After-sales service: fact or fiction?

Smiley-customer-service.jpgAs 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)?

Written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market.

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