What is the prime objective of a business? Customer satisfaction and profits. These two objectives move parallel and are equally important. How can you satisfy your customer? Of course, you need to make a product that meets or even surpasses their expectations. But, is that it?
No, making a great product is one thing. But, helping your customers in any possible way after selling the product is equally important. A business must make sure that the customer’s queries and ambiguities are properly answered even after selling the product. In short, a business must consider after-sales services as important as selling its product.
So, what is after-sales service? Why are they important? What are its types, and how can a business improve its after-sales service? This article has the answer to every question mentioned above.
What is After-Sales Service?
After-sales support or after-sales service means to support or services a business provides to its customers after they buy a product from the business. After-sales service is a modern and very effective tool to satisfy and retain a customer.
The next thing that may pop up in your mind is who provides the customer support or after-sales service? A product goes through different hands until it reaches the end consumer. Therefore, a manufacturer, retailer, or even a third party may provide the after-sales service.
After-sales service is almost a mandatory section in the overall marketing strategy of any business. Top-quality customer support can increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. However, according to the definition, after-sales service is a “parcel” that comes when the customer buys an offering from the business.
Importance of After-sales Service
Why is after-sales service so important that businesses are including it in their overall marketing strategy? Well, here is why:
- For starters, a good quality after-sales service is a mandatory part of the “customer satisfaction” motto.
- It defiantly improves the brand image of a business and increases brand loyalty.
- After-sales service boosts the relation of trust between the seller and the buyer. Of course, trust wins long term clients.
- Good after-sales service can promote “word of mouth” marketing. A happy customer itself is a walking-marketer of the company. Positive feedback on social media platforms will definitely attract more customers.
- After-sales service, if handled effectively, can work as a secondary income generator. A company good with after-sales service can convince its customers to buy other products from the same company.
Types of After-Sale Services
All the products in the market come with some sort of manual with them. These manuals contain basic information for using the product for the first time. It is very easy to use some devices for the first time. Some devices demand expert advice.
Providing pre-installation services for items such as a copier machine or an air conditioner will greatly facilitate the customer. Some companies do it for free, while some charge a bit for it.
Most of the household items are easy to use. They demand no training or expertise. Proper training is mandatory before the usage of industrial machinery.
The medical equipment provided to the doctors demands technical expertise. This is essential that the user is having complete information about the usage of a machine. Most of the time, the companies arranging these machines provide the initial training.
This is one of the most common types of after-sale service. This is provided by almost all multinational companies for all their products. The duration and warranty of specific items may vary.
Some companies allow their customers to replace their products if found faulty. The companies encourage the repair of the dysfunctional part. Companies also offer variable warranty policies to their customers.
This is the latest type of after-sale service. It is mostly provided by e-commerce companies. But this is not a hard-core principle. Almost all multinational companies have dedicated a helpline for their customers.
The company helplines can be accessed conveniently round the clock. The company representative listens to the query of the customer and provides proper guidance for convenience.
Companies provide free replacement or even return of their product. This service comes with proper terms and conditions are associated with it. After the sale of the product, this service lasts only a few months.
Replacement can be either of the entire product or one part only. The return of the product is facilitated with a refund or another product from the same company. However, every company has a different policy.
Functions and Advantages
Some companies provide additional advantages and features. The lifetime guarantee of the product is mostly provided in this context. Companies provide free access to their cloud storage systems.
This service includes the lifetime warranty offered on any dysfunctional part of a machine. Some companies provide free counseling and guidance to their customers.
This post-sale service is often provided by electronic or software companies. The upgrades provided by the software companies for a limited time is a classic example.
The over-the-time update provided to the iOS users encourages them to buy apple products. These upgrades are necessary for the functioning of the device. The companies deploy this strategy for a limited usage of their products.
The customer may use his device over time, but it might not function as effectively as ever.
After-Sales Service Examples
Now that we have discussed the types of after-sales service let’s have a look at few prime examples of after-sales service. These companies are acing this section with uniqueness.
After-Sales Support- Lenovo Vantage
Lenovo is a famous name in the electronics industry, especially the laptops and computers. Although Lenovo’s offer fine quality products, their after-sales service is quite unique. Lenovo’s laptops or computers have a preinstalled app (Lenovo Vantage) for after-sales service.
This app helps the customer run diagnostics, update drivers, discover new apps, and contact customer support. Customers find it easier to diagnose any problem in their systems and can easily contact customer support if needed.
Product Warranty- SmartPhone Companies
Smartphone companies can be taken as a good example of after-sales service in terms of the warranty. Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and many other famous brands offer a one-to-two-year warranty on their Smartphones. Different brands offer warranties in different terms, such as software, mobile battery, and hardware. Of course, terms and conditions apply to the warranties given.
User Training – GetResponse Courses
It is an online platform offering solutions related to webinar hosting, email marketing, landing pages, and similar services. The company not only provides high-quality services, but it also offers free specialized courses to its customers as a part of their after-sales service. These courses help the customers to understand the complexities of online marketing and how they can do it effectively.
Return & Replacement – Amazon
World’s biggest retailer, Amazon, has not only conquered the global markets with its high quality, cost-friendly products, but it offers impeccable after-sales service as well. The company offers free return and replacement options to its customers. This way, customers can replace or return a product if it is not according to their expectations. No wonder Amazon is bossing the eCommerce industry.
Upgrades – Apple iOS
Apple Inc. provides software upgrades as a part of the after-sales service. An Apple user can get those upgrades for four to five years. After that, the device will still be functional, but it will not be eligible for upgrades.
Free Installation- Air Conditioner Retailers
Companies dealing in air conditioners are a good example of free installation services. That’s not it; there are a lot of companies that offer free maintenance and inspection services as well.
Online Customer Support- Telecommunication Companies
Telecommunication companies are a fine example of 24/7 online customer support. In fact, these companies have dedicated helplines where customers can call anytime for their queries or issues, and that too free of cost. Moreover, these companies provide free customer support online through dedicated online customer service agents or chatbots.
Tips for Effective After-Sales Service
Good after-sales service not only ensure the customer-retention but also attracts new customers. Customer retention is important for businesses from different aspects. Most importantly, the cost of customer retention is five to six times lesser than winning a new customer. So, here are few effective and proven after-sales service tips that can make things easier for you.
Seek Customer Feedback
Of course, you made a product with an intention to satisfy your customer’s need. But the question is, did you really manage to do that? The answer to this question is “regular feedback” from the customer.
Feedback from customers allows the entrepreneurs to find flaws in their products. Moreover, it helps them in improving the product quality with the help of suggestions from the customer. Last but not least, asking for recommendations from customers boost their confidence and brand loyalty.
Give Discounts to Your Customers
Well, who doesn’t love discounts? Discounts and promotions are a great way to keep your customers interested in your offerings. You can offer them promotional discounts or even customized discounts. If a customer spends heavily on your products, giving him/her special discounts will make him/her feel more privileged.
Remember Your Customers on Special Occasions
We love it when somebody remembers us on our special occasions. Similarly, customers love it when you remember them on their birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc. You can send them wishes through messages, gift cards, etc., or you can also offer special discounts on your products.
Send Them Helping Content
The basic purpose of a product is to solve the problems of your customers. Well, of course, you can do that by selling your product. But, you can be more empathetic by educating them about their problems.
People don’t like it when you just “tease” them with your product rather than talking about their problems and then offering solutions. Therefore, 80 percent of your content should be focused on the customer’s problem and the possible solution.
Reward Them with “Commission”
A happy customer brings new customers through word-of-mouth marketing. But, what if you can reward them in monetary terms for bringing new customers? You can give them a commission for every customer they bring to you. A win-win situation, isn’t it?