Businesses spend significant time and effort in attracting customers to a product or service. But a post-sale follow up with customers, is often neglected or a short term initiative right after a sale. While getting initial feedback is a good way to develop our product and service, getting longer term feedback allows us to build strong lasting relationships with customers.
Amazon's product reviews often show the evolution of a customer's experience. It's not uncommon to see an initial review saying that the buyer just received the product and how awesome it is. It arrived on time, it was well packaged, it's so much better than the last thing they used etc. Every so often you'll get a diligent reviewer that returns to update their review. This typically includes a more objective review of their likes, dislikes, or problems they have with the product or the company that provides it.
What changed? In some cases the product might have failed prompting a negative reaction, but in many cases the reviewer is just providing a more muted level of satisfaction. The product is the same and functions just as well as it did when it newly arrived, it's just that the initial excitement has worn off and they are now viewing it more objectively.
This happens for two reasons. The first is that the buyer grows accustomed to using the product. The pains they experienced before getting the product dim so the product begins to compete with itself rather than competing what they did before getting the product. The second is that the buyer has spent enough time to really know the products strengths and limitations. Initially buyers are excited to see the bells and whistles but after getting comfortable with its day-to-day operation they become more aware of possible flaws.
This same process happens to our buyers. When we start a working relationship it's often to alleviate a problem or provide a significant benefit. At first, assuming there is a smooth delivery of our product or service, buyers experience a removal of a problem or adding previously unrealized benefits. This causes a very positive reaction because they are comparing the product or service to the past inferior option.
As clients grow more mature in the use of our product or service they start to view it as the norm. In that way they begin to more objectively view what we are offering rather than comparing it to past pains.
What can we do to keep our established customers feel appreciated? Proactively follow up with your customers to gauge their satisfaction on a recurring basis. Following up may be as simple as writing an email or making a phone call to request feedback. It's important to provide enough time for your clients to get accustomed to your product or service after initial delivery before starting your recurring schedule.
Long-lasting client relationships require personal attention that goes beyond the point-of-sale. People don't like being ignored and definitely like being heard. There are many businesses that are ignoring their customers and, as a result, losing them. Make sure that you have a process of checking in on your clients to be sure you have a realistic understanding of their level of satisfaction.
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