If you have ever worked in real-world retail as opposed to eCommerce, you may have heard it said that just one negative customer experience is a sure way to lose ten customers! This is because shoppers make speedy choices every day about where to spend their hard earned cash, based on a combination of their own experience, information from friends and family, and a far more primal, instinctive sense of whether a business feels trustworthy, and fits with the way they see themselves as a consumer.
In today's world of online shopping, these gut-driven assessments of virtual businesses are more powerful and instantaneous than ever before. With everything available at a mere click of the mouse, competition is far greater, but so is potential reach. This, paired with the potential to create and build a dynamic brand identity leaves us with a huge opportunity. With this in mind, it is crucial for eCommerce business owners to make sure that all aspects of their offering are on point, including the all important after sales care. This is how we gain the trust of online shoppers, and build a reputation to be proud of.
Interestingly, the customer service ‘statistic’ I refer to above, has evidently carried through to the virtual marketplace. PrestaShop note on their own website that “an unhappy customer tells 10 people about his experience, while a happy customer only tells three”. If that is the case, then online retailers need to focus all the more on ensuring that unhappy customers are never created, and that those three people do indeed get to hear about the value of their service, through each happy customer that was handled in exactly the right way.
1. Never Underestimate The Importance Of After Sales Service
Great before and after sales service will speak volumes about your business and gain you loyal brand advocates. These are top of the line customers who will promote your brand without you even knowing it, most often using word of mouth which is one of the best routes towards increase sales. People trust the opinions of their friends and family far more than strangers and are much more like to use your services if recommended by people they know and trust.
2. Offer Other Services/Upgrades and Up-sells
Not all commerce stores sell products that can be followed up with opportunities to either sell upgrades or maintenance services, but exploring whether there are follow-up offerings that you could make available to your customers can be a great way to increase revenue, while building the authority of your brand. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to up-sell with related products, or provide additional services such as training or maintenance. This can also function as a great opportunity to get new products in front of customers who might not realise that you offer different types of service, or have rolled out a whole new range or product line, while making you the go-to source in your area of expertise.
3. Find Out How You Did!
Getting customer feedback after someone buys something from you is critical, as it gives you a great idea what you’re doing well and what you can improve on. You’ll always get customers who are never happy but don’t take negativity or criticism as a bad thing. Instead try to see it as an opportunity to identify and fill in the gaps in your business processes or offer additional services you’d never thought about before. Use review platforms and integrate them into your site to build your reputation as a trustworthy brand. In being asked how you did, customers will feel seen and appreciated, and will be far more likely to return in the future. It's also important to remember that when things go wrong, great after sale care can turn a bad situation right around. Asking for feedback can offer a chance to catch something amiss that you might not otherwise have heard about, and extend that customer interaction to a positive resolution.
4. A Personal Touch
Fostering a strong business-customer relationship with each of your customers is a fantastic way to add value to the shopping experience you provide. In a fast paced online world, those that take the time to go a little further when it comes to customer and client care linger in the minds of shoppers. For example, if a person has given you their birth date and permission to contact them, a personalised card or message sent on or just before their birthday is a great way to keep your business in their minds. Be careful not to try the hard sell here but use personal gestures as an opportunity to show customers that you genuinely care. They’re much more like to use your services in the future and become a brand advocate if they feel they’re valued and not just a number. By reaching out to customers on a personal level rather than simply bombarding them with advertising, you ensure that your presence in their social media feeds and inbox will feel much more rewarding too.
5. Loyalty programme
Everyone loves the sense that they're getting a great deal. Loyalty points and rewards for customers aren't a new idea, but they’re still effective tools for building a great relationship with your customers while increasing sales too. If you don’t already have a customer loyalty program in place, then it's definitely time to look at the pros and cons of setting one up. Customers are certainly more likely to buy from you again if there’s a monetary incentive, and the nature of the reward you provide is entirely up to you. It's certainly worth recognising that by the time shoppers are earning loyalty rewards they will have most likely evolved into established customers – each bringing with them the chance to reach a new trio of could-be customers who might be looking for exactly what you are offering the world!