Business science already says it: it costs five times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain old ones. So why do some companies have so little interest in developing their after-sales techniques?
We cannot forget that in a world as globalized as the current one, the true differential value of a company with respect to its competitor is not in the product, which we can often obtain in many places and for different prices, but in the service that is offered. offers and what you get for it. It has been proven that the nuance that can tip the balance towards one supplier to the detriment of another is precisely the after-sales service.
The general keys to a good after-sales service are known: personalized attention, effective technical management, fluid and personal communication (instead of with a machine) can be effective techniques. And, from here, everything that the imagination gives of itself. Keep reading!
1) Be the client’s specialized advisor
Often, entrepreneurs forget that it must be they, as specialists in their business activity, who have to propose solutions to their customers and not wait for them to express their needs. The paper manufacturer ArjoWiggins detected that this could be one of its great competitive strengths and launched the corporate advisory service to companies.
The company had a highly developed advisory action to prescribers (design agencies, printers and distributors), to whom they advised on the characteristics of the paper, the suitability of some printing techniques or others depending on the objective, and to whom they sent high quality samples so that they can make their models.
Management and control
Counseling was a link, a means to an end. But they lacked “reaching the end customer: large companies. These had a very high level of paper consumption, and in addition to different origins: the marketing department needed coated paper; that of communication, graphic paper; that of purchases, normal paper … It was about making the company see all the paper consumption that it carried out and that we could help it to manage it better, controlling its quantity and channeling its purchases, so that they could optimize their consumption and costs ”, they pointed out in the company. To do this, they grouped all their graphic paper departments into one and that allowed them to reach the end customer with a global solution, creating, in 2007, the Corporate Service to Companies.
Among the technological solutions that were made available to the client, there was a specific account on the website where all the graphic resource providers of the corresponding company could enter the type of paper, the quantity and the consumption.
2) Visit to the ‘backstage’
Shows can be run like real companies. This is how the musical producer Grupo Drive understood it, by creating a community of loyal customers, Comunidad el 33. “It was not about making one more website but about creating a community of customer affiliation,” they point out in the company.
It started a few weeks before the premiere of the musical ‘Today I can’t get up’. There was an original website that had a base of 5,000 users, but the portal did not meet the expectations of the production company. The aim was to “create a feeling of club, of a social network among all the followers of the musical and of Mecano, so that a great critical mass was achieved that would become the musical’s own prescribers, as it has been,” they pointed out.
Members of the community received, before anyone else, news about the musical, photos, cast interviews and discounts for performances. The actors were always available to the fans and the members of the community were raffled off to go backstage to be photographed with the actors after the performance.
All this development was supported with two monthly newsletters, viral actions on You Tube, monitoring of their requests, opinions and emails, the online store and an interactive casting.
3) After sales with ‘coach’
The usual thing in coaching is to agree to a session of an hour and a half or two hours a week or every 15 days. But between sessions many things come up. One technique used by a consultant was to encourage clients to call them every night to discuss what happened that day.
All this information was collected and analyzed to produce a report. This almost daily monitoring allowed him to better help customers to know how to change the chip. In this way, in addition to obtaining a global vision of the client’s problems, it was able to dilute the feeling of loneliness and isolation of managers.
4) Free phone line
“On one occasion, a child on growth hormone treatment had a problem while on vacation abroad. His parents had brought the medicine, but had forgotten the injection device. By having the telephone service, they called us and from the line the immediate and free shipment of the new device was managed. In 24 hours they had it available. If the service had not existed, they would have had to go to the hospital or interrupt the treatment ”, they told Merck Serono as an example of the effectiveness of their after-sales strategy.
Several years ago they created a toll-free hotline: the Merck Serono Information Line for patients, relatives of patients and healthcare professionals. “We catalog it internally more than as an after-sales service, as one of added value for professionals and patients,” they indicated in the company.