‘If a company puts its customers first, the customers, too, will choose the company first.’
All of us buy products that we need. However, which brand or place we choose to buy the products from is a completely different story. I am sure you choose a company that gives you a better customer experience. Everyone believes that the quality of the product is the first impression, but to make it everlasting, it is the freedom of choice that companies provide to their customers, post sales.
You know that feeling when you get the service the way you want, amirite? India has 1.26 million registered companies, and every single one of them aspires to attain success through higher customer satisfaction than their competitors. But very few really follow through.
The perfect example of post-sales customer experience lies with the three most prominent companies in their market segment: Amazon, Yatra and Dmart. Here are my experiences with these business giants. I use the services of all three and am pleasantly surprised by the way they value their customers.
My three experiences:
While browsing Amazon to buy a mic, I didn’t think I would need a stand. When I was about to purchase the product, Amazon cleverly recommended that most people buy the mic along with a stand. I bought them both together. When it arrived, and upon setup, alas, the stand was not a fit. While returning and talking to the customer executive, she apologised, returned the cash and recommended a new, better-fitted mic stand.
The Lesson: Own your Mistakes
Whether it is due to technology or human error, businesses should always own their mistakes to let the customers know that the company cares even post-sales. People understand that mistakes are inevitable and trust the company to rectify them. Given that the company’s products and services are attractive, we are always willing to return as long as we know that we won’t be financially hurt if the company fails to offer what it promised. Owning up shows that the company is willing to stand for what’s right and advocate for customers’ satisfaction even when it can hurt their immediate business to ensure their business thrives in the long term.
I booked tickets from Yatra.com, but the trip was cancelled due to COVID-19 infection at the host family. As the staff was working with limited capacity, I could not connect with their customer care executives. I dropped a message to a top executive on LinkedIn and received a call back from their team at 9 PM. They guided me on the refund process.
The Lesson: Flexible Communication
Forcing the customers to adhere to rigid communication channels of the company is not a good idea. With the advent of multiple social platforms, it makes sense to leverage them and connect with your customers in real-time to solve their problems. Brand advocacy turns negative if the company creates a communication loop where the customer is forced to spend valuable time dealing with customer care executives. If companies make policies to hire people who believe in the vision and mission of the company and are always customer-oriented, they can be sure of the desired brand advocacy.
While shopping at DMart, I bought a folding chair but saw that it was defective after paying for it. To resolve the issue, I went to the ‘returns and exchanges’ window. After confirming the defect, they returned the cash immediately when I thought they would pay me through store credit like other supermarkets and shopping chains.
The Lesson: Offer freedom of choice
Customers crave their money’s worth, and companies should look to give them the freedom to try, compare and choose. Rather than forcing retention through store credit, invest in a model that gives people their money back. If you force customers to buy your products, it can undermine your business as customer-oriented and decrease goodwill. When you are confident that your products and services are better than your competitors, you don’t have to worry about losing customers. The only way to successfully engage with your customers and offer them the best customer experience is by giving them the freedom to choose.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
Focusing only on pre-sales may lead to success, but not for the long term until you take care of post-sales experience and your customers.
Good post-sales or after-sales experience is crucial in ensuring that the customers come back to buy your products or services. It can be through a simple policy of offering cash returns and training the employees to listen to customers on every social media channel to build goodwill. Either way, if a company puts the customers first, the customer, too, will choose the company first.
Food for thought
As an entrepreneur, is your business focussing only on sales or is it followed by extensive post-sales customer experience?