Managing the Post Purchase Experience of Customers

“The majority of the brands who do focus on a post purchase experience do so with a single confirmation email. This lists the price, description of the product, and a delivery estimate,” – Shep Hyken

A brand or an entrepreneur can choose to create and implement policies that monitor the customer’s experience with a product or service at regular intervals after the purchase. We may state that this comprises a calibrated approach to assess the post purchase experience of various customers. The said policies can poll a set of customers on the various aspects of their experience, such as product or service quality, whether expectations were met or exceeded, the chances of a re-purchase or future subscription, etc. The information that emanates from such polls can be assessed and closely examined by the brand or business and can impart direction to future fields of commercial endeavour. Further, the said data or information can be viewed in light of earlier business plans in an attempt to note the convergence or divergence of business intent and consumer mind sets. In light of the above, we may note that examining and acting upon the post purchase experience of clients and customers enables brands and businesses to register a healthy uptick in conversions and perform better in the future.

After-sales service comprises an essential aspect of the post purchase experience for clients and customers. Therefore, every business must seek to address problems, concerns, and queries that issue from customers after a sale has been completed. For instance, a white goods retailer would be advised to create a focus group that comprises random customers. This exercise can be followed up with brief interviews with each customer in said focus group in an attempt to probe both positive and negative feedback. Questions, comments, and queries related to product quality can be directed to the product development group for required resolutions. The end-user experience in terms of the selling strategy can be noted and the results can be shared with the sales and marketing personnel. Further, an overall business assessment (that hinges on customer satisfaction) can be created by taking into account general comments and observations from constituents of said focus group. These notes help us to gain a deeper appreciation of plumbing the customer’s post purchase experience with a view to achieving certain business objectives.

Repeat customers are an essential component of every successful business enterprise. This category of buyers is prized by all brands and enterprises because it attests to the success of the business in growing its customer base and retaining customers. Therefore, businesses must exert special efforts to manage and curate the post purchase experience of this buyer segment. This can be achieved by using a number of commercial devices. Some of them could be a special thank you email or text message, an appreciative call out in social media handles, a small gift offered to the customer at the end of the transaction, preferential or privileged access to new products and services, soft copies of FAQ guides, advance notifications regarding new product demonstrations, free installation and maintenance services, etc. These devices may be wielded skilfully by brands and businesses in order to make repeat customers feel special, and as important stakeholders in a brand or business. The personal recommendations of such customers can help businesses to gain fresh clients and customers. These recommendations are priceless and justify the special treatment accorded to repeat customers in terms of defining their post purchase experience.

 

A less than perfect post purchase experience can trigger bad reviews, dampen customer enthusiasm, generate negative social proof, and defeat a range of business strategies and endeavours. For instance, an online e-commerce business that chooses a lackadaisical approach to customer service can be accused of setting bad precedents in creating the post purchase experience. The said operator may be interested in customers only until the point that they click the purchase button on its website or mobile app. This attitude points to a shortsighted business strategy because it ignores the customer experience that follows an actual online purchase decision. The problems may be manifest in indifferent shipping schedules, careless packaging, and handling, the lack of a printed invoice to accompany product delivery, rude delivery personnel, and a general lack of interest in retaining the customer. Consequently, customers may retaliate by abandoning shopping carts, migrating their dollars to competing businesses, generating waves of negative sentiment on social media platforms, vanishing customer loyalty, among other reactions. We may note that the said e-commerce business operator is facing the perfect storm of customer retaliation and has to deal with the consequences in terms of dipping sales figures and a dented business reputation.

Online businesses have a range of options to create an outstanding post purchase experience. For instance, a thoughtful business manager at a shopping portal might implement the idea of providing a level of psychological support to customers after the purchase decision be taken. This idea might manifest in the form of an email sent to the customer’s mailbox indicating certain details of the merchandise coupled with the original retail price and the discounted price being offered by the e-commerce operator. We must note that this strategy is significant because it can prevent the customer from experiencing buyer’s remorse and spotlights the discount (which may encourage the customer to shop with the merchant later). This approach of tending to the customer’s sentiment represents an important milestone in establishing a working relationship marked by courtesy and the use of the imagination.

The world of brick-and-mortar retail businesses can invest wisely in the creation and execution of a competitive post purchase experience for its customers. For instance, a food retail business can choose to create an outstanding post purchase experience by offering customers a taste of in-house savouries, pickles, preserves, and relishes. This strategy can be implemented when customers have finished shopping, paid for the wares, and are about to exit the business premises. The surprise taste of the said products can frame a pleasant shopping experience for most customers, in addition to igniting demand for said products. An interesting spread of the mentioned products can also create a marketing buzz that can develop into a buying frenzy on certain days. We must note that this approach to business development doubles as a market strategy to entice new customers to the premises, create a word of mouth publicity campaign from scratch, and boost the brand equity of the said business enterprise. This approach to creating a novel post, purchase experience in a perishable goods business must be applauded for its clarity of thought and deep insight into customer behaviour and motivations.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined some of the techniques that can be leveraged to create and manage interesting post purchase experiences. Businesses must note that both online and offline enterprises can use these techniques to boost customer satisfaction and to gain repeat customers. Concern for the customer and business alike animates the force that propels the creation and execution of post, purchase experience management. It must be noted that customers form the essential lifeblood of any business enterprise and therefore, fully deserve to be treated like royalty, before and after making purchase decisions. Brands and businesses that can adhere to these watchwords are positioned well to see their enterprises thrive beyond expectations.

 

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