Post-Purchase CX: The Forgotten Step on the Customer Journey

Jul 12, 2017


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Article ImageFocused change within a business is a hard reality to create, especially when so many stakeholders want different things from their internal teams. But delivering a superior customer experience is one thing an entire organization can get behind. For the past several years, CX has dominated industry conversations--reaching all corners of the organization, from marketing to IT, to the executive suite and everywhere in between. There is good reason for this–customers are increasingly selective when it comes to the brands they do business with and will not tolerate a poor experience.

From the first time a customer or prospect engages with any external-facing facet of a business, that CX is being tested. And while many organizations are laser-focused on making a sale to drive revenue, delivering a positive experience must go far beyond the initial transaction. Read any marketing publication today and you will find information on how to address the customer’s needs before an actual purchase is made, but few touch on one of the most important parts of the overall customer journey: the post-purchase customer experience.

To illustrate this concept, here is an example many people will be able to relate to. Think about your spouse or significant other–after your first date, you knew this person was the one. You had a great dinner, fantastic conversation, and nothing could have been more perfect. You part ways and are both interested in seeing each other again, but you never call. That is no way to continue to build a relationship, and your budding relationship will end before it even gets started. Did you expect the relationship to continue without putting in the effort to follow up? Unfortunately, many companies fall into this same pattern, and only focus on the courtship of a customer or client, through to the purchase phase. While they do get what they want –a sale – a repeat or loyal customer has not been secured due to the lack of focus on the post-purchase CX.

The marketing function is responsible for “owning” the customer experience in many organizations. But marketers often focus on orchestrating and delivering stellar pre-purchase customer experiences, leaving the post-purchase experience as an afterthought or relying solely on traditional customer care teams to manage this ever-important endeavor. It is time to remove CX ownership from one internal stakeholder, but instead share that responsibility throughout the organization. To achieve this, global marketers must make a concerted effort to bridge the gap with customer care professionals to ensure that both of their efforts are addressing a common goal in delivering a stellar CX.

Customer care teams can learn from some of the pre-sale CX strategies that marketers have been using for years. Global marketers are hyper-focused on the customer acquisition process. They make a concerted effort to address every channel touch point with the customer, provide relevant content to guide the customer through the purchase decision process, and make sure that all content is localized to each region that the company plans to serve. After all of that effort, the sale is made and everyone is happy, right? But we now know that CX needs to extend beyond the sale.

A key area where customer care professionals often fall short is their ability to provide multilingual communications during the post purchase phase of the customer journey. Imagine a product has been sold to a Korean speaking customer. All of the marketing materials a brand used to acquire this customer were served up in her native language to meet the customer’s needs and expectations. Now that the customer has the product in hand, an issue or question arises so she goes to the customer care team to have that resolved. However, the customer care team isn’t equipped with the proper tools to address the customer’s questions in her native language. There are no live-chat options and no content or FAQs available in Korean. The customer is ultimately left holding the bag and must solve her problems with no support from the company. Is this an example of a superior customer experience? You can bet the customer won’t be coming back.

This is an issue that has become an unintended consequence of scale. In the siloed approach, which many organizations still employ, the customer care and marketing teams are kept separate and don’t communicate or share best practices. The first person to notice this disconnect will undoubtedly be the customer, and the consequences are serious. According to research from ICMI and Lionbridge, 86% of buyers noted that they will pay more for a better customer experience – and if they don’t receive what they expect, organizations can expect to see 89% switching to a competitor. Additionally, 74% of consumers are more likely to repurchase when offered tailored post-sale customer care, which further emphasizes how critical this step is to building solid relationships and repeat customers.

Organizational design can play a critical role in addressing CX shortcomings. In the traditional C-Suite, the CMO is focused on marketing and the CCO is focused on customer care. Organizations that have given the chief experience officer – or CXO – role a try have seen success in bridging these organizational silos. By now organizations know they need to deliver a superior customer experience to remain competitive and stay alive in today’s marketplace. The next step is to address CX shortfalls and share best practices across the entire organization to ensure the entire customer journey – from interest to acquisition to service – is presented in the most personal and relevant way possible.


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