6 Guiding Principles for a Perfect Post-Purchase Experience

The Post-Purchase Communication Guide is a three-part series on how to maximize customer loyalty, retention, and revenue after the sale.

In part 1, we discussed the extraordinary benefits of post-purchase communication

Now we’ll dive into creating the perfect post-purchase experience.

I know perfect can sound unobtainable. But as Vince Lombardi said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” So we’re giving you the 6 guiding principles to perfect your practice and post-purchase experience. 

#1 – Anticipate needs & set expectations

Can you believe that consumers check the status of their order 4.6 times on average to ease the anxiety of “Where is my order?” and even “Will I get it in time? Or at all?”. 

That’s huge. So what can you do to anticipate customer needs and expectations? 

First, let’s look at what customers care about the most:

The Post-Purchase Hierarchy of Needs

The Post-Purchase Experience Hierarchy of Needs is simple. Customers want to know: 

  1. When will I get my order? 
  2. Is it running on time? Or is there an issue? 
  3. What’s in the order? (Tip: Include images of the contents of the shipment. You could even link them to the shop page)
  4. What to expect? I.e., How do I prepare for my delivery? 

In the buyer’s journey examples below, you can see that most anxiety is around when the package begins to move. And if not, is it still on track? 

The customer needs to know when they can anticipate their order showing up, no matter how big or small. So they can plan to wear those new shoes out or clear space for a new piece of furniture. 

Post-Purchase Experience: Parcel Buyer’s Journey

Parcel Buyer’s Journey

Post-Purchase Experience: Freight Buyer’s Journey

Freight Buyer’s Journey

You can learn a lot from the buyer’s journey. The examples above are a great start, but understanding your customers’ unique journeys with your brand provides more relevant context. Map out your own for even better results.  

Then use that data to alert customers at important milestones promptly and make sure each alert is: 

  • Meaningful and purposeful
  • Actionable with clear steps
  • Consistent with messaging and branding

#2 – Update customers, even if it’s bad news

What’s worse than delivering bad news? 

Your customer being left in the dark. 

I get it; no one wants to deliver bad news. But it’s occasionally part of the relationship and can even increase loyalty and higher satisfaction — if addressed properly. This is called the Service Recovery Paradox.

See how the YDesign Group increased positive feedback, customer loyalty, and cost savings using Convey, with a 20% increase in NPS >>

Being proactive with order information every step of the way can build trust, and more importantly, give your customers peace of mind. Because over 93% of customers expect you to:

  • Communicate when there is an issue
  • Proactively identify and resolve delivery issues
  • Send real-time alerts when the estimated delivery date changes

You can see more expectations and set communication standards in our Communication 101: Successful Shopper-Retailer Relationships guide. 

#3 – Communicate via different channels (not just email)

It’s important to know your audience and their preferences to reach them on time and where they are. Email is still popular, but other channels are growing fast. 

So choose wisely. Or, instead of guessing, you can just ask your customers their preferred method of communication, so they don’t miss any important updates. 

#4 – Guide shoppers to solve their own problems

“88% of millennials only want to escalate matters to a customer service rep if they can’t figure out how to solve the issue on their own first.”TOTAL RETAIL

It’s no surprise that as we continue going digital, people want to spend less time on the phone and just figure things out on their own. 

In fact, 33% of shoppers would rather clean toilets than talk to a customer service representative

Now is the time to consider chatbots and other artificial intelligence-powered channels to help with basic customer inquiries like: 

This frees up your customer support team to provide even more value to customers experiencing complicated or urgent issues.

#5 – Prioritize order updates

After the purchase, order updates come first. The last thing you want to do is send promotional emails before order update emails. 

Customers want to see the status of their order before they see anything else. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t promote at all. 

You could link to a branded page (from the order update email) with more opportunities to cross-promote, such as a:

  • Tracking page
  • Sign up for alerts page
  • Educational page (like how to use or care for the product)
  • Account Settings or Information page

Then you could include a recommended products section or a relevant promotion like in this example, which features a link to a current sale alongside delivery information.

#6 – Solicit feedback

And finally, just ask customers for feedback. You can send an email that links to a form or use SMS to best match your customers’ preferences. 

This feedback process  can even be automated, so you just have to review the data and make improvements. And if you go beyond resolving individual cases and scale your feedback data, you may even discover new opportunities. Perhaps one of your carriers struggles with on-time delivery in a certain region, for example, which could be unearthed by negative feedback. That could help you identify the need for a new regional partner, ultimately boosting customer satisfaction. 

You’ll get actionable insights while making your customers feel heard. 

The perfect post-purchase experience is memorable and worth sharing

By following these 6 guiding principles you’re not only creating a post-purchase experience that increases customer loyalty, retention, and revenue, but you’re also creating a delivery experience that’s memorable and worth sharing. 

Want to know how to put it all together and make it happen? Check out part 3 of the Post-Purchase Communication Guide, where you’ll learn how to build a post-purchase engagement process that bolsters your brand — including recommended alerts, HTML support, accessibility guidelines, and more. Sign up here to stay up-to-date and get more tips for developing the best possible last mile experience.

Next Article: How to Build a Post-Purchase Engagement Process That Bolsters Your Brand >>