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Gaining customer loyalty is always a key achievement for any business since revenue comes mostly from repeat business. In fact, maintaining relations with a loyal customer costs five times less than attracting new ones.

The information age plays favorably towards buyers since they can acquire product information easily from the Internet. This then makes comparing brands a lot easier for them, which ultimately results in reduced perceived differentiation. Goods from certain niches, such as electronic gadgets, would not differ much in quality, price, and features because they essentially serve the same purpose.

As it gets harder to differentiate in terms of price and quality, customer experience then becomes a big factor in consumers’ buying decisions.

The after-sales service is one of the most potent ways of maximizing customer experience, and ultimately for acquiring repeat buyers especially for durable goods manufacturers. In this particular industry, products are expected to last long and to perform well. After-sales services are essentially part of your “promise” that your company is reliable.

Here are four strategies to consider for your after-sales services:

1. Offer Free Shipping Services

 

Offering free shipping services does not only increase your online store’s sales volume, it also helps you become more visible in e-commerce sites. eBay, for example, has its algorithm programmed to prioritize sellers who include free shipping in their services in their search results.

Free shipping, however, comes with a price. Taking into consideration labor, transportation, and other miscellaneous costs could keep you from making the most out of the deal. You also have to think about the hassle of managing it.

Despite the cons, this is still good for your business since it offers convenience for the customer, which could lead to referrals and repeat buyers. If you’re short on funds and manpower, make it a win-win situation by only offering free shipping with a certain amount of minimum purchase on your key product.

2. Offer Warranties  

Consumers are generally sensitive when it comes to buying durable goods. They don’t want their hard-earned cash to be wasted on something that breaks in a few weeks’ time.

A warranty is essentially a guarantee or a promise, and offering it reduces the perceived risk from your customer and builds your reputation as a reliable brand. Stating a guarantee shows you’re confident that your products are of quality and in optimum shape.

In 2002, Toshiba implemented their electronic post-sale strategy wherein they would offer an extended warranty to their buyers according to their profile which the latter would fill up when they first log in to their newly purchased computers. This resulted in a 37% increase in sales and a 4% increase in price in its first month of implementation.

Keep in mind, however, that you should consider the context too to protect your interest. If a customer is the one responsible for the damages that a certain product sustained and he’s asking for a replacement, it’s only fair that you decline and offer an economic solution for his query like a repair service.

3. Provide an Online and Offline Channel for your Customer Service 

Having both online and offline channels for your clients to contact you and you them is a great way to boost after-sales services. Your customers are bound to have queries, and allowing them ease of access to solutions is always a delight for them, which helps you achieve better brand positioning since people generally love relaying their experiences to their peers via face-to-face communication, mobile, or social media.

To avoid your customer care representatives from getting overwhelmed with a barrage of phone calls and in-store visits, consider using tools like email, social media, and a website with an FAQ and a live chat function in answering queries.

4. Get their Feedback

 

People naturally like it when someone listens to them – it gets better when a brand with a human touch reaches out to them.

You can get their feedback by simply asking them to fill out a form during their purchase, which gives you the opportunity to contact them later either via email, mobile, or telephone. Also consider asking them to complete surveys in exchange for incentives like discount coupons. It’s a win-win situation since you got the information you want while making a sale, and your customer got their money’s worth for less.

As standing out from the playing field becomes harder, customer experience then becomes a big factor out as consumers now are more in control of their choices. A brand’s relationship with a customer doesn’t end after a sale; it’s the start of it. After-sales services then is the solution when the opportunity to build relations with your clients presents itself—the more you show them that you care for them as human beings rather than sources of income, the more you earn their loyalty.

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Posted by Lionel Luigi Lopez

Lionel Luigi Lopez is a business writer, entrepreneur and a musician. He is also an active blogger and marketing strategist. He runs a small business in Manila and still active in music. Follow him on twitter @lionelluigi

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