What is after-sales service and how to do It?

Khoros Staff

Generating sales is the main goal of any business. Still, if you’re only providing pre-sale customer service, you might be missing the opportunity to build brand loyalty and lasting customer relationships after the sale. Instead of focusing solely on your brand’s service before a purchase, investing in strong after-sales support can help create repeat customers who naturally spread the word about your brand.

This has tangible benefits, as 83% of customers say they feel more loyal to brands that respond and resolve their complaints. After all, customers don’t just shop for your products, they want to engage and feel connected to your brand.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of after-sales service, including what it is, why it’s important, types, and how to effectively deliver customer service after the sale — including examples of brands doing it right.

Customer service RFP checklist

What is after-sales service?

After-sales service is the support you extend to customers after they purchase. This can include addressing complaints, offering technical guidance, providing maintenance or proactive assistance, and resolving product-related issues or flaws. Brands typically extend this service online or through email follow-ups and even in-person visits for products requiring support from live technicians.

Why is after-sales service important?

After-sales service is important because the level of customer service your brand provides after the sale can directly impact whether customers remain loyal to your brand or take their business to a competitor. Especially for products that require some level of knowledge, checking in on your customer’s journey with the product or offering tips on how to use it can be a great way to nurture your customer relationships.

Providing after-sales service also demonstrates to customers that the company prioritizes their satisfaction beyond the initial purchase and is dedicated to delivering continuous value to customers. After-sales support can also extend the customer lifetime value of each buyer and differentiate your brand from the competition.

By making this a priority, brands can reap these four benefits:

Repeat customers

By delivering exceptional customer service post-sale, your brand improves retention rates and increases the chances that your customers will return. This not only creates repeat customers but also elevates revenue potential for your business. According to Marketing Metrics, you’re 60-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer versus a new prospect, highlighting the significant impact of prioritizing after-sale service.

Word-of-mouth referrals

With seemingly endless options to choose from when it comes to goods and services, hearing a trusted friend or family member’s recommendation can make all the difference. Satisfied customers who receive excellent after-sales support are more likely to share their positive experiences with friends, family, and colleagues. This word-of-mouth advertising can be incredibly influential in attracting new customers and retaining existing ones, as 65% of new business leads are generated through referrals.

Positive brand image

Another key benefit of after-sales service is that when it’s done well, it can boost your brand’s reputation and contribute to an overall positive image of your business. Most customers read reviews before making a purchase, and even a single negative comment can cast doubt in the minds of prospective customers. When customers have great experiences with brands post-purchase, their positive reviews can gradually boost the brand's overall perception.

Brand loyalty

Providing after-sales service is a great avenue for brands to build loyalty and prevent churn. When customers know you’ll be there to provide support after a purchase, it shows you’re invested in serving them even after getting the initial sale. By offering this level of service, customers may become more loyal to your brand, which can reduce the likelihood of them leaving you for a competitor. So providing after-sales service not only helps you drive repeat purchases and attract new customers, it also helps you retain those customers.

4 types of after-sale service

There are a variety of ways your brand can provide after-sales service and improve customer service. These include:

1. Education

    You can provide your customers with a comprehensive education of your products, whether that’s through live demonstrations, a library of pre-recorded explainer videos, training sessions, installation guides, or troubleshooting tips. This can bring attention to your product's underutilized features or demonstrate its subtleties, giving your customers a greater understanding of the product they bought.

    Also, take stock of the feedback your brand has received to see if there are any joint pain points users continuously face, and refine your educational content to address these persistent challenges. Knowing what stumps your customers can also help your brand design other resources, like guides, to create even more comprehensive educational materials.

    2. Assurance

      Warranties, guarantees, and the ability to return or exchange your product assure customers they won’t be stuck with a faulty or unwanted product if something goes wrong. This is a great way to build trust with your customers because your brand promises that it will make the situation right if for some reason the product arrives damaged or incorrect. It’s a simple yet effective way to serve customers and even offers the potential to recoup any money lost in these situations. For context, an Adobe study found that seven out of ten customers buy more products from brands they trust. So, while you may take a hit on a single return, that customer’s positive experience after the sale may lead them to return.

      3. On-demand customer support

        On-demand customer support is another type of after-sales service to offer, as it addresses

        customer complaints, usage-related issues, and questions. Providing on-demand customer support shows customers that your brand is available to take care of issues whenever they need assistance, which can help build trust.

        It’s best practice for brands to take an omnichannel approach when providing on-demand customer support to reach more customers. Common channels included in an omnichannel strategy include phone, email, chat, and social media.

        4. Rewards

          Loyalty programs, birthday specials, giveaways, and exclusive perks are excellent ways of serving customers after the initial sale. Service doesn’t always have to revolve around solving issues. Notifying your customers about promotions or rewards is a great way to provide value after the sale, and this type of positive reinforcement may encourage them to make future purchases.

          How to deliver exceptional after-sales service

          Now that you know the different types of after-sales service, here are some strategies to deliver excellent service after the sale.

          1. Send a handwritten thank you note

            A handwritten thank you note can mean the world to a customer because it shows that your brand took the time to acknowledge them and their purchase. Sending these not only shows your gratitude for their patronage, but it can also help your brand stand out. Your support team can craft a customizable template for handwritten thank-you notes to speed up the process.

            2. Personalize the customer experience

              Customers expect personalized experiences from brands, with around 71% of consumers holding this expectation. Personalized post-sale communications make consumers feel valued by acknowledging their unique journey with your brand.

              To create these personalized customer experiences, brands can use the data customers submit during a purchase, or follow-up survey about their experience to create communications tailored to them. Including the customer’s name, birthday, or other special event in your brand emails, SMS texts, or other communications is a simple way to do this.

              3. Follow-up with the customer after the sale

                Following up with customers after a sale is an important part of after-sale service because your brand has the opportunity to address any problems customers may have with your products or services directly. Failing to follow up with customers means all the hard work your sales team invested in making the initial sale goes to waste, as your brand doesn’t take action to maintain their interest or loyalty. Following up can take several forms, including:

                • Calling customers on the phone

                • Sending them personalized messages to check in

                • Sending them a feedback survey

                • Providing post-purchase support, like links to educational content

                • Asking satisfied customers for referrals

                4. Provide easily accessible after-sale support

                If something goes wrong with their purchase, customers will want responsive, easily accessible customer service channels to assist them. Having multiple channels for customer support helps reach a wide array of customers, from those who prefer to call and speak with a support professional to those who look to get their issues resolved via social media.

                Taking an omnichannel approach to cover various channels can help brands keep customers happy. However, providing support over multiple channels is no small feat. Using digital contact center software like Khoros Service can help you deliver always-on customer service across several channels, all from one platform while also supporting your agents in surfacing the info they need right when they need it.

                5. Offer product or service training

                  Offering product or service training after your customer makes a purchase is another valuable strategy for businesses aiming to deliver exceptional after-sales service because you can provide immediate assistance without waiting for the customer to reach out first. It’s convenient for the customer and demonstrates your brand’s commitment to valuing their time and ensuring a positive experience with your product or service. It’s yet another juncture in the customer journey where your brand can build trust and foster a more loyal customer base.

                  5 after-sales service examples

                  Here are five brands that are doing after-sales service right:

                  1. Samsung

                  Samsung after-sales service example of their online community

                  Samsung is a well-established electronics company that sets a great example of how to provide after-sales service effectively. To support customers after a sale, they created a dedicated digital space where customers could engage with the brand beyond their official website and find expert support for their questions. By investing in creating an online community as part of its after-sales service strategy, Samsung was able to unite its users in one digital environment where expert customers, called Ambassadors, can answer each other’s questions and share their expertise.

                  In this example, a Legendary Samsung Care Ambassador helps another user troubleshoot a common problem in easy-to-follow steps. This is an excellent example of after-sales service because the Samsung Ambassador not only helped the querent, but 23 other users liked the posts’ content, meaning they likely got some value out of it as well.

                  2. General Motors

                  General motors after-sales service example of their loyalty program

                  General Motors, an automotive company, has a loyalty program called My GM Rewards, which operates on a tier system that rewards current customers with points they can redeem later on. The three tiers of the loyalty program are directly influenced by how much customers spend on GM vehicles, parts, service, OnStar, and accessories, and their My GM Rewards card member status.

                  In the example pictured above, customers can choose different categories of prizes to put their points toward, including vehicle maintenance, buying new parts or accessories, and even rewarding experiences like a trip to CMA Fest in Nashville, Tennessee. And, of course, buying or leasing a new vehicle with the help of My GM Rewards just adds more points back to the customer’s account, incentivizing them to become repeat customers.

                  3. Bosch

                  Bsoch after-sales service example of their online community

                  Bosch also launched an online community to provide customers with support resources, forums, and a knowledge base called The Bosch Sensortec Community. This digital support space is designed for developers, customers, partners, and creators who use Bosch Sensortec's sensing solutions to help them understand how to use their specific products, like the BME680 gas sensor. Their educational bank includes tutorial videos, installation guides, FAQs, and white papers to assist customers. Since launching this community with educational content, Bosch has been able to help answer thousands of customer questions, making it another great example of how providing educational resources is an effective form of after-sales service.

                  4. T-Mobile

                  T-mobile after-service sales example of their support account on X

                  As the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., T-Mobile has millions of users engaging at any given moment. To improve their after-sale customer service, T-Mobile established a customer support-specific X account to help them troubleshoot their issues. All customers have to do is Tweet the T-Mobile Help account, and a customer care agent will contact them about their specific situation.

                  T-mobile after-service sales example of their tweet on X

                  In addition to giving current customers another convenient channel to access support, T-Mobile Help also Tweets helpful tips for customers to make the most of their device and service. For example, the account posted actionable advice for users to take if they get spam text messages. Social media customer service is a great way to offer after-sales support, as your brand can keep up with persistent issues your consumer base might face.

                  5. TELUS

                  Telus after-sales service example of their AI support tool

                  TELUS, a communications and IT company, has a dedicated help center on its website where customers can browse support offerings by product or service, peruse through automatically suggested support articles, and get their questions answered faster with the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Using AI tools to answer customer questions instantly can help customers with simple inquiries or requests. 

                  This is another leading example of after-sales service because AI tools like chatbots can serve as a resource for customers to address their issues independently. In fact, 73% of customers want to be able to solve their issues autonomously. Investing in AI not only serves customers but also frees up agents so they can handle more complex requests.

                  Stay on top of after-sale customer needs with Khoros Service

                  Providing after-sales service can sometimes be easier said than done in a world full of diverse customer needs. With an abundance of different customer service channels that constantly demand quick customer support, it can be challenging to keep up. However, using an omnichannel customer service solution can help.

                  Khoros Service leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and automation tools to provide a comprehensive digital contact center experience. Engineered to excel at enterprise scale, Khoros Service simplifies the management of multiple support channels while empowering users to harness CRM data effectively. With patented workflows and customizable chatbots, you can streamline support requests to increase efficiency, lower agent attrition, and ultimately drive higher customer spending. 

                  Elevate your after-sales service with Khoros Service and request a demo today.

                    Would you like to learn more about Khoros?