The Post-Sale Customer Effort

The evidence is in. Customer Experience is not just another hot topic. Research shows that 70% of the purchasing decisions are made based on the customer experience.

PwC found the average customer is willing to pay a 16% premium on a cup of coffee – based entirely on the experience of buying the coffee!

It seems however, the focus of most Customer Experience research centers on how the customer is engaged leading toward the point of purchase. That’s understandable. It’s easy to measure the impact the experience has on sales.

It’s also understandable why the Customer Experience role tends to report to the company’s marketing leadership. That, I believe, is short sighted.

Shep Hyken @Hyken writes, the Other “E” in Customer Experience emphasizes the Post-sale Effort.

Shep cites the Gartner study by CEB in which customers are more likely to switch to a competitor if you don’t get your post-sale experience right. While an amazing experience goes a long way to win the initial purchase, it does little to earn their repeat business.

Ultimately, how easy you make it for the customer to resolve a problem or get a question answered has a greater impact on customer loyalty. That’s why its so hard to get right.

For example, initiatives which seek to improve the online ordering experience tend to “wow” the customer. “Wow” doesn’t cut it after the sale, when support questions arise. Instead, the goal of your post sale customer experience should focus on reducing the level of effort a customer must go through.

There are 3 great failings which continue to challenge every company in the post sale customer experience:

The first failing: unable to resolve an issue on the first call. Repeat Contact is the fastest way to lose your customer loyalty. Not only repeat but to anticipate a future issue down the line and solve it during the present call.

Next, channel switching. Why, on earth, would you ask the customer on hold to hang up and try a different channel. That’s like giving them permission to abandon!

And the third, failing; how you transfer them from one agent or channel to another. Why is it so hard to transfer and make available the history of their engagement in a different channel?

In each, scenario the increased amount of effort a customer must perform diminishes their loyalty. In fact, customers are four times more likely to abandon you if you ask them to leave your call queue and visit your website instead.

The new “E” in Customer Experience is Effort – and the amount your customer must put forth in your post sale support experience.

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