In eCommerce, we put a lot of resources into perfecting the customer journey from acquisition to checkout. Unfortunately, it means that the journey after purchase is often forgotten.

However, nailing the customer experience from end to end can provide a huge competitive advantage for both startups and enterprises alike, since very few companies have got it right. In fact, only 1% of customers feel like their expectations are consistently met.

In this article, we’ll share why post-purchase service such as shipping and fulfillment is so important, and how you can continue to deliver a great customer experience — even as you grow.

Great Post-Purchase Service Wins Business

The post-purchase experience is incredibly important in securing the goodwill of your customers. Once the payment has been made, cognitive dissonance can set in fast.

If anything goes wrong — whether it’s a delayed shipment, not getting what they want, or just a bad follow-up email — customers will start to doubt if they want to do business with you again.

However, providing great service, even when you already have their cash in the bank, turns one-time buyers into repeat customers and referrers.

Bring in more repeat customers

Acquiring a new customer is six times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Fortunately, we know the secret to keeping customers coming back: consistently great customer service.

In fact, 58% of customers will never do business with the same company after a bad service experience.

What does a good customer experience look like? The CEB completed a study of more than 75,000 consumers, and found that the number one driver of loyalty was a low-effort experience.

Customers want it to be easy to do business with you, even if they’ve already paid. Provide an effortless experience, and you’ll gain more repeat customers.

Win more positive referrals

48% of customers will share their story with more than 5 friends if they have a bad experience with your company.

But perhaps surprisingly, customers that have an issue resolved, are more likely to become advocates for your company than customers who’ve never experienced an issue. This is called the service recovery paradox.

The service recovery paradox is a great opportunity to win over customers post-purchase. Even if a customer encounters a problem (such as a defective product or a delayed shipment), it’s important to see this as another opportunity to win them over.

Customers love shopping at eCommerce stores that make it easy to resolve issues - and, they are more likely to refer you to their friends. In fact, 87% of customers who’ve had a good experience share it with their friends.

How to scale great customer service

When you’re not on a first name basis with most of your customers, it gets a lot harder to provide consistently excellent support. And consistency is what you need.

Every purchase, every product, every delivery needs to be handled effortlessly. But when you’ve got a million moving pieces — and a big team of customer service agents — managing an end to end customer experience is incredibly difficult.

Fortunately, there are tools available to help.

One of the most important requirements for good customer service is context. In order to help a customer after they’ve completed the purchase, front line agents need to have the full picture of who the customer is.

This might include their most recent purchases, their shipping information and any other details that helps deliver a better, more personalized experience.

Using a competitive eCommerce solution will serve up this context easily.

You can collect the necessary information, integrate it with any systems you already use to deal with customer inquiries and have even more power to help customers get what they need.

If you’ve got the best tools on your side, you can do even more - check shipping information, process refunds and confirm inventory levels - making resolving post-purchase service needs a breeze.

An even better way to scale is to prevent customers from needing to contact you in the first place. Tools like AfterShip and BigCommerce’s native shipping functionality allow customers to track their own orders, reschedule deliveries, request returns and exchanges, without even needing to pick up the phone.

Harness the power

Picture this: You’ve purchased a gift for your dad from an online retailer, like ManCrates. When it arrives, there was an issue with the shipping and your shiny new gift has been damaged. You call up the customer support team to help get a replacement.

With many ecommerce companies, you’d probably be asked for information like your order number, the tracking number, name, address, etc. You might be put on hold while the agent flips between order logs, a CRM and their internal inventory system and pieces together a replacement for you.

Your exciting new purchase just became an enormous hassle.

In today’s world, this just isn’t good enough. Using the right tools will empower your customer service team to quickly and effortlessly review a customer’s purchase, without forcing systems and processes in the way.

Instead of endless questions and a long hold time, your customer is on their way within seconds - and your customer service agent is on to delighting the next customer needing help.

Contrast the ugly situation above, with a real life experience a ManCrates customer had, even though the issue wasn’t the merchant’s fault:

Harnessing the power of modern eCommerce solutions means providing an effortless customer experience - even post-purchase.