After the Sale: How the Customer Experience Still Matters

13 July 2015

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Top-performing sales professionals understand that securing a sale isn’t the end goal. These professionals have a longer view of the customer experience and know that a sale is but a step in a much longer journey. For newer sales reps, or those in high-churn industries, it is easy to think of landing the sale as the termination point. This is understandable, as many sales reps’ commissions are based on how many sales have been completed, so the incentive is to work hard to close sales and move on to the next potential sale. Those who have worked in sales for a few years know that focusing on just the sale is like being trapped in a hamster wheel. There is a lot of motion, but not a lot of movement. What separates sales professionals from sales reps is the focus on the entire customer experience and providing support to the customer long after a sale has been made.

After-Sales Service

Providing after-sales service is more than exchanging pleasantries or sending a thank you note. There is a lot of valuable information that can be gleaned when a sales professional continues to invest in the customer relationship beyond the sale. How is the product or service working for the customer? What are the stumbling blocks? What are the surprises? Has the product or service met the expectations of the customer? For some sales reps, they may not want to know the answers to these questions because additional time and energy may be required. Sales professionals, on the other hand, understand that providing support after the sale is what yields long-term benefits. Why? Because customers are more likely to remain loyal over the long run if they have support throughout their customer journey. Also, they are much more likely to share their positive experiences with others and drive more sales to your product or service.

Customer Experiences Go Beyond the Close of a Sale

Once a sale has been secured, the customer begins a new relationship with your service or product. Sales professionals are keenly aware of this new phase of the customer journey and ensure that they, or another representative, are available to provide the support needed to ensure success. By checking in with the customer periodically, the sales professional is better able to suggest upgrades or get the customer to commit to service agreements. Servicing the customer after the sale isn’t just good for the customer, it’s also good for business. According to Harvard Business School, a 5 percent customer-retention rate can increase profits by up to 25 percent, and sometimes as high as 95 percent! Some easy ways to connect with your customers after the sale include:

  • Surveys. Follow-up surveys or questionnaires can provide a lot of useful information for sales teams. Be mindful of the customer’s time by ensuring your post-sales surveys are concise, short, and ask the right kinds of questions that allow for better service down the road.
  • Periodic check-ins. Depending on the type of product or service you’re selling, having specific times when you check in with customers makes it easier than just randomly trying to remember. Setting a calendar that automatically generates reminders at certain intervals makes keeping track of post-sale communication simpler.
  • New-product service alerts. If your company has released an upgrade or a new product that might be of interest for your customer, let them know.
  • Anniversaries and birthdays. Take note of special occasions and send a note.

Sales professionals realize that making a sale is the first step toward increasing sales, not the final step. Top-performing sales professionals provide after-sales service and focus on building long-term relationships with their customers. When customers can trust that a salesperson has their best interests at heart, they are more willing to remain loyal over the long run. Understanding the customer’s journey and providing care and support long after the sale has been made are what separate top-performing sales professionals from all the rest.

 

About the Author

Jodi Beuder, Customer Experience Advocate at MHI Global, believes customer service exists not just outside the company, but inside, too.. To me, customer success starts before any conversation and ends long after. It begins with positive branding and messaging, in order to get the customer to the door. Customer engagement is motivating and educational, and transactions are easy and user-friendly. Customer success ends with the customer returning to that experience again.? With over 20 years in Marketing Executive roles, Jodi has dedicated her career to assisting companies grow their brand presence and sales, and most importantly, their customer retention and satisfaction.


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