Customer journey and customer satisfaction are hot topics these days. However, it often feels like the focus is on new customers, rather than existing ones.
In reality, optimising the post-sale journey and ensuring good customer satisfaction are just as important, if not more so, for long-term success.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of a typical post-sales journey and set out the steps you can take to increase customer satisfaction levels at every stage.
A typical post-sale journey
The exact nature of a post-sale or customer satisfaction journey varies depending on the type of product or service you are selling. Although each journey is different, most will look something like this:
- Purchase – The customer buys your product or service.
- Usage or experience – The customer uses your product or service.
- After-sale support – If needed, the customer uses or refers to your support resources, such as instruction manuals, support web pages, live chat, or telephone support.
- Feedback – The customer may leave a review or complete a survey, depending on what is available.
- Repeat purchase – Ideally, they will buy your product or enlist your services again, leading to higher levels of customer loyalty.
As you can probably tell, the key to a successful post-sale journey is ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction.
The ideal outcome is that your customers will be happy with their experience, from the purchase process, to using the product and accessing customer support, if needed. If you can offer a high level of satisfaction, you will be more likely to receive good feedback, secure repeat purchases, and build loyalty.
Next, let’s take a look at why their satisfaction is important and how to optimise it.
The importance of customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is one of the most important things you can do to remain competitive these days. Gartner research shows that 81% of marketing experts see customer satisfaction as the main area in which businesses can gain a competitive edge.
However, too many people still neglect satisfaction, or treat it as a secondary concern, which is a big mistake. PwC research shows that 59% of customers will no longer buy from a company if they have more than one bad experience and up to 17% will stop buying after just a single bad experience.
To put it in other words, if customer satisfaction is low, you are likely to get less repeat customers and experience negative publicity. On the other hand, if customer satisfaction levels are high, the business will get more brand loyalty and more referrals.
As you can see, the stakes are pretty high. Returning customers or clients are the lifeblood of most businesses and account for a large proportion of overall revenue.
Any extra investment that businesses can make to ensure a positive customer journey is likely to be quickly recovered in the extra revenue that will be generated.
6 tips to improve the customer satisfaction journey
1. Request and analyse their feedback
It is difficult to provide high levels of customer satisfaction without first listening to what they have to say. These days, it is easy to request and incentivise customer feedback. You can provide an online survey that rewards them with a discount code, or something similar. You can also collect feedback from other sources such as Google reviews, if available.
2. Improve your product or service
Businesses should constantly strive to improve the quality of their product or service, especially if they sell items or services in a competitive market. For example, a business that sells a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) product should listen carefully to customer feedback and suggestions for improvement, and upgrade their software to suit.
If you are not in a position to add new features quickly or provide upgrades, then you should still update your customers on any progress you have made, as good communication will help to maintain good satisfaction levels.
3. Plan follow-up communication and action
If a customer has contacted you for any reason, to request a new feature for example, and you can’t answer right away – don’t forget to follow up. Even if the follow-up call or message is just to let them know that you are processing their query, it is better than staying silent.
4. Provide multi-channel customer support
In today’s digital age there is no excuse for poor customer support. In fact, customers demand high levels of support and service. For this reason, customers value the ability to choose from multiple channels. At the very least, you should provide good email or telephone support, with additional channels such as live webchat, social media, and SMS support in place too.
5. Respond to complaints and bad reviews proactively
If you get a complaint or bad review, the worst thing you can do is ignore it and hope it goes away. If you do this, the customer will get more annoyed and the bad publicity could grow out of proportion. Take the initiative and sort out any issues as soon as possible. For example, you can update the customer on how things are progressing, offer a refund or replacement, or provide a free gift.
It is a good idea to track your reviews and reply to any bad ones by explaining how you are addressing the issue. Don’t try to make excuses or act defensively as this never looks good and will make others think twice about buying from you.
6. Use a powerful CRM to manage the post-sale journey
A good customer satisfaction software, such as Eficy, is ideal for managing post-sale customer support. You can set reminders to follow up with customers after a set timeframe and log any complaints or queries. A CRM stores all customer data and details in a single, centralised location making it easier for you to reach out and support your customers.
Find out how Efficy is the best option for your business!