The Role Of After-Sale Services In Driving Customer Loyalty For Brands

Nitin Malhotra, CEO & Co-Founder, 247aroundAfter-sales service is an important aspect for any brand to run smoothly without losing customers. It is a tool used to connect with customers and keep them engaged with the brand long after the sale is complete. In the absence of genuine after-sale services, a brand may not be able to retain customers or generate loyalty and end up losing out on a significant chunk of potential sales and revenue.

Holistic after sale-services consist of many factors that can make or break the customer's trust in the brand. Thus, it is vital for a brand/company to deliver exceptional after-sale services to customers. Here's looking at some of the factors that make for great after-sale service:

Service Experience- A customer's recent experience with the brand governs his/her next purchase decision. The product may be of good quality, but if it calls for any kind of repair or replacement in the later stages of the purchase, it is the responsibility of the brand to offer timely service to customers and resolve the issue as soon as possible. This service, then, becomes the customer's most recent experience with the brand.

If there is a constant delay in service delivery, it can engender annoyance to life-cycle customers, and may also lead to loss of customers. Thus, it is rightly said that a customer's most recent experience should be satisfactory in order to retain him/her.

Service Speed-­ Speed has a direct relation to Customer loyalty. Customers encountering service issues are less likely to give negative ratings if the service is given within 2 days of the request. After buying a product, a consumer usually doesn't have much time and patience to get their electronics back, up and running. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the brand to take care of the gadget or appliance through its entire life-cycle and keep providing the customer with relevant services on time. The brand should also keep in mind the high
expectations and aspirations of today's generation, and focus more on delivering quality services much faster than usual.

Communication-­ Good news or bad news we ought to share with the customer. Even if bad news is communicated timely, the customer is 90 percent less likely to end up in an escalation.

Today, customers want to be aware and need complete visibility at every step of the repair process. With increasing customer cognizance, brands can't just brush it away with a standard 'part is not available' response. So, frequent communication with the customer plays a vital role in strengthening customer loyalty. To keep pace with this, many brands are leveraging modern updated customer outreach mechanisms such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and chat bots.

Today, customers want to be aware and need complete visibility at every step of the repair process

Service Cost-­ For any customer who makes a purchase, maintenance plays a key role in expanding the life of the product. The maintenance cost a significant addition to the total cost of ownership, especially for an electronic product. This cost can be minimized through proper maintenance of the product, especially once the warranty period ends.

Servicing of the Spare Parts- Firstly, the availability of spare parts is very important when it comes to bringing down the repair time. A brand must ensure that the parts of a gadget are handled with care and more importantly, it should be able to provide these spares to customers whenever required. Brands should, thus, practice smart spares management to offer quick replacement and reduce the downtime for customers.

Innovation and Technology-­
Continual/Consistent/Continuous innovation is perceived as bringing disruption. It keeps customers engaged and they believe the company is progressive and working to enhance their experience and lifestyle. The company doing continuous innovation is seen as a leader. Customers feel secure being with a leader and hence are loyal.

Emerging technologies such as AI, remote diagnostics, data analytics, etc. can help brands deliver effective after-sales service, and ensure a win-win situation for the brand. Any brand should, therefore, leverage these modern advancements and provide best-in-class after-sale service to customers while frequently attempting newer ways to innovate their existing processes.

After-sale service plays a key role in delivering quality services and experiences to customers throughout the product lifecycle. A brand should have a special focus on making this entire journey frictionless for customers. They should be perceptive of the evolving needs and expectations of customers and be prepared to adapt quickly to such changes. It is also important for them to switch immediately from being a feature-heavy innovative product manufacturer to service evangelists with the sole intent of keeping the customers well-serviced and the gadget ‘always on'.