By Paul Bruce, Digital Marketing Manager, Field2Base
Aside from the movie Titanic, I don’t have much knowledge about icebergs. However, you hear the phrase all the time - the majority of every iceberg is under water, out of sight for most people. It’s a common fact that 90% of an iceberg’s mass is below the surface, and this fact can be related to most things in life. Ninety percent of the people you meet and interact with everyday are agreeable/pleasant to be around, and some would argue that 90% of communication is body language and non-verbal.
This statement can also be applied to consumer products and services in the world today. Whether you’re purchasing a new cell phone, automobile or new software for your business- what happens after the initial sale, i.e. the tip of the iceberg, is one of the most critical aspects to your customer’s long-term experience. It is what’s underneath the iceberg, the remaining 90% (or post-sales experience), that matters the most.
Think about your last big purchase, maybe it was a new car. Did the sales representative contact you after the sale to make sure everything was OK? Did you get a call from anyone in management thanking you for the purchase? Many organizations are constantly searching for ways to increase revenue but frequently do not execute simple steps, after the sale, to improve long term retention with customers they already have.
In my experience, this is especially evident when it comes to software sales and service. Many solutions require an implementation period that must be completed before the software can be fully utilized. These procedures could “make or break” how successful your software will be for new customers.
Here are a few tips to consider when reviewing and/or adding to your post-sales process:
Post-Sales Follow Up - How soon is someone contacting new customers?
This is a crucial aspect to your short and long-term success as a company. Customers should never have to wait to see what the “next steps” are after their purchase, and there must be a personal touch in these initial stages. Sending an email with instructions and ending with “Please call me with questions” is weak at best.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and introduce yourself and/or your team. Make sure the client has your complete contact info, so they know how to reach you. Bottom line, the first 48 hours post-sale is critical to ensure new customers are not only onboarded correctly, but they feel confident using your product moving forward.
At Field2Base, a Professional Services team member is required to contact all new customers in 24 hours or less. During that time, we are not only introducing our team, but we also set up new customers in our Forms Designer application to begin utilizing our software.
Onboarding – Getting your customers up to speed as quickly as possible.
It’s no secret most people are reluctant to change, especially in the workplace. If employees using your company’s software do not “buy-in” right from the start, organizational issues can arise and things could get worse as time progresses.
Immediately after each sale, get a list from your customer identifying the managers in the company that will be using your product. Reach out to them directly as soon as you can to let them know you are here if they need anything. The quicker you can connect with the important stakeholders and get the entire team onboard, the better the entire relationship will be moving forward.
Customer Success - Troubleshooting and ongoing support.
How difficult is it for customers to contact you with issues? Does your company have policies in place to act on issues during non-working hours and weekends? What about comments on social media like Facebook and Twitter? Policies like these should be in place and be shared with everyone in your company in case of emergencies. In addition, there always needs to be communication with customers after issues are resolved to avoid further complications.
No matter how good your software is and how amazing your onboarding process might be, there are going to be problems. The ability to handle these problems in quick and painless manners is key for all parties involved. It could be the difference between a minor issue that’s resolved quickly or one that escalates into an extremely upset customer.
Evaluating these aspects of your business can seem redundant; however, they are simple steps that can define to what degree your business will succeed. Though the tip of the iceberg may look daunting on its own, we have found that its what’s underneath the iceberg that matters the most.
We would love to hear what ideas you may have regarding customer success after the sale. Reach out to Field2Base via Twitter (@field2base) or Facebook with any ideas. Who knows, your idea could help your company evaluate your entire iceberg to avoid sinking your next deal!