Too many small business owners think their job is done once they’ve closed the sale. But ending your marketing there is a huge mistake. It’s really important to nurture these customers and offer after sales services.
Not only will this increase customer satisfaction, but it can also lead to repeat business, customer retention and referrals. Here are a few of my favourite ways to take care of your customers after the sale.
Keep in touch
One of the most important after sales services is also one of the simplest: keep in touch with your customers. This will show customers that you value them, and will also give you the opportunity to gather feedback.
The way you keep in contact will vary depending on your small business, what you’re selling and who your customers are. If you sell products online, drop the customer an email a week after their purchase to ensure they’ve received their order and are happy with it. If you’re a service-based business and have helped a customer to organise an event, give them a call after the event to check how it went.
But staying in touch with your customers doesn’t end with a quick follow-up after their purchase. Add them to your mailing list (only if you have permission, of course) to send them regular updates as well as helpful tips and advice. Anticipate when they might need your products or services again (or an upgrade), and get in touch to remind them of the benefits of buying from you.
And don’t forget to send out Christmas cards or a special birthday discount. Keeping in touch doesn’t have to be salesy – just remind your customers that they’re valued!
Find out about more ways to keep in touch with your existing customers.
Another key aspect of after sales services is to offer support. Again, the type of support you offer will depend very much on your business. Have a think about the ways customers might need your help after they have purchased from you.
You could offer a free downloadable guide to help customers get their product up and running. Or you could provide a customer support phone number so you can help solve any problems. You could even provide a one-to-one service with an account manager who is on hand to troubleshoot any problems with that particular customer.
You may want to include a money-back guarantee – if the customer isn’t satisfied or the product breaks within X amount of time, you’ll refund them or replace the product. This will show customers that you’re a trusted business with their best interests in mind.
Other after sales services that are worth including in your marketing plan are exclusive customer offers and discounts. If you want to encourage repeat business, offers like these are vital to keep customers coming back time and time again.
Make sure existing customers feel special, so they have a reason to shop with you again rather than going elsewhere. Some examples you could try include:
- 10% welcome discount after they place their first order
- exclusive pre-orders of a new product, two weeks before it’s launched to the public
- a £10 gift card on their birthday every year
- first chance to book a new service, with a 20% discount
- a code for free next-day delivery
Find out more about valuable alternatives to discounting for small businesses.
Tying into the exclusive offers, rewarding loyalty is another way to show customers you value them as part of your after sales services. In addition to the exclusive customer offers, there are two main ways to do this: loyalty schemes and referral schemes.
Loyalty schemes usually work by rewarding customers with points every time they shop with you. For example, for every coffee they buy, they will receive a stamp on their loyalty card, and the tenth coffee is free. Or for every £10 they spend, they’ll receive 1 point. Once they reach 10 points, they’ll receive a voucher for £10 off their next shop.
This encourages customers to shop with you again and again, in order to receive the rewards. This benefits them as they can enjoy a free gift or money off. And it benefits you as you can turn one sale into ten.
Referral schemes are slightly different, as they encourage customers to recommend you to their friends, therefore bringing you new customers. You could offer each customer a unique referral code, then when someone else makes a purchase with their code, both parties will receive a £20 voucher.
Not only has this attracted a new customer to your small businesses, but the original customer has a £20 voucher to spend – so they’re likely to make another purchase. It’s a win-win situation!
Make it easy
Above all, your after sales services should make it as easy as possible for customers to get what they need from your small business. Make the whole sales process (including the after sales support and offers) as simple, smooth and easy as you can.
For example, you may want to set up customer accounts on your website so users can easily track their orders, see how many loyalty points they have and quickly place a repeat order. If you’re a service-based businesses, you could include a booking calendar on your website so customers can see when you’re available to re-book, rather than having to phone up and enquire about possible dates.
When you send out follow-up emails, be sure to include links where customers can leave reviews/testimonials, provide feedback, get in touch with you, redeem their welcome offer, or place a new order. Make sure all the information they need is clear and easy to access.
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