Customer Service Week 2016: The Importance of Post Purchase Follow-Up

3 minute read

October 5, 2016

Customer Service Week 2016: The Importance of Post Purchase Follow-Up

Following-up is an integral part of the sales process, however you’ll often see it left out of the typical sales funnel. In today’s increasingly e-commerce world, it’s now vital. Consider these statistics:

  • This past holiday season, online sales surpassed offline sales for the first time in history.
  • Smartphones account for roughly 44% of all online traffic and nearly 20% of all online sales
  • 79% of consumers feel it’s important to have a positive view of a brand post-sale

What’s perhaps more important than those stats is that for a large portion of those customers, their first point of interaction with the brand is after the purchase. When you think about the nature of online sales, and specifically mobile, consumers search for, research, purchase, and receive products without needing to interact with the company in any direct way.

This leaves the post-purchase follow-up as the first time the brand will engage with the customer directly and it’s a perfect opportunity to increase satisfaction as well as improve your retention rate.

Your existing customer is more valuable than a new one

Speaking of retention, it costs a company 6-7 times more to create a new customer than to retain an existing one. Not only that, the probability of selling a product to an existing customer is around 60-70% compared to less than 20% with a new one.

This is where the post-sale follow-up is important, as it’s a perfect opportunity to connect with the customer and provide them with the service and attention they need. Post-sale follow-up achieved a number of things:

  • Extends Good Will: By following up post-sale you let the customer know you are invested in their satisfaction. When customers feel taken care of, they are more likely to reward a company with further business as well as referrals.
  • Receive Feedback: Since e-commerce customers are less likely to have interacted with the brand pre-sale, this allows the opportunity for customers to comment on the buying process as well as offer insight as to what could be improved. Assuming they have already received the product or service by the time the contact is made, it offers an opportunity to ask about their satisfaction.
  • Upsell: The upsell is always an important part of the sales process, however it can be just as important in the post-sale follow-up as well. If the customer has found value in the product or service, this provides an opportunity to educate them on other offerings they may find value in.

How to Follow Up

There are a number of different channels available to follow-up with your customers post-sale:

  • Phone Call: Perhaps the most personal form of follow-up, a personalized phone call provides the customer with a direct line to an agent of the company. This may not be feasible for larger companies.
  • Email: The most often used method of follow-up is through e-mail. Whether directly from a sales representative, or through an automated drip campaign, email follow-ups are a sleek, modern approach to maintaining contact with a customer.
  • Online Community: On its own or in conjunction with other methods, companies that maintain an active online community have a special ability to stay connected with customers. Whether through social media or company forums, having an active community helps provide support and educate the customer base. It also allows for self-serve support (especially in an active community of passionate fans), and provides a forum for customers to express thoughts, ideas, and opinions on your products as well as gather feedback for future products as well.

In the modern landscape of inbound marketing, the customer is king more than ever before. Today’s online shopper has many choices as to where to spend their money, and it is the smart company that values their customer enough to stay in touch and keep them as a customer for years to come.

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David Dumas

Written by David Dumas

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