After-sales service: fact or fiction?

As a consumer, I get the impression that after-sales service is something granted to us by businesses as a favour, and not a right to which we are entitled. This article will take a closer look at this thorny issue.

A few general principles of after-sales Service

  • As business owners we are under a legal obligation to perform within the limits of our product or service guarantees. It is important that your point-of-sale staff inform clients of their rights and responsibilities with regard to the guarantee guidelines.
  • If an item bought by a client is obviously broken or faulty, and there is no clear evidence of negligent actions by the client, such an item should be repaired or replaced immediately.
  • It is important not to treat clients like criminals when they want to return a faulty product, or wish to have it replaced.
  • If a client has met all the requirements of your guarantee and exchange policy, make it easy – in other words, keep the forms to be completed in triplicate (for example) to a minimum.  Remember that they had paid you for something that is supposed to work. They just wish to be placed in the same position again.
  • Make it a point to contact a client who had exchanged a product, or had it repaired, after a couple of days to find out whether they are satisfied with the exchanged or repaired product. A little bit of effort will take you a long way in terms of client satisfaction.

Dr Philip Kotler, internationally recognized marketing expert, provides the following as examples of good after-sales service:

  • A satisfied client buys more and stays loyal to your business or brand for longer periods
  • A satisfied client speaks positively about your business and product or service
  • A satisfied client takes less note of competing brand names and advertisements and is less price sensitive
  • It is easier to promote new products of a business to a satisfied client
  • It is cheaper to service a regular client than to recruit a new client

Good after-sales service is, in my opinion, an element that could distinguish your business from the rest.  Is the after-sales service of your business only articulated in your product or service guarantee (fiction) or does it come to life in practice (fact)?


The content in this article was provided by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market. Sanlam is a diversified financial services group, headquartered in South Africa, operating across a number of selected global markets.

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