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Article 5 min read

3 post purchase strategies to improve retailers’ customer experience

For many retailers, the customer experience ends once the purchase is final. However, not investing in post purchase experience might just cost retailers their customers-and a big chunk of their revenue.

By Lilia Krauser, Staff Writer

Last updated August 9, 2022

Have you ever made a late night purchase online, only to realise you have put in the wrong delivery details? You can’t find a ‘cancel/amend order’ section on the website, nor on your confirmation email. The next logical step is to talk to customer service. But, after spending hours looking for a way to contact them on countless different channels, you realise you’re going to have to wait until business hours the next day to speak to an agent and hope it won’t be too late to amend your order.

Chances are, you’re not alone. Ninety-four percent of shoppers claim to have had a negative post-purchase experience in the past 12 months. And, in a situation like this, most customers will tell their friends and family about it, or post a negative review online. This could threaten retailers’ customer acquisition and retention efforts, as 67 percent of customers would be less likely to shop with them after hearing someone they know had a bad experience.

Understandably, until early 2020, most customers made their purchases in store, making the possibility of a negative post purchase experience pretty slim. Fast forward to today, where 64 percent of UK customers buy their clothes online, the risk for a bad experience is much higher. Plus, with half of European customers saying that they would switch retailers after a single bad experience, retailers must rethink their CX strategy beyond the point of purchase.

So, what can retailers do to improve their post purchase customer experience?

Help customers help themselves

Retailers need to empower their customers with self service options. 58 percent of European consumers say they expect retailers to have self service content available to them, as most customers (69 percent) want to resolve simple issues themselves. This allows agents to focus on other, more complex issues, while customers get to solve the simpler ones on their own, provided that the self service tools available are helpful.

These tools include FAQs (frequently asked questions), product care pages, blogs, videos or any type of content that addresses the most common customer issues. Another popular option is to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) like chatbots, as 54 percent of European consumers find them useful for simpler issues. Most retailers use chatbots to:

– Provide links and information that can help resolve customer issues.
– Offer quicker, more convenient replies for simple issues
– Deliver answers and responses outside of normal business hours

Therefore, in the example above, the customer would have either been able to find a ‘cancel/amend order’ section in the self service portal, or solved his issue with the help of a chatbot.

Take customer service to the next level

It’s not a guarantee that customers will be able to solve their issue on their own, as 71 percent of European retailers say that less than half of their customers can actually do so. As a result, it’s important for retailers to have agents ready to deliver quality service.

A classic example of a post purchase customer issue that usually requires the help of a support agent is product returns, as according to Shopify, almost a quarter (20 percent) of items bought online are returned. Customers are more likely to be frustrated or exhausted before they reach a support agent, especially if they tried to solve the issue on their own beforehand. This is where the role of customer service agents is key, as it can make or break the relationship a customer has with the retailer, also known as the ‘Moment of Truth’. In this moment, almost half of customers (47 per cent) say that a helpful and empathetic agent is what matters most when attempting to solve an issue. If retailers are able to train their agents by building empathy, they just might turn frustrated customers into their biggest fans.

A great way to know whether retailers are offering great customer service, is by gathering feedback once the ticket is closed. This allows retailers to understand which area of their customer service they can improve and see how efficient their support agents are in building and developing long lasting relationships with their customers.

Provide accessible customer service wherever customers are

Let’s go back to our first example. You’re looking for a way to contact customer service on countless channels: the retailer’s website, the confirmation email, app and social media channels, until you finally find their number after doing a google search. In most cases, this will frustrate the majority of customers, threatening the loyalty they have towards a retailer.

One easy way to avoid this problem is by adopting an omnichannel approach. In other words, creating connected and consistent customer experiences across all channels. This enables retailers to collect customer data across all platforms which gives agents full context of a specific customer issue. In turn, agents can provide high quality, personalised service to their customers.

By offering omnichannel customer service, retailers are reducing the amount of time customers spend trying to find the right information. Retailers can then eliminate many friction points within the post purchase customer experience as well as increase their bottom line. In fact, 93 percent of customers will spend more with retailers that offer their preferred methods to get in touch with customer service, such as phone, chat etc.

There will always be a small chunk of customers who encounter some form of issue within their post purchase experience. However, the quality of the information available to them on all channels–as well as helpful and empathetic support agents will play a key role in retaining, and in some cases acquiring, customers in the long-term.

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