The post-purchase experience in the Brand-customer relationship remains one of the most underleveraged yet potentially powerful ways to drive sustainable, profitable, and long-term value back to the company. If more companies considered these words, then marketing budgets might be spent a little differently.
The post-purchase experience – from the point the sale was made until…forever – often takes a back seat to customer acquisition efforts, if it gets any attention at all. Your bottom line is business growth, which can only be achieved by attracting new customers, right?
If this is your current strategy, you might have a “holy bucket.” If you're trying to fill a bucket with a hole in the bottom, you can only grow the amount of water in it by frantically adding more and more water. But what if you diverted some of your water-filling efforts to fix and maintain that hole in the bottom? What sort of growth might you see then?
Is Your Company Leaking Loyal Customers?
The only way to gauge loyalty after a purchase is to connect with your customers at post-purchase touchpoints. Some products or services have inherent opportunities to maintain a connection after the sale (like an online purchase with shipment tracking), while others require more strategic effort (like a nurse taking the time to call a patient after an appointment).
Utilizing your post-purchase touchpoints to get feedback can help you develop a picture of how customers are experiencing your Brand. Some perceptions you'll want to be aware of are:
- Quality Provided: Customers need to feel like their money was well-spent with you. Did the product seem well-suited to their needs? Did the service meet needs quickly and cordially?
- Expectations Met: Did the Brand live up to its promise throughout the life cycle of this purchase?
- Likelihood to Recommend: The most valuable customer is the one who advocates and refers your Brand to others. Is your Brand recommendable? Why or why not?
Above and Beyond Satisfaction
Continuing to ‘delight’ customers and discovering customer satisfaction issues (and fixing them) are key goals of post-purchase touchpoint marketing. But those are just two goals. How else can post-purchase touchpoint marketing build your customer base?
- Invite repeat business. Loyalty programs. Product recommendations based on previous purchases. Coupons and offers for future purchases. Using post-purchase touchpoints, you can maintain customer interest in your Brand and get more mileage out of your pre-purchase and purchase marketing.
- Offer stellar support. Browse reviews on any product online, and you'll see the strong positive (or negative) impact that customer service has. Even broken or faulty products routinely get 5-stars if the customer felt listened to and taken care of. Maintaining a positive connection at post-purchase touchpoints means you're bound to offer great support.
- Gain a greater understanding of the post-purchase life cycle. Many companies (possibly even your competitors) have no idea what happens after that purchase is made. As you discover more about your product or service's life cycle post-purchase, you'll gain a better understanding of how to improve and market the experience
Post-Purchase Touchpoints in the Real World
Concepts are great, but let's look at a real example. We've been following the optomap®, a disease-detecting exam offered by our client, Optos, at partnering optometrist offices. In our pre-purchase and purchase marketing, we focused on touchpoints that would educate patients about the benefits and low cost of the service. Now that the purchase has been made, our touchpoints included:
- The doctor's office can use the optomap exam results as a benchmark, scheduling future appointments to track progress
- Following the exam, an office staff member calls patients to check up on them and see if they have any questions
- After the exam, the doctor’s office can email the optomap exam image to the patient so they have the benchmark for their records
- eNewsletters are sent to patients who are interested in receiving more information and special offers
Word-of-mouth is a powerful force in marketing. Next week, we'll focus on Influencer Touchpoints – don't miss it!
This is part 4 of our Touchpoint Series. Follow our entire series:
Part 1: Touchpoints Through the Purchase Process – What Are You Missing?
Part 2: Pre-purchase Touchpoints: The Great Unknown
Part 3: Purchase Touchpoints: Maximizing the Brand Experience