Providing strong support to your customers after their purchase is one of the most effective ways to build a good relationship. The power of positive relationships should never be underestimated, especially if you care about things like creating a loyal customer base and generating positive reviews and word-of-mouth advertising. I am close with many of my past clients, and that is owed to the fact that my business provides strong post-purchase support.
I think most businesses could benefit from a better system for providing support. Here are the questions I ask myself when trying to improve the process. If you answer “no” to any of these, you may want to consider reworking your support system for customers.
Is Support Introduced When You Made the Sale?
I don’t mean shoving a brochure in their hands. I mean making it a clear part of your presentation that help is available if they have any problems and clearly illustrating how they can receive that help.
It’s even better to introduce this information before the sale. I have seen customers make their final decision on the idea of how well they’ll be supported if they choose our company for their needs. If you worry that it would be difficult or boring to explain the support options, you may want to consider the next question.
Is It Easy for Customers to Understand?
Having great support is valuable for your business, but only if you can communicate that value in a way that the customer can easily understand. Things can get complicated when factors such as individually warrantied parts are thrown into the mix. Whatever you have to work with right now, you’ll be rewarded if you break it down and recreate it in a way that’s better advertised and less boilerplate.
Spend an evening with your support and warranty information and see if you can present it in a way that makes it easy for the customer to understand what they’re being offered and how to take advantage of it.
When Pursuing Support, Who Does the Customer Talk to First?
Customers want support. Who is likely the first person at your business they talk to? Anyone who has struggled with getting customer support knows that there are many companies that don’t have a great answer for this. Those answers may include: the website (deliberately difficult to reach a real person), a mechanical answering service, or — in what is, unfortunately, a best-case scenario — a call center.
It’s not an option for every company, obviously, but having support come directly from our working team has made a serious difference in the way our customers respond. When they call, they’re immediately talking to someone who understands their issue (and may have even been on the team that worked on their purchase in the first place) and is ready to provide a clear answer with a specific timeframe for resolution.
Are You Prepared/Stocked to Provide the Help They may Need?
Early on in our business, we experienced an issue with our customers that required us to ship for a specific replacement product. It didn’t take long to realize that the waiting period reflected badly on us, as customers boiled over having to wait for weeks to get a “simple” part replaced. We stopped using that part but we also took the opportunity to prepare for the future.
Having a sufficient stock of replacement parts on hand would have had these customers telling a very different story about their experiences. Instead of grumbling about how long they had to wait, they would tell a story about how their issue was fixed promptly after calling. We now keep a larger stock of replacement parts than we did previously, and it has resulted in many customers being able to tell the second story instead of the first.
A great relationship with customers pays dividends when it comes to building customers have great things to say and, even better, customers who come back.
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