The concept of after sales service is as important as sales. While it does not generate any revenue for the company, it surely does increase the goodwill of the organization in the market and amongst the customers. After sales service is very important to not only retain the customers but also to bring back lost customers. After sales service could be defined as the processes which are followed post the sale of the product. The nature of the services includes maintenance, guidance, repair etc.
The nature of after sales service depends entirely on the industry and the product. While some may require installation, others may require cleaning every couple of months.
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Following are a few steps for good after sales service :
- Updating the customers about the nature of after sales service.
- Updating the customers about the transit of the goods.
- Following up with the delivery team to ensure timely delivery.
- Following up on new customer or installation.
- Fast after sales service post complaint.
7 most common types of after sales service
1) Pre-Installation services
Whenever a product is bought it comes with a manual for installation. Depending on the nature of the product the installation may vary. While some products have very specific installation steps other products are customer friendly. Products like a ceiling fan, air conditioner, washing machine etc. require technical expertise for installation other products like mobile phones does not. Providing free pre-installation is one of the after sales services.
Most of the companies provide this for free of cost world very few companies may charge. Providing good installation services starts in the customer and customer service relations on a good note. Industrial machinery, electric household items, Copier machines, require technical expertise installation. Providing a demonstration is also a part of installation wherein the customer service team install the product and demonstrate the functions of the product.
2) User training
Training of the end user is another part of after sales service. In the case of industrial machinery, this is a very crucial part. Even in case of surgical equipment’s which are used in the operation theatres, it is very essential that the doctor has to get trained on the machine. Organizations like St Jude’s, Medtronic, etc. ensure they provide training to the end users or doctors in their case effectively. It is very essential that user training is provided propositions user is going to be handling the product.
3) Warranty services
This is perhaps the most common type of after sales service provided by almost every company for almost every product. Warranty services include repairing replacement of selected parts for a selected period of time. For example, Apple provides complete care of iPhone for a period of one year from the date of purchase. That is included in the Apple care. Customers have the option of extending the warranty by purchasing Apple care before the end of the official warranty.
For the first year, the customers are provided with free replacement or repairing of the device for any problem. While from the 2nd year they are charged if they do not have Apple care. In some cases, there could be selective warranty services like After sales service of the air conditioner. Many companies offer free repair and service for one year from the date of purchase but they charge if there is a replacement of any plastic components, similarity television will have a warranty of about 5 years but the remote of the television with having only year warranty of 1 or 2 years depending on the company.
In such a way different companies have different policies for their products. Warranty services are perhaps the best types of after sales service. Some companies provide a service of extended warranty wherein the customer can pay a little extra and get the warranty extended for a limited duration. Extended warranty is useful in the case of electronics.
4) Online support
E-Commerce companies have started providing online support for any of the product related queries. There is a dedicated helpline for customer service wherein the grievance redressal mechanism is carried out according to the standard procedure of the company. The customer may call the online support or chat as per his comfort, discuss the problem and get it resolved. Online support is very effective for software services and laptop support. The customer service can share the screen and resolve the problem immediately in most of the cases
For a Limited period of time companies provide free replacement of the product in case of any queries. However, this is with certain terms and conditions. In some cases, replacement may be of the entire device, or in other cases, replacement may be only of the defective part.
In case of returns, the product is returned to the company and the customer is issued with either the store credit or replaced product or the amount is refunded. The rules may vary according to the company. For example, Amazon provides returns for almost all products but a replacement for the limited products.
6) Features and benefits
One of the Types of after sales service, some companies provide additional features for example replacement of a part for a lifetime, for free counseling for the entire duration of the product. A perfect example of this would be when Google provided free unlimited storage of photos on Google photos for all the pixel devices.
However, this comes with the condition of the free storage extending to a limited time. Similarly, Apple provides exchange or upgrade of old mobile phones with new mobile phones in the US, storage devices like Western digital that provided a lifetime warranty for the external hard disks. If for any reason, the hard disks are corrupted they are replaced for free of cost if within the limit.
This usually works with software and electronics. Upgrading a software for the device for a limited period is one of the Types of After sales service followed by companies. The upgrades are for a limited time owing to the fact that the hardware remains the same throughout the years and it may not be compatible to run new software after a period of time.
For example, Apple follows the policy of providing Over-The-Air (OTA) upgrades for iOS software’s for about 4-5 years, a post which the upgrades stop. The customer may still use their devices but it won’t be supported by the latest software. Same is followed in the case of Android phones. The mobiles get the software upgrade for a few years – depending on the model – a post which, the upgradation stops. This is also considered a great marketing strategy to ensure regular upgradation of phones by customers.
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