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#4.08: The After the Sale Issue

Your relationship with a new customer begins after they press the checkout button. Think beyond the sale to keep customers happy.

1> Provide Post-Purchase Problem-Solvers
2> Find Friends to Feature In Your Forms
3> Invite Involvement In The Interim

1> Provide Post-Purchase Problem-Solvers

Ever take the time to fill out a rebate, only to curse the manufacturer for making the process so clumsy and cumbersome? Take care of your customers after the sale and you’ll bring them back to do more business with you. Staples built an online rebate center that allows shoppers to search an extensive database of manufacturer rebates and use a tracking system to monitor payments. Best of all, the website automatically fills out forms for repeat customers. Make life easier for customers after the sale and they’ll continue to use your hassle-free services.

THE LESSON: Be there for your customers after they buy, and they’ll be back to buy more.

2> Find Friends to Feature In Your Forms

Smart marketers don’t waste opportunities to build relationships for themselves or their partners. The New York Times uses its registration page to target new subscribers for email newsletters, and to build lists for partners. When you complete the form, the Times presents offers from partners that they think would benefit the user. One partner, Yesmail, offers free newsletters on topics such as “Computer Software” or “Travel and Leisure.” Another partner, HP, uses its relationship with the New York Times to get new subscribers for a monthly email about HP products. The “thank you” pages offer even more opportunities. It’s a great deal all around: The Times gets revenue from it’s marketing partners; it’s customers get interesting offers and opportunities.

THE LESSON: It’s not the end of a sale when a customer fills out a form. Use the transaction to do more for them, for you, and for your partners.

3> Invite Involvement In The Interim

Your customers came to your door, made a selection, and purchased something from you. Now, you should invite them to stay for a while. Dell accomplishes this by giving its computer buyers a window into the production process. Once a machine is selected, Dell builds upon its customized experience by letting customers track the entire process, from assembly to delivery. Not only does this give new customers a sense of pride and satisfaction in their personalized purchase, it keeps them coming back to the Dell site so the computer company can continue its pitch for accessories and add-ons.

THE LESSON: Don’t leave your customers in the dark between purchase and delivery. Give them a reason to stay interested and involved.

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