Product Usage Data

What is After-Sale Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement has followed a fairly predictable trend, focusing on pre-sale engagement. But what if customer engagement didn’t stop after the initial sale?

Customer engagement has followed a fairly predictable trend. With a rise in competition and even more ways to reach customers through digital channels, the focus has always been on pre-sale engagement as opposed to after-sale customer engagement.
The logic is simple — building a relationship with a customer helps increase the chances that they’ll purchase your brand’s product over another. Once you’ve made the initial sale you can hope for repeat patronage based on the product quality, brand loyalty, or other factors. But what if customer engagement didn’t stop after the initial sale? What if there was a way to leverage the purchased product to strengthen your customer relationship, brand loyalty, and retention rates? Through after-sale customer engagement, businesses can leverage purchased products to strengthen their customer relationships. After-sale customer engagement in this form is very new.
This guide will walk you through after-sale customer engagement and how it benefits businesses selling physical goods. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is After-Sale Customer Engagement?
As the name suggests, after-sale engagement is customer engagement that occurs after a customer has purchased a product. After-sale engagement is defined as brands working to maintain and strengthen their relationship with customers post-sale by providing advice, recommendations, and other essential information to customers to improve the product experience.
Customers go through the process of onboarding, enjoying, and then caring for and maintaining a product, as a part of the product experience. After-sale customer engagement anticipates the customer’s product experience in the long term and seeks to provide essential information to maximize it.
How does After-Sale Engagement Differ From After-Sale Customer Service?
Many brands have sought to address customer needs post-purchase. However, these attempts focus on product repair, as opposed to enhancing product experience. This can be considered after-sale customer service, rather than after-sale customer engagement. Consider Apple’s prominent Apple Care services, in which customers purchase insurance through Apple for their Apple products.
This is a beneficial strategy for encouraging brand loyalty, but it fails to address product experience. After-sale customer engagement expands beyond providing just warranty and repairs. It prioritizes the customer’s experience with the product, not just the product alone. In short, after-sale customer engagement could be described as an advanced form of after-sale customer service that takes customer service one step further by improving product experience.
Benefits of After-Sale Customer Engagement
After-sale customer engagement is an emerging strategy that seeks to redefine customer engagement post-sale. As it’s a newer strategy, many businesses are unaware of the benefits it can offer and may be hesitant to adopt changes that promote it. However, it’s vital to understand the many benefits that this strategy can bring. Here are the benefits of after-sale customer engagement.
Post-Sale Marketing
When a customer purchases a product from a specific brand, the brand can utilize after-sale customer engagement to recommend related products, accessories, and maintenance goods. This type of marketing is hyper-targeted and personalized because it only provides relevant product suggestions. There’s no need for the customer to sift through your website to find the item they need when the recommendation has already been sent.
There’s no need to send spammy advertising emails that will get ignored or increase your advertising budget. Once you’ve sold a product, you have a ready-made avenue for customer interaction and product marketing. In short, sell a product and increase customer retention rates.
Increase Customer Retention
The only way to increase customer retention rates is to address all the factors that impact them: customer satisfaction, high-quality customer service, and customer relationship.  After-sale customer engagement enables businesses to achieve on all marks. Here are some of the features of after-sale customer engagement that help to improve customer retention:
  • Sending out targeted recommendations.
  • Providing detailed care and maintenance instructions to ensure a product lasts a while without diminishing in quality.
  • Following up post-sale with questions and helpful advice.
  • Helping your business build a reputation as a brand that cares even after the sale. ‍
Help Customers Save Valuable Time
Investing in care and maintenance guides and content related to your products can help customers save time researching this information themselves. This is especially true for information related to troubleshooting, maintenance and care, and any relevant information that might not be needed until long after purchase.
Moreover, this can prevent customers from ruining their products by following general advice they found online. You know how to best care for and maintain your products. Sharing that information with customers is an investment that will pay off, especially when your products garner a reputation for longevity.
Care and maintenance aren’t the only topics of importance. You can also create customer guides to help with the process of onboarding and customer enjoyment. Your customers will thank you!
Maximize the Use of Third-Party Vendors
Many brands use major third-party vendors or big box stores, like Amazon or Walmart, to increase their product’s reach and sales. However, the result is that outside of purchasing your product, a customer never directly engages with your brand.
This can present a significant obstacle for brands that are trying to build lasting relationships with their customers. Prioritizing after-sale customer engagement allows brands to utilize third-party vendors without losing out on building a relationship with customers. After-sale engagement provides brands with direct access to their customers through a direct digital channel.
After-Sale Customer Engagement In Action
Understanding after-sale customer engagement is easiest once you’ve seen it in action. Let’s start with a guitar and assume that a customer has purchased the guitar with the intent of playing it. The guitar has been outfitted with an IoT device that shares real-time data about the guitar.
After purchasing the guitar, the customer downloads the brand’s app, as suggested by the instructions included in the guitar. Upon opening the app, the IoT device and guitar are synced, and the brand is processing information about the guitar. Here’s how after-sale engagement could play out. 
  • Onboarding: The IoT device registers that the guitar is not tuned and then provides the customer with a guide on tuning the guitar. The customer then begins to play their tuned guitar. When finished, they store the guitar on a stand near a sunny window. 
  • Real-Time Maintenance and Care Instructions: The IoT device recognizes that the guitar is being stored in an area that’s too hot and dry, which will eventually cause it to crack. The customer receives a smartphone notification from the app, sharing this information and moves the guitar away from the window and out of direct sun. The guitar knows it’s happy and sends a “thanks” to the customer.
  • Relevant Product Recommendations: The customer plays the guitar, and racks up hours of enjoyment.  The guitar sensor recognizes this and sends a notification to the customer with information about the best replacement strings and information about polishing the body and oiling the fretboard. The customer immediately purchases the replacement from the brand and waits for its arrival. 
  • Advanced Post-Sale Guidance: The customer reads up on the guidelines provided within the app about preserving the life of their guitar, learns about proper storage like loosening strings and laying the guitar on its back, and is excited to improve. 

Key Takeaways

After-sale customer engagement is a revolutionary strategy that will help customers fully enjoy their purchases and build meaningful relationships with their brands. From a business perspective, it can significantly improve customer retention rates, increase sales, bolster reputation, and more.

Technology has changed how products are bought and sold, why shouldn’t it change the way they are enjoyed? From here, after-sale customer engagement will only grow. As the best in the industry know — an opportunity only knocks once.

Ken Rapp, founder and CEO of Blustream, recently joined an episode of The Next CMO podcast, where he discussed the benefits of after-sale customer engagement. Listen now to learn how businesses can connect with customers following the sale and the impact it can make on revenue, referrals, and more. Listen to the Next CMO Podcast

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