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

Issac Thomas

July 15, 202213 min read

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

If you answered “yes,” you’re not alone. Many brands report the same challenge. If overlooked, poor service can lead to dissatisfied customers and, eventually, customer churn. 

Studies show that 34% of consumers drop a brand after just one bad experience. 

You can’t afford to lose your customers to poor service in today’s economic climate. Therefore, your brand needs to provide excellent service throughout the customer journey. 

That’s why after-sales service matters.

What is after sales service?

A lot of work goes into acquiring a customer. Why let it go in vain because of not following up with the customer post their purchase? For customers to return to your brand, building long-lasting relationships is key. And here are a few ways to accomplish it:

  • Send customers a thank you note and invite them to your store launches and brand events. 

  • Provide them with the information on how to make the most of their purchase.

  • Ask for their feedback.

  • Engage with them regularly. For instance, wish them on birthdays, enroll them in reward programs, etc.

  • Keep them posted on the latest offers and discounts.

After-sales service is essentially any customer support initiative you undertake after a customer has completed a purchase.     

Why is after sales service important?

25X

Did you know more than 90% of customers might leave a business if they’re unhappy with your customer service?

Visualize a leaky bucket. Because it's compromised, you can put all the water in the world, and it will keep oozing from the holes. After-sales service is like fixing that leaky bucket so your customers never even think of abandoning your brand.

Excellent after-sales service increases the probability of customers buying from you again, thus becoming repeat customers in the long term. Like how marketing can be credited with bringing in new customers, quality after-sales service ensures higher lifetime value (LTV) of your existing customers.

Benefits of great after-sales service

Word-of-mouth referrals

Happy customers are valuable assets because they almost always refer your brand to 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 organic search and social media. Not just that, satisfied customers have a 16% higher lifetime value.

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

Positive brand image

Nine out of 10 customers read reviews before making a purchase, and negative customer reviews hurt even the most well-known brands.

Recent studies have shown that excellent post-purchase experiences attract positive reviews, enhancing the overall brand image slowly but surely. Being seen as a trustworthy and helpful brand is essential to improve customer stickiness.

Customer loyalty

A great product with poor customer support is a tragedy. However, when backed by excellent customer service, both pre- and post-sale, an average product does exceedingly well. 

Thus, engage with your customers regularly, equip them with helpful resources, and ensure your offering makes their life easier. It will enhance customer satisfaction and retention.

Increase in revenue

Humans are creatures of habit. 

Returning customers spend more than new customers. If you treat your customers well and become part of their life, they will keep returning to your brand.

In addition, most happy customers become brand loyalists who also bring in new customers — driving sales and revenue.

5 types of customer services provided after a sale with examples

Here are five types of after-sales services that can immensely improve your brand perception.

Usage-related assistance: providing customers guidance on using the product or service to get the most bang for their buck. From remote product configuration to troubleshooting tips to knowledge base articles, valuable assistance enables customers to use your offering more effectively.

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

The app makes it easier for Lenovo users to manage device settings, run diagnostics, update drivers, and enhance their PCs. It enables them to detect and troubleshoot issues on their own and reach out to the Lenovo support team in case they need further assistance.

Education: educating customers via live demo sessions or pre-recorded explainer videos.

Ikea is a best-selling furniture brand whose 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, allowing their customers to assemble the parts easily.

Assurance: letting the customer know that if the purchased product is defective or isn’t working properly, it can be returned or exchanged. Warranty, guarantee, upgrades, returns, and replacement policies are examples of assurance.

Apple covers the cost of manufacturing defects for up to a year from the date of purchase via 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 complimentary technical support is also provided after purchase. Apple customers can even extend the warranty period of their products by purchasing AppleCare coverage.

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

A lot of e-commerce companies provide online support for product-related queries. Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform, is known for its impeccable customer service. They’ve identified the channels their customers prefer and implemented their support services across those channels. For instance, Shopify has a dedicated Twitter account to resolve customer queries.

Shopify has a Twitter account dedicated to resolving customer queries.

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

Rewards: delighting 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. Every time a customer checks out at Barnes & Noble, they are asked whether they are a member of the loyalty program. If they are, they get a 10% discount — no questions asked. If a customer isn't, the checkout staff explains the program’s benefits and asks them if they'd like to enroll.

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 similar initiatives by publishers and bookstores have driven engagement and sales despite stiff competition from Amazon.

Brands must be available to their customers when and where they need them. But the problem is that customer service is broken. Due to numerous customer service channels and ever-evolving customer preferences, keeping track of customer needs is challenging. 

Access to the right technology can help track and cater to rapidly changing buying behavior. 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, which uses AI and automation to manage customers across different channels, comes in handy. 

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

Deliver an excellent after-sales service with a Unified-CXM platform

Here are five ways a Unified-CXM platform can help you 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 — allows your agents to view all past interactions with a customer in a single dashboard. Your agent can then offer the necessary recourse to the 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, especially millennials and Gen Z, tend to engage with retailers on multiple channels, including live chat, email, text, and social media. And most of them expect a smooth experience when hopping between these channels. 

Most cloud-based helpdesks 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 reaches the customer. 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 the customer’s concerns are 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.

However, with omnichannel capabilities, your agents can provide customers with the support they need on all communication channels. It also ensures your customers don’t have to repeat the same information whenever 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 less than one-third of businesses offer their customers self-service resources such as knowledge base (KB), online forums, or chatbots?

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

Additionally, support managers can deploy an AI chatbot on the 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 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 volumes. Most brands hire part-time agents or outsource customer support to offset against the spike in support volume. Though this approach yields good results, it can also backfire. 

As temporary or outsourced agents may not be familiar with protocols, they might require extensive training to get up to speed, which can take at least a couple of weeks. A peak season usually spans only 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.

This benefits the customer and makes them more receptive to completing a post-sale survey. 

What’s the big deal about post-sale feedback? Continue reading to find out.

Harness the voice of your customer 

Customer feedback can yield valuable insights that 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 and reduce retention costs. 

But did you know a well-implemented voice of customer (VoC) program can 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.

Customer service becomes cost-effective because your team can better understand customer pain points and tweak support workflows accordingly. 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 the brand, culture, and values.

Let’s say you work for a toy manufacturing company that manufactures Halloween-themed flashlights for kids. One day, you come across an angry mother's tweet about how the product has injured her eight-year-old daughter. This could be either a one-off incident that you shouldn’t lose your sleep over 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, without 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 reply time after examining past agent-customer interactions. 

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

It can be particularly useful 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 insights.

  • Raise timely alerts for tickets approaching service-level agreement (SLA) breaches to avoid PR crises.

  • Improve agent productivity with a real-time quantitative and qualitative review of their performance.

Start your free trial of Modern Care Lite

Find out how Sprinklr helps businesses deliver a premium experience on 13+ channels, using foundational AI so you can listen, route, resolve, and measure — across the customer experience.

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