Cassandra Brighter· Author
In a recent article I spoke about the stages that lead to a sale: Know, Like, Trust.
Now let’s talk about what happens after the purchase.
Once the customer does purchase something from your store, a very important dynamic unfolds. The customer has taken you up on a promise, they’ve put their trust -and their money- in your hands. They expect you will deliver on that promise. This means the right product or service, delivered in a timely manner, properly packaged and protected, with everything needed for them to use, enjoy, and benefit from the item purchased.
In short, your website has promised “you can trust us,” and the customer has responded with “ok, I’ll trust you.” What happens next is critical.
In order for the promise to be fulfilled:
- The item needs to arrive on time (or before the promised date);
- The item needs to match the description, meeting or exceeding the expectations created at the time of purchase;
- The item needs to be ready for use, with all needed components included (“batteries not included” has been etched in our collective consciousness as a source of disappointment on Christmas morning.);
- The item needs to include clear instructions for use, wear, care and maintenance;
- The item needs to perform as promised.
Something that few merchants consider is the closing of the loop, by asking the consumer, was the package received? Did the package meet their expectations? How did the product perform, based on the list above? When merchants leave out this step they’re wasting an important opportunity for connection, as well as the opportunity to cement in the user’s mind their positive thoughts about the experience.
POST-SALE STEPS: ENJOY
When the product meets all of these requirements, the customer can USE the product. Using and enjoying are not exactly the same thing. How can we ensure the customer enjoys it? How can we move beyond fulfillment and toward delight?
Enjoy can apply to the product itself, but can also extend to the experience as a whole. As a merchant, you can add to the user’s enjoyment at every step of the above checklist. A customer will enjoy receiving the package sooner than expected. They’ll enjoy finding the item exceeds expectations in quality, quantity, packaging, accessories included, in the provided instructions, and of course in its performance.
A customer may also enjoy finding a personal note, a chocolate, a coupon for their next purchase, or any other gesture that adds value.
We deliver value by fulfilling expectations. We deliver delight by providing serendipity – unexpected positive outcomes.
A great way to know if your fulfillment delights your customers if they enjoyed the experience, is by following up after fulfillment. This is a step many merchants neglect. This step catches problems, prevents refunds, and helps cement positive feelings
POST-SALE STEPS: RAVE
People don’t rave about a satisfactory purchase. Ordering something, then receiving it, is nothing out of the ordinary. It doesn’t break a pattern, it doesn’t startle, it doesn’t surprise. A delay, a missing component, a broken piece or missing manual – all of these do disrupt the pattern and create a memorable (negative) experience.
They say an unhappy customer will complain to ten people, while a satisfied customer may tell one person. Merchants and service providers often complain about this asymmetry of feedback. What merchants and service providers miss is that the delighted customer will tell it to twenty. The delighted customer may never tire of retelling the win – and singing your praises every time.
Delight is as surprising as disappointment. It makes people sit up and notice. It creates an event in their lives. And this is something they’ll want to share.
HELP THEM TELL THE STORY
While word-of-mouth stories about positive experiences are great, strangers don’t hear about them unless they’re spread through online reviews. That’s why a critical piece of Bizrate Insights Online Buyer Solutions is the Fulfillment Survey. Customers who purchase a product from your site provide their feedback through an email that gets sent directly to their inbox on the day they receive their item. Positive reviews are then automatically syndicated to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines, boosting your online seller reputation.
Talk with us today to start spreading the delightful experiences you work hard to provide your customers.
(This is Part Two of a series – look for the final part – coming soon!)