What is After-sales Support
After-sales support, sometimes called after-sales service, is any service provided after a customer has purchased a product. After-sales support may be provided by a retailer, manufacturer or a third-party customer service or training provider and may include warranty service, training, repair or upgrade, or various other services. After-sales support may be considered to be part of a company's overall marketing strategy. Some customers might seek out a company’s products based on its after-sales service, for example, Best Buy Co.’s Geek Squad or Apple Inc.'s Apple Care.
Customer Information File - CIF
Breaking Down After-sales Support
After-sales support helps ensure that a customer gets as much use and value as possible out of their purchase. This may entail training on existing features or education about new uses or capabilities. The business reasoning behind after-sales support is that it can contribute to brand loyalty and repeat sales; happier customers tend to create repeat customers. Good after-sales support can also result in positive word-of-mouth for a company. Poor after-sales support can prevent companies from achieving a good customer satisfaction record and therefore growth.
After-sales Support Examples
Some examples of after-sales support include companies helping with the installation process (such as computer software), maintaining products through free or discounted service (oil changes included with purchase of a new car or via a paid-for service plan), and having a clear exchange and return policy and providing a customer service number. Some other examples include:
- Help desk and technical support services: Such after-sales support may come free with the purchase of an item and may also be sold as part of a more comprehensive service plan, such as how Best Buy Co. sells Geek Squad computer-related service plans. Service offered through a help or support desk may include technical assistance for personal computers, mobile phones, software, machinery and a variety of other products.
- Real-time online support that includes email, chat, forums and a social media interface (and monitoring) responds to public complaints and criticisms. This may include handling returns or repairs.
- Automated customer service lines: This may include advice and solutions to frequent or even more complex issues and questions that is easily accessed at any time, either by phone or online.
- Automated support resources: This may include easily accessible online solutions that involve forums where customers may interact with other users or experts, post questions or search for answers.
After-Sales Support Best Practices
Customers who have a bad experience with a product have more venues than ever to publicly complain. As such, companies should be proactive in reaching out to customers after a purchase is made to ensure that their experience is as good as it can be. Reaching customers early can avoid product returns and public complaints, which can lead to negative public perceptions. Such interaction should be ongoing, as well, and give customers the opportunity to revalidate their decision to buy a product. Companies should also make it easy for happy customers to share their experiences with their products, such as providing the opportunity to post reviews, ideas and stories on social media.