Reviews, referrals and renewals: The power of post-purchase customer service
At a glance
- Make each customer interaction memorable for the right reasons.
- Use automation to set up post-sale follow-up emails and calls.
- Make it easy for customers to leave reviews.
- Leverage the power of word-of-mouth recommendations.
New customers can be exciting – for the customer and the business. The customer gets the special treatment to get them on board, the business pats itself on the back for converting a lead. Win-win, right?
Well, only to a point. If the customer service stops after the first transaction has been secured the customer may feel neglected and the business may miss out on future sales – both from an existing customer and from the referrals they could generate.
Happy customers are a small business’s most valuable asset – four times more likely to convert compared to other leads and with a 16% higher lifetime value. So customer relationship maintenance post-sale is a critical part of any small business growth and marketing strategy.
In Jason He’s business, Kaleido Loans, 90% of new clients come from word-of-mouth. Here, he shares his insights on how to nurture customers and their loyalty, and use post-purchase follow-up to build customer lifetime value.
1. Make each interaction memorable
In residential mortgage broking, Jason says, new customers are greeted with fanfare – they’ve just bought a property and it’s an exciting time. But the fanfare fades faster than the customer’s excitement does.
“We aim to differentiate ourselves by focusing as much on post-settlement service, like touching base to make sure a customer’s repayments are in order. Otherwise the next call they get is from collections chasing up that first repayment – which they’ve lost track of in the excitement of moving in, renovating and so on,” Jason says.
That post-settlement timing, too, aims to leave a clear impression – Jason and his team are not just there in the moment and the rush, but are partners in a customer’s whole journey.
“And the last interaction a customer has with you is the one they remember. So make it count. Start by talking to your client a few days after a sale to make sure everything is going smoothly for them and they have what they need – that works whether you’re a mortgage broker or a plumber.”
2. Automation is your friend
“Our ethos is to be proactive – go to your customer instead of waiting for them to contact you about a problem. We have two channels of communication to facilitate this – one is the more human touch of a phone call and the other is set-and-forget emails,” says Jason.
“We use an automated workflow process attached to our customer relationship manager (CRM) database which sends our agents an email prompt when a phone call is due along with a guide to what should be covered in that call.”
And those set-and-forget emails? Jason’s team uses an email marketing campaign tool that sends out emails automatically to existing customers at particular times, letting them know about other products that might work for them.
Some businesses might automate emails based on time of year, such as a retailer around sale events, while others, such as a mortgage broker, might build email journeys that send specific emails based on the length of time someone has been a customer or on the actions a customer has taken.
“The phone calls are to check in and see if the customer has any questions. The emails are to keep us front-of-mind over the course of a few years and let the customer know what else we do without coming on too heavy.”
One of the advantages of automating this post-sale contact, Jason explains, is that it mitigates any risk of communication falling through the cracks when staff leave or change positions. You’re not relying on a note in someone’s diary to remember to follow up.
3. Ask for reviews
Reviews can play a role in search engine optimisation (SEO) – and positive Google reviews look particularly good on Google’s search engine results page.
“When a customer is doing a local search, our 149 reviews will push us further up the results than a company that has only three reviews. That can make all the difference in who that customer reaches out to,” Jason says.
In the early days of Kaleido Loans, the team asked for reviews from every client. Now, with many reviews already, Jason explains that the business doesn’t need reviews from every client – an automated email after settlement includes a link so the customer can leave a review if they wish.
“We often find people who do leave reviews go into a lot of detail about what they liked about the experience and that’s really helpful for our staff to see that what we do does make a difference,” Jason says. “And because mortgage lending is quite personal, reviews are a really important source of social proof. There’s a lot of trust involved in what we do and potential customers want to see we’ve delivered on that in the past.”
4. Create brand advocates
“We want to be the mortgage broker that gets recommended at the backyard barbecue or to a colleague,” says Jason. “You might have done a great job for your customer nine months ago but if you haven’t been in touch with them since, it’s unlikely you’re still front-of-mind. Our clients really appreciate that we are still in touch and looking for ways to add value.”
These recommendations are not only a handy way to potentially lower the cost of acquisition of new customers, they can be a powerful platform for quickly building rapport with new clients – which is why Jason’s team has taken deliberate action to build those referrals up to the point of 90% of new businesses coming via word-of-mouth.
“Keeping close to our existing clients and helping them become fans generates enough new business that we don’t have to keep investing in new lead generation,” Jason says.
5. Build customers for life
“If I had to give one tip to small business owners looking to grow their business, it would be to recognise the value of your existing customers. Our aim, for example, isn’t just to finance a customer’s home but to help finance their new car, a renovation, another property, a property for their kids and so on. It’s about building that lifetime relationship and lifetime value,” Jason says.
“Instead of just saving all your best deals and special treatment for new customers, make offerings to your existing customers. Roll out the red carpet, and keep it out.”
Need flexible access to funds that could help your business grow? Speak with one of our small business lending specialists.
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