Not having kick-ass after-sales service is a bit like going on a date with someone and then never calling them back again. Why call them back if you’ve got everything you wanted from them? We’ve all done this, or know someone who has – in the dating world and the business world – but that doesn’t make it desirable or right. If you choose this approach, you risk word spreading that you’re cold and heartless. While this might not have a major impact on your ability to score another date in future, your brand is at much greater risk if you treat your customers with the same nonchalance. This is why developing an incredible after-sales service is just as important as closing deals, as far as your marketing strategy is concerned.
Marketing happens both before and after a sale is made
What comes to mind when you think of marketing ideas for a small business? Maybe it’s a lavish ad campaign, radio ads or a carefully constructed social media campaign designed to amass ten thousand followers by next month? Many people starting a business might think of a marketing strategy as the combination of tactics used to get a product to a customer. While that’s a large part of it, an excellent marketing strategy needs to get a product to a customer and then turn those customers into happy and returning brand advocates. This cycle continues into perpetuity – hence, the need for an after-sales service. It’s a bit like the work and effort that goes into cultivating a long term relationship – it might seem like effort, but it’s totally worth it.
It’s far easier to sell to someone who’s already a happy customer
Having a solid after-sales service in place is important because it’s far easier to sell to people who already know your brand and products. And the only way you’re going to get people coming back for more is by showing an interest in your customers long after they’ve paid for their wares. Make sure you keep in contact with them to let them know about new products or to simply see how they’re getting along with the products they bought last month. While sending out a monthly newsletter is good, make sure your after-sales service includes a personal touch. Find out how your customers prefer to be contacted and then stick to that channel - they might prefer phone over email, or Twitter over Facebook.
Got a technical product? You need an after-sales service
If your business’ product is a complex or technical one, then your after-sales service won’t just be designed to make sure your customers are happy and keep coming back – it’ll be there to support any problems or confusion they might encounter while using the product. If it’s a service you sell, then your after-sales efforts will focus on ensuring your clients return to you, and not the business down the road.
It’s all about cultivating a squad of brand cheerleaders
Your customers aren’t just customers, they’re your potential brand advocates. Think of them as cheerleaders - they control whether a crowd cheers for you or boos you off stage. It’s not just your products that’ll sway them, either. Your after-sales service is all part of the same package. With tools like Facebook, Twitter and customer service review site Hello Peter, there really is no hiding from the bad and ugly things people say about your brand. That said, a couple of bad reviews isn’t the end of the world. It’s how you react to those bad reviews. Use it as a chance to redeem yourself and turn an unhappy client into a happy one.
While there may be many marketing ideas for small businesses, taking care to formulate a solid after-sales service is one of the most important – something Sage Online Tools puts into practice. We know that starting a business and managing a website can be complicated, which is why our digital marketing packages have been designed to take away the headache. Sign up for a 30 day free trial and see for yourself.