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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Sales Process | After Sales Service

I am very passionate about After Sales Service because I know it can make or break a company. The last reporting group of my Market2 (Fundamentals of Selling) class in De La Salle University reported the last phase of the selling process which is "After Sales Service". Aside from closing the sale, this is the stage at which the customer or client will decide if they want to continue doing business with your company.

The Secret of Relationship Marketing and Customer Retention

The big secret... drum roll please **dum dum dum** there's no secret. Relationship marketing is not rocket science but sad to say most sales people don't know how to use it. Sure it is easy to quote "losing a customer is much more expensive than acquiring a new one" but in application, specially in an agile environment, this is not usually the case.

Let's be honest, sales people are pressured to bring in clients that will meet the revenue targets of the company and more often than not, sales people tend to focus on bringing in new prospects. Although there are some who has the ability to manage accounts flawlessly, the skill just doesn't appear to everyone. Some even takes a lifetime (i'm not kidding), to develop this skill.

So what does it mean when we say relationship marketing and how does it lead to customer retention? What is the connection between the two? Simple:

Relationship Marketing is the process of developing an intimate business partnership which takes time. The same way you develop your intimate relationships with your friends, this is the same way when it comes to business. 
In a nutshell, relationship marketing is when you go out and realize that the clients that brings in money to the company deserves your time and attention. You just don't stop by selling them something but instead, makes sure that you determine the other needs of your client and try to meet them with the best of your abilities.

I don't have an official guideline because like they say, "different strokes for every folk" so you have to know what makes your client tick. Same goes when you want to pursue someone to be your wife or girlfriend. Or group of friends you want to hang out with. You determine what the other person or group needs and you try your best to meet them - and the moment you do then thats the time the other party gives you their sweet "yes" or cooperation. And in business, that equates to money.

You're Not Doing Life Sentence, You're Doing Customer Service

Not everyone can be a customer service representative. I am saying it again - NOT EVERYONE can be a customer service representative.

The reason I'm emphasising this point is because there's a lot of human resources available but only a few has the skill to give exceptional customer service. Let's define exceptional - has the ability to empathize with customers as well as provide solutions when issues arise.

90% of the time (i'm just throwing some random number but based on my experience), customer service is what differentiates a company and it can be the "make or break" factor for a customer. It is the entire experience from buying a product until the point that the person redeems it, uses it and if it malfunctions, how easy it is for that person to get support/service for that product.

Being a customer service representative is hard. You are the first touchpoint of the customer the moment a product does not deliver what it promises. Customers would definitely complain if they don't receive the benefits they paid for (yes i am referring to the benefits because it is the benefit that makes the customer buys the product).

So if you don't have a pleasing personality, I'm afraid customer service is not for you.

Service Can Increase Sale

Believe it or not, service can help your company acquire incremental sales. How? By selling more to your present customers.

Service is your opening statement!
Service, whether in the form of phone, text, email, chat or face-to-face support, is your opening to each customer to offer additional services or complimenting products that would give you and your company incremental sales.

How to monetize your customer service:

  • Up-sell a product or a service
    • "Sir, if you buy this model, you'll be able to experience a faster loading time compared with the previous model"
  • Cross-sell a product or a service
    • "Sir, your iPad would look great with this trendy casing"
  • Ask for referrals
    • "Sir, you might know someone who would be interested in the same product?"
  • Ask for a new sale
    • "Sir, you might be interested in the latest iPod nano, we just receive the latest model and we have it on stock and will be displayed tomorrow."
Did you know that McDonald doubled their profits with these simple statements? 

"Would you like fries with that?" and "would you like to supersize that?"

How to Regain Lost Customers

For B2B sales people or account managers, here's a three step guide to help you regain your client's trust:

  1. Visit and Investigate what made them stop doing business with you
  2. Be professional (hard selling is a turn off!)
  3. Don't be afraid to Ask if they want to do business with you (and be prepared to answer their main concerns why they don't want to continue doing business in the first place).
Returned Goods Make You a Hero

In retail, more often than not, return of goods or refunds would always be the case for unsatisfied customers. Good thing is that our consumer act protects our customers by requiring everyone a 7-day return policy. But why is this important? Aside from making sure the customer doesn't complain (and writes a letter to the Department of Trade and Industry), it shows the customer that the company's primary goal is to provide its customers the best support it can give for each product. And in return, it tells the consumer that they're rights are being valued. 

So how do you do this? Not all items that are being returned qualifies for a refund or an exchange. Simply by carefully examining the merchandise you have sold to see if it is old, out-of-date, or unusable  due to damage. If these defects exist, the salesperson should cheerfully return the merchandise following company policy. 

I think what makes it different is the ability of the salesperson to CHEERFULLY process the return/refund.

What are the reasons for dissatisfaction? Here's a few:
  • The product delivered is a different size, color, or model than the one ordered.
  • The quantity delivered is less than the quantity ordered.
  • Product does not arrive by the specified date.
  • Discounts agreed are not rendered.
  • The produce does not have a feature that the customer believed it would.
  • The product is not of the specified grade or quality.
So what do you do if a dissatisfied customer complains? Simple: Make a settlement that is fair to both the customer and your company.


After Sales Service is crucial to all companies. It is how you respond to your customers that defines the company image. That is why when you hire customer service representatives or sales people, the first thing you need to find out is if they are equipped with the skills that would make all customers feel special and at the same time, knows how to find a solution to every customer issue. 

Have you hugged your customer today?

This is the deck presented by my students for this topic: