The Sale’s Just the Start: How to Create Brand Loyalists With Superior Customer Care
So you just bought a new laptop, and right out of the box, you’re having issues. It’s running slow. No power cord came in the box, and the battery is low. On top of that, the space bar, backspace, and letters G and S are missing from the keyboard. You’ve got quite the problem product on your hands.
Your next step is to call the company and tell them what’s going on. So you dial the number and an exasperated voice answers.
“Willie’s Computer Barn. Willie speaking. How can I help you?”
“Hello. I just bought a computer from your store and there are a couple of issues.”
“You just bought it?”
“Yes. Earlier today.”
“Oh. Well, if you’ve already bought it, there’s nothing we can do.”
“What? But I bought it from your store.”
“We appreciate your business. But the sale was final.”
“But it’s running really slow. And there’s no space bar. Or power cord.”
“Well, sorry. Can’t do much about that. Have a good one.”
Have you ever encountered terrible customer service like that? There’s a good chance you have. Too many companies work hard to sell their product to first-time buyers but ignore customers once they’ve completed their purchase. When businesses take this approach, they miss out on future sales.
To avoid that fate, you need to provide stellar customer care after each purchase. Here are three ways to do that.
1. Follow Up Post-Sale
Building a loyal customer base begins with ensuring satisfaction. Some people think follow-up calls and emails are only for SaaS businesses or other companies selling expensive products and services. Not so. Following up with customers after their purchase makes them feel valued. It doesn’t matter whether they bought a laptop or a T-shirt. Knowing they’re seen as a person and not just a transaction matters.
A company’s follow-up goes a step beyond when it involves valuable takeaways. You could start by sending educational content that is beneficial to your customers. Partner with a vendor that offers technical writing services to develop helpful user guides for your product. This type of content builds trust with customers.
Even if buyers tell you they’re 100% satisfied with their purchase, continue nurturing your relationship with them. You can provide them with tips on how to use a product or service that they may be unaware of. Check in with them quarterly to offer assistance as needed. For a personal touch, you can call your customers and wish them a happy birthday. Remember: Treat them as people, not transactions.
2. Extinguish Fires Promptly
Regardless of how awesome your product is or how incredible your services are, there will always be an unhappy customer. You can’t please everyone. So for those buyers who aren’t satisfied, do what you can to help them with whatever their issue might be.
First, be willing to listen. It can be tempting to write off a complaint that seems frivolous. But doing so can cost you not just one customer, but other potential customers who hear about their negative experience. Listen intently to what the customer has to say. If their complaint shows up on a website or social media, don’t ignore it.
Next, apologize. A genuine “I’m sorry. How can we help?” makes a world of difference. Apologizing lets the customer know they’ve been heard. Do this in private if possible or in public if necessary. When a customer complains in an online review or on social media, respond publicly so others know you’re addressing the complaint.
Finally, remedy the situation. Of course, the appropriate solution will depend on the problem. Whether it’s a refund, a replacement, or something else, work to make sure the customer is satisfied. The solution doesn’t mean letting the customer take advantage of you. It’s about making the customer know that, as a company, you value their business.
3. Earn New Business From Old Customers
Great brands have a devoted following. That’s because they’ve cultivated trust with their customers. An effective way to do this is by developing a loyalty program for customers that rewards them for their business. The best customer loyalty programs boost revenue with repeat purchases and word-of-mouth advertising.
These programs are carried out well by retailers who offer discounts and other offers to regular buyers. However, customer loyalty initiatives don’t have to be defined by discounted purchases. You can give program members access to exclusive events or make charitable donations on their behalf. You can let them shop sales early or send them a birthday present. Whatever perks it offers, your loyalty program should present customers with reasons to consider buying again from your brand.
Follow-up can be another key component of these programs. Regularly communicate product launches and other benefits to customers. Provide value-added content that doesn’t always ask for a sale, but instead informs and educates consumers. Make customers feel valued beyond the purchase of your product or service.
Companies that exceed customer expectations earn loyalty. Brands that treat buyers as humans and not just revenue sources earn trust. Putting a solid strategy in place for customer satisfaction can make a huge difference not just in your sales but in long-term growth. Audit your current customer satisfaction score (CSAT) and brainstorm ways to improve it. Superior customer care can make you stand out above your competition.