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By Eric Quanstrom #hack, #sales March 29, 2016

 

What does your team do after a sale is completed? The software is installed and running or the merchandise is transferred. Do you call it a job well done and move on? Do you check in every so often to see if there is any confusion?

If you have a great sales team and a great product, you should be proud. Be cautious not let the thrill of the sale tempt you to rush on to the next. Have dedicated and procedural follow up.

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Following up with your customers after a sale can make or break your professional reputation. No matter how great your product is, if your clients can’t use it, it’s worthless. We know that “if you build it, they will come” isn’t true. You need creative marketing efforts to promote your service. You also need a dedicated followup team to make sure your clients are using your product to it’s full potential.

Why is this important? It maintains that relationship your sales team worked hard to build for the sale. Most companies ignore the customer after the sale. That is fine if you run a retail store or a grocery store. Most people can figure out what to do with a head of lettuce. Software and machinery are a little less intuitive. You want your customer to use what they purchased. You want them to love using it because that means they will come to you with other problems they need to be solved.

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What happens if you skip the follow up? Sometimes that’s easy to track. If you provide a service, especially an ongoing one, you should have a record of reasons why people choose to discontinue their service. See what that tells you. It may take some reading between the lines, but you can quickly check if you have a followup problem on your hands with customer retention. If you sell a product, it gets a little harder. Do people purchase refills? How many customers make repeat purchases?

Losing customers after the purchase isn’t nearly as bad as losing them before they even give you a try. Customer service has come increasingly into the spotlight as consumers have more options available to them. Even if people agree that you have the best product on the market, they’ll buy the one with better follow up service. A product has no use if you cannot figure out how to use it.

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Creating a Customer Success Process is easy. It can be as simple as scheduling follow-up calls one week and three weeks after delivery to check on questions. If it’s software, put together a team webinar to run through the basics and tailor the webinar to focus on what your customers are purchasing the product to do.

Most importantly, make sure your team to handle your Customer Success Process actually knows what they’re talking about. Hiring kids straight out of high school or college can be tempting because it does not take a ton of job experience to be friendly and helpful on the phone or by email, but if you have one of your team members who does not know how to run the product trying to teach a client how to use it, it will damage the that client’s faith in your company. Make sure your team is confident with the software before releasing them on your customers.

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