Guest blog by Lindsay Hampson of eBridge Connections.
About the blogger
Lindsay Hampson lives and breathes all things integration, after the sale, and marketing at eBridge Connections. When not writing blogs or working with merchants, she is connecting with the many partners eBridge has; like Microsoft, Sage, NetSuite, SAP, Inuit, Epicor, Amazon, Magento, Shopify, eBay, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Walmart, Home Depot, Costco and many more. She proudly procrastinates around the holidays and orders her family’s gifts at the last moment (with free 2 day shipping).
While I don’t know you or your business personally, I can imagine the steps within your professional life have gone something like this:
- A winning idea was born
- You bought the rights to your URL
- You made the website
- You built your online shopping experience
- You marketed it
- You sold orders
Now is a good time to consider if your sales process is fast and professional especially, after the sale experience.
If you or someone you work with spends cycles getting prospects ‘to the buy button,’ but no effort on impressing after the sale, your customers:
- Might get shipped the wrong order
- Might get their order, but way too late (ie: after Christmas)
- Might have ordered something that is not actually in stock (oversell)
- Might get their order sent to an incorrect address
- Might leave a 1-star review that scares off other customers
- Might never buy again
You get the point. And you know: buyer expectations are high.
Before diving into the ideal after the sale experience, what are some logistical or business-related blips that cause upset customers?
- Inventory levels were displayed wrong on your site
- You sold an item on one channel, but this -1 wasn’t reflected on another channel’s stock
- Someone you work with copied and pasted the customer’s address into their shipping station, and they made an error
- You received 200 sales orders this month, and processing takes time, so shipping gets backlogged
Why should you have a slick “after the sale” process?
It makes the customer happy. End of story. And, if you’re selling on a marketplace, you could avoid fines for delays.
Best practices for after the sale
Fast. Correct. Open Communication. Might I suggest printing those 3 words on a post-it on your monitor? That’s what makes happy customers return to buy again. Oh, and they may even tell their friends.
After working with over 600 companies selling their goods to buyers with high expectations, these are the steps that matter after the sale:
- Your customer submits their order and gets a ‘thank you’ page
- They get an email saying thank you and the order details are confirmed
- They get the tracking number within the time promised
- Their order arrives on time, and correctly
- Anything that needs to be returned can be done easily and quickly
- Money is processed quickly for orders or returns
- You are easy to find in all the channels that they may shop in the future
4 things you can do to improve your after the sale experience
And so I’ll leave you with a few actionable things to do, today.
- Write down the steps involved in your sales process, from payment processing to entering details into your accounting system to shipping, tracking, and returns
- If you don’t know, identify the accounting tool your business uses
- Identify what steps are manual today (ie: “inventory levels across multiple stores need to be manually adjusted”)
- Consider what manual steps can be automated with a simple accounting-to-ecommerce store data integration
A plan to sync or link your business system is worth a consideration if you’re bringing in 200 sales orders a month. And if you’re selling on multiple channels (even in-store) data integration makes a whole lot of sense.