loyalty and lifetime value.

Increase in revenue

Humans are creatures of habit. 

Happy customers will spend more and are bound to stick with a brand compared to new customers. If you treat your customers well and become inseparable from their identity, they will keep choosing your brand over others. 

In addition, happy customers become brand loyalists who, in turn, bring in new customers, thereby leading to an overall increase in revenue. 

5 types of customer services provided after a sale with examples

These are the five major types of after sales service that can help prop up your brand in the eyes of your customers.

Usage-related assistance: guiding customers on how to use the product or service to help them get the best out of it. Also, any assistance, from remote product configuration to helpful troubleshooting tips and knowledge base articles, enables customers to understand your offering better.

Lenovo, one of the world’s leading computing device manufacturers, offers after sales service in the form of an application called Lenovo Vantage.

Lenovo, one of the world’s leading computing device manufacturers, offers after sales service in the form of an application called Lenovo Vantage

This app makes it easier for Lenovo users to manage device settings, run diagnostics, update their drivers, and enhance their PCs. It also enables them to detect and troubleshoot issues themselves and reach out to the Lenovo technical support team from the same application in case they need further assistance. 

Education: educate customers via live demo sessions or pre-recorded explainer videos to understand their purchase's ins and outs.

Ikea is one of the best-selling furniture brands globally, but its assembly instructions have had a long history of giving customers nightmarish experiences.

Swedish furnishing brand, Ikea took notice of this problem and created an entire playlist of how-to videos.

The Swedish furnishing brand took notice of this problem and created an entire playlist of how-to videos. These videos are highly detailed and complement the written instructions that come with the furniture well, allowing their customers to breathe a sigh of relief when assembling their Ikea furniture. 

Assurance: letting the customer know that if the purchased product is defective or isn’t working correctly, it can be returned or exchanged for a new one. Warranty, guarantee, upgrades, return, and replacement policies are all examples of assurance.

Apple covers the cost of manufacturing defects for up to a year from the date of purchase, and this guarantee is known as AppleCare.

Apple covers the cost of manufacturing defects for up to a year from the date of purchase, and this guarantee is known as AppleCare.

Ninety days of complementary technical support are provided as well after purchase. Apple customers can even extend the warranty period of Apple products by renewing AppleCare.

Support: being available to address customer queries or complaints on online and offline channels. 

A lot of eCommerce companies provide online support for product-related queries. Shopify, one of the leading eCommerce platforms in the world, is known for its impeccable customer service. They’ve identified the channels their customers prefer and implemented their support services well in those channels. For instance, Shopify has a Twitter account dedicated to resolving customer queries.

Shopify has a Twitter account dedicated to resolving customer queries.

All their patrons have to do is tweet about their problems and @mention Shopify, and they’ll receive immediate assistance. 

Rewards: delight customers with loyalty rewards, special offers, and the latest updates regularly. 

Popular book-selling platform Barnes & Noble runs a paid loyalty program. Customers can join this program for an annual fee of $25 and get upgraded as VIP members.

Popular book-selling platform Barnes & Noble runs a paid loyalty program. Customers can join this program for an annual fee of $25 and get upgraded as VIP members.

These VIP members receive a 10% discount on every purchase. So every time customers check out at Barnes & Noble, they are asked if they are a member of this loyalty program. If they are, they get a discount of 10% – no questions asked. If a customer isn't, the checkout staff asks them if they'd like to join the program and proceeds to explain the benefits if they're interested. 

Since Amazon became popular, bookstores have struggled to keep up with the online giant's price-cutting strategies. But the Barnes & Noble loyalty program and other similar programs and initiatives by publishers and bookstores should be credited for driving engagement and sales despite stiff competition from a behemoth like Amazon.

Every business should start offering most, if not all, of these services to ensure their customers stay loyal for a long time. Plus, they need to be available to their customers when and where they need them. But the problem today is that customer service is broken. With many customer service channels and ever-evolving customer preferences, keeping track of customer needs is challenging even if you intend to serve them well. Along with intent, access to the right technology is paramount. When people are changing their buying behavior at the drop of a hat thanks to technology, you too need to leverage technology to meet fickle customer demands better. 

It would help if you had a solution to help your team handle large volumes of tickets, including post-sale customer inquiries during peak seasons. And that's where a unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform like Sprinklr, with its ability to manage customers across different channels using AI and automation, comes in. 

Continue reading to find out how a Unified-CXM platform can help you deliver a customer-centric after sales service.

How to deliver helpful after sales service with a Unified-CXM platform?

Here are 5 ways a Unified-CXM platform can help level up your after sales service.

Get a single view of customer data

Contrary to popular belief, return and exchange requests – one of the most common post-sale customer inquiries – need not be the end of the world for your brand. Treat them as opportunities to improve your customer engagement practices and experiences. 

Having a single customer view — unified access to customer information gathered across channels and devices — is critical as it allows your agents to view all past interactions with the customer in a single dashboard. Your agent can then offer the necessary recourse to the angry customer through a quick exchange or refund. This way, they are not just able to meet customer expectations, which in this case translates to hassle-free returns and exchanges, but also mitigate the risk of customer churn.  

Deliver omnichannel support

Shoppers, millennials and gen Z engage with a retailer on multiple channels such as live chat, email, text, and social media. Here is a graph on consumer's customer service channel preferences.

Consumers today are spoiled for choice. Guided by impulses and feelings, they don’t mind leaving a brand for a better shopping experience elsewhere. These shoppers, millennials and Gen Z for the most part, tend to engage with a retailer on multiple channels such as live chat, email, text, and social media. And the majority of them expect a smooth experience when jumping between these channels. 

Most cloud-based helpdesks do offer multichannel support but are they genuinely omnichannel? That’s up for debate.

Consider a situation where a shopper ordered something on your website. After a long wait, the product finally arrives at the customer’s doorstep. The product, to their horror, turns out to be defective. 

What does the shopper do next? 

You guessed it right; they reach out to customer support immediately. But usually, they bounce from one channel to another in hopes of a quick resolution. And by the time customers’ concerns are adequately addressed, they would have exhausted all possible means of contacting your team, leaving them even more frustrated.

Global omni-channel trend and e-commerce sales in billions US dollars.

With omnichannel capabilities, however, your agents can provide the customer with the support they need no matter the communication channel. It also ensures your customers don’t have to repeat the same information repeatedly every time they switch channels. 

By giving customers more than one way to reach your support team, a well-thought-out omnichannel strategy helps keep your agents’ phones from ringing off the hook, making life a tad easier for everyone on your team. 

Deploy robust self-service options

The importance of self-service can’t be emphasized enough, especially during peak seasons when ticket volume is at its highest and first contact resolution (FCR) at its lowest. 

Consider this scenario: a shopper has bought the latest name-brand soundbar for Christmas.

After they’ve installed the equipment at their house and plopped down on the couch to pair it with their TV, they realize the soundbar didn’t come with a quick installation guide. Since they dread being on the phone with a customer service representative for hours on end, they whip their phone out and google the issue instead. They land on the product FAQ page. The content there, much to their dismay, isn’t beneficial. They try the brand’s community forum next but again, no luck. They’re in a bind.

While improving customer experience, where do you think organization can get the maximum value for money?

​​What could the brand that manufactured or sold the soundbar have done better? 

Before we dive into the details, did you know only 33% of businesses offer their customers self-service resources such as a knowledge base (KB) and/or an online forum?

Thankfully, the soundbar brand already has a functional FAQ page and a user forum. To bolster its self-service capabilities, it must update its KB with the latest how-to articles. 

Additionally, support managers can deploy an AI chatbot on their website — as their first line of defense — to handle customers’ most frequently asked questions and triage tickets more effectively. Another way AI could come in handy is by assisting agents in resolving tickets faster — pulling up relevant and contextual KB articles when agents handle necessary tickets, reducing average handle time (AHT).

Audit agent activity

Observing temporary agents in real-time as they handle a customer complaint can facilitate course corrections needed along the way.

Most businesses across the country become short-staffed during peak seasons such as summer or Christmas; retailers are no exception. 

Since customer transactions are unusually high during the season, support teams bear the brunt of this surge in the form of high ticket volume. Most brands hire temporary agents or outsource customer support to offset the spike in support volume. Though this approach can yield excellent results, it could also backfire.

As temporary or outsourced agents may not be familiar with the protocol, they might require extensive training to get up to speed, which can last at least a couple of weeks. But any peak season spans just a few weeks, so that’s a no-no. The next best option is monitoring and coaching agents as they go about their daily routine. Observing temporary agents in real-time as they handle a customer complaint can facilitate course corrections needed along the way. This unintrusive but proactive agent-customer interaction audit across digital channels can improve response quality, brand compliance, and mean time to resolution (MTTR).

Percentage of customers getting proactive customer service.

Not only does the customer benefit as a result, but they also become more receptive to completing a post-sale survey. 

What’s the big deal about post-sale feedback, you ask? Keep reading.

Harness the voice of your customer 

Customer feedback can yield valuable insights that can help improve your customer experience. For decades, brands have relied heavily on feedback obtained via customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys to boost their upselling and cross-selling initiatives along with reducing retention costs. 

But did you know a well-implemented voice of customer (VoC) program can also complement your customer service efforts?

A well-implemented voice of customer (VoC) program can also complement your customer service efforts. 60% organizations with VoC programs will supplement traditional surveys analyzing voice and text interactions with customers.

One, customer service becomes cost-effective because your team can better understand customer pain points and tweak support workflows accordingly. Two, and more importantly, VoC can help you gauge the prevailing customer sentiment around your best-selling peak season deals through social listening.

 Performance improvements after harnessing customer's voice.

Take the case of product recalls; though uncommon, recalls can hurt the reputation of even the most trusted brands on the planet. How a business deals with such a crisis that may have far-reaching consequences speaks volumes about its brand, culture, and values.

Let’s say you work for a toy manufacturing company that manufactures Halloween-themed children’s flashlights. One day, you come across an angry mother tweeting how the product has injured her eight-year-old daughter. Either this could be a one-off incident that you shouldn’t and needn’t lose your sleep or a PR disaster in the making!

How you react in such a situation can significantly impact your brand perception, not to mention the potential blowback from unhappy customers.

With a capable social listening tool, you can analyze millions of conversations and reviews across social platforms, review sites, and community forums. And find out if similar remarks have been made about the product. If that turns out to be the case, all you need to do is take the appropriate action before the crisis escalates. 

This kind of proactive intervention goes a long way in building customer loyalty and may well turn out to be a valuable lesson in crisis management.

BONUS: Predictive CSAT

Is your customer support pipeline choked?

Is your customer service response time going down? 

Are your agents getting a lot of negative feedback from customers?

If the answer to the above questions is "yes," please continue reading. 

Predictive CSAT, as the name suggests, is an AI-powered feature in Sprinklr that predicts the CSAT score, or how satisfied a customer is, even before filling out the CSAT survey. 

As soon as a ticket comes in, the agent would see the predictive CSAT score mentioned. AI arrives at a number by extrapolating data such as sentiment, intent, emotion, intensity, and time of reply after examining past agent-customer interactions. 

A unified customer service solution like Modern Care Lite helps you address customers' inquiries regardless of what channel or geographical region they're contacting you. It optimizes your post-sale service workflow by letting you track your CSAT score and agent performance periodically.

It can come in handy during peak seasons when the influx of customer complaints can take a toll even on the best of agents.

  • Generate 9+ custom and curated reports on your customers and agents for better insight

  • Raise timely alerts for tickets approaching SLA breach to help avoid PR crises

  • Improve your agents' performance with a real-time quantitative and qualitative breakdown of their performance.

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