If you’re in the ecommerce game, you’ll know that there’s one overarching aim of your business: to increase your profit margins. The best way to achieve that is by selling more goods, right?
Yes and no.
Sales are clearly a great step forward, but if your customers aren’t happy with what you’re giving them, they won’t hesitate to turn away from you. They’ll tell their friends all about it too, creating a spiral of negative reviews and slowing your new customers down to a trickle. That’s why ecommerce after sales is so important.
The concept of after sales service is very simple. Think of it like a waiter who gives you your meal, but comes back five minutes later with a series of questions: “is everything OK with your food? Can I get you anything else?”
There’s a reason waiters all over the world perform this predictable ritual, and ecommerce businesses are quickly realizing they need to follow suit.
In this article, we’ll cover the advantages of ecommerce after sales service before diving into a range of useful strategies you can implement.
After sales support includes:
A contact center for queries
Follow-up emails for feedback
A free returns policy
Free replacement parts
Reasons that after sales service is important:
Adds to your customer satisfaction
Great reviews and social media visibility
Strengthens your brand
Nowadays, all the leading brands have an effective ecommerce after sales service. It’s a sink or swim situation: without good after care, you’re no longer a leading brand.
By taking care of your current customers, you soothe a pain point that affects everybody — trust. Imagine you are living paycheck to paycheck, the last thing you want is a product that breaks right after purchase. As a company, you can always fix the odd mistake here and there, but if you don’t make up for it immediately, you will lose that valuable trust and the revenue that comes with it.
Now, in the world of social media, there really is nowhere to hide. All of your actions are under the microscope. So if you disappoint your customers on a regular basis, your online reputation will take a huge hit that is incredibly difficult to rebuild.
Of course, with good ecommerce after sales service, you can leverage even problematic situations to your advantage. With the right tools and processes in place, you’ll start building a great reputation both online and offline.
First things first: be sure to solve any issues quickly and efficiently. There are a whole host of things that can go wrong in the world of ecommerce, from items being broken in the post to faulty electronics or even customers receiving the wrong item.
To protect your reputation, your ecommerce after sales service has to include an accessible contact center where you can right a wrong before you find yourself going viral.
Make sure your contact center is easy to find on your website, and you can even include a friendly message in your packaging that will help build your reputation even if the product has arrived safe and sound.
Don’t fall into the trap of skimping on your service. Keep a range of communication channels open, because if it isn’t intuitive, a bad situation will quickly be made worse.
What’s better than a sale? Two sales!
In fact, it’s more than twice as good.
With repeat sales, you save yourself all that marketing investment and time needed to nudge fresh leads towards a deal. Instead, you can get a great return on investment by setting the stage for a client to return to your shop.
With a strong ecommerce after sales service, you can easily encourage more business. While there are all kinds of strategies you can put in place to boost your repeat sales, all of them are loosely connected by providing an experience that is so positive, it makes customers want to come back.
From great quality items to pre-sale offers of new products, we’ll now take a look at how your post-sale service can lead to repeat business.
One of the easiest ways to turn ecommerce after sales into another purchase is through a follow up feedback email. Send your customer a quick quiz to measure their satisfaction with your product. This is the perfect time to include a reminder that you’re still in business and not going anywhere.
Many products are geared towards a subscription service, and if your customer hadn’t originally chosen this option, now might be the right time to nudge them in the right direction. If not, they might need a recharge of what they’ve already got. If what they bought is a one-time purchase, think about what other products they might like. And don’t feel bad about automating these emails. As long as they’re personalized, they’ll do the trick.
Apart from the primary objective of suggesting a repeat purchase, you get some valuable post-purchase insights from your customers. What’s more, simply by asking the questions, you’re already showing that you care about what they think — a fantastic ecommerce after sales service technique.
Online reviews are everything for an ecommerce business. You’ve probably been there yourself as a customer — in a rush to find the right product, so you sort by average user rating and pick the top item.
If you neglect your ecommerce after sales service, you’ll quickly find your comments sections piling up with poor reviews. As you receive less clicks and the search engines push you down the rankings, you’ll soon find your problems compounding.
Therefore, you have to stay on your toes to nip any complaints in the bud and try your best to turn negative experiences into positive ones.
Just like the repeated sales techniques, there’s no shame whatsoever in simply asking your clients for feedback. Every internet user will know the kind of email you can expect: “We hope you enjoyed our product. It would really help us out if you could leave a review on our website or Google reviews”. Of course, it’s best to spice it up first with a bit of your brand lingo and design and make sure you’re using their first name from the relevant CRM field.
Similarly, think about how many times you’ve read a review that focused on the customer service offered. The vast majority of people accept that hiccups happen, but by addressing an issue, apologizing for it, and making it right, you can build up good reviews even when things don’t go to plan.
As much as it might eat into your budget, you have to set aside some resources to allow for returns. We live in a competitive world, and once your rivals start offering something, you need to come back with something even better to keep your edge.
As part of their after sales service, modern ecommerce clothing companies simply have to offer a free returns option. This isn’t necessarily a sign of fast fashion getting out of control. When it comes to shoes and clothing, your customers can’t be sure they’re getting the right sizes or the right look.
Many modern companies even include return forms and postage labels within the packaging of their products. With a clear set of instructions, your customers can simply fill in the form, repackage their item in the same box, attach the label and drop it off at a designated postal service.
Your returns policy should be clear and fair. Sneaky wording in the small print will only lead to customer dissatisfaction and a stained reputation. On the other hand, a simple, accessible returns system as part of your ecommerce after sales service will help you garner that valuable trust with your customers.
As much as it is convenient for your customers and a great selling point for your company, you can’t afford to have everything you sell returned within a week.
Try to minimize the need for people to return items in the first place. You can do this by adding in extra useful detail to your product descriptions, such as clothes sizes in centimeters, rather than small, medium, and large.
In these descriptions, don’t oversell your products. If your customers feel they haven’t got what was promised, they’ll be much more likely to return an item and leave a negative review. Therefore, objectivity is key. Stick to the facts in your text and let your images do the fancy talking.
Although the actions taken to reduce product returns happen before the sale itself, you can still indirectly improve your post-sale service by setting realistic expectations at the outset.
Just as the world keeps spinning, accidents will happen and products will break. So as part of your ecommerce after sales service, it’s in your interest to react fast when they do. A lot of top companies have made their name on having a super-efficient repair service, especially for electronic devices.
Start with a warranty. If a customer thinks they’ll have to pay top dollar only to find it’s free, that’s news worth spreading. But even if a repair costs a small fee, the knowledge that systems are in place to help them really softens the blow.
Just like your product returns, you can include all the information within the initial packaging. However, after a couple of years of use, it’s unlikely your customers will have held onto that shipping ticket. In that case, make everything easily available and printable from your website so there is no delay in the process. Finally, send back the repaired product in the post and a feedback form via email.
There are all kinds of products with small, inexpensive parts that can easily be replaced, but only if your customer service allows it.
Some examples here: screws for large pieces of furniture and tent pegs and poles. These are essential to the functioning of the overall product, but to have to splash the cash just because one small part is broken is incredibly off-putting to customers.
Sure, you don’t need to make free spare parts a major selling point. However, you should include an FAQ section on your website because that’s the first place your customers will look. Similarly, if anybody gets in touch requesting spare parts, your customer service team should be quick to respond.
Showing that you care enough to allow your customers to repair your goods is a sure-fire way of generating customer loyalty.
In times gone by, when there was a great chasm between companies and their customers, it was relatively easy to concentrate on sales and forget the rest. Expectations were low and there were no social media warriors holding businesses to account.
But in the past few years, everything has changed. Customer service is the front line of the battle between online businesses and if you don’t have an ecommerce after sales service, you’re quickly going to slide into irrelevancy.
As with anything customer-related, your first port of call should be your customer relationship management system. A powerful CRM like Bitrix24 allows you to keep records of every interaction you have with your clients, and track your performance over time.
However, Bitrix24 goes even further than that by providing all the communication tools you’ll need for your contact center. From telephones and instant messenger to integrated chatbots and social media management, you can meet your customers where they are and provide the most personalized experience possible.
So, if you want to be in the best position to turn your after sales service into an active advantage for your organization, sign up for Bitrix24 and get started today.