Beyond Sales: Why after-sales services matter, and how to do it well
In the world of business, gaining new customers and retaining old ones remain a challenge. The problem is not only lie on the quality of the product or service, however. Based on studies, after-sales services also play a critical part.
The way service center frontliners deal with customers can make or break a brand’s name.
Word of mouth plays an important role in promoting brands. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media have made it easy for consumers to spread their positive or negative feedback on products and services.
“The positive perceptions and attitudes of the target customers towards the quality-elements offered by the firm, leads to both attraction of new customers, thanks to word-of-mouth (WOM) communication and recommendations of the existing customers,” according to a study by the Athens University of Economics and Business, Hellenic Open University, and University of the Aegean in Greece.
The empirical study published in the Journal of Service Theory and Practice showed that the quality of after-sales services affect satisfaction and the relationship between buyers and sellers.
Consumers look beyond price and functionality. The researchers noted that they also consider the appearance, attentiveness, kindness, and friendliness of staff, as well as the way they provide advice and instructions.
Customers who are satisfied with after-sales services repurchase the same brand, and even recommend it to friends and relatives, the study said.
Addressing customer needs after purchase
Despite product durability, factors such as power surges or the user’s own failure to follow the instruction manual speed up the breakdown of appliances.
Some of the common mistakes in handling appliances include putting dirty clothes in the washing machine without clearing the pockets of items, as well as failing to clean the coils of refrigerators on a regular basis.
“The competition has become tougher as consumers consider not just the price and functionality of appliances, but the quality of a brand’s after-sales service as well,” said Nobuhito Hayashi, Haier Philippines, Inc (HPI) president and CEO.
“Today, business operations revolve around satisfying customers and meeting their needs,” Hayashi said.
“Customers can rest assured of good quality products with warranties beyond industry standards, along with excellent after-sales services. With the aid of the internet, Haier also aims to create a ‘zero distance’ relationship with its customers by quickly responding to queries and concerns,” Hayashi added.
In the Philippines, customers can join the Haier Club for exclusive services by signing up through its website (http://user.haier.com/ids/ph/haier_login.jsp).
Haier further offers a 2-year warranty for all its appliances, and an additional 5-year warranty for its window-type air conditioners.
To meet customer needs after the purchase, HPI has 157 authorized service shops nationwide. Its service centers are located in Balintawak, San Fernando, Iloilo and Davao. It also has a Roving Supervisor in Cagayan De Oro, Naga, Tacloban, and Dagupan.
Employees in these centers underwent intensive technical and product training based on international standards.
From negative product feedback to positive brand experience
According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Science, after-sales service technicians who show care and concern to customers reduce negative emotions from product issues.
The impression that service personnel leave impacts a customer’s perception of an appliance brand.
Last year, HPI’s monthly after-sales customer satisfaction rate ranged from 94.22 percent to 98.60. In January this year, HPI surpassed its 97.53 percent target with a satisfaction rate of 98.7 percent.
The rates are based on “happy call” surveys conducted by Haier’s Customer Support team.
|Haier Customer Satisfaction Survey|
Hayashi said, “Through customer satisfaction surveys, we are able to monitor the performance of our after-sales services staff and ensure that our Filipino customers are able to get their money’s worth.”