DEFINING YOUR AFTER-SALES SERVICE APPROACH

Knowing how to sell a hearing aid to someone in your office is easy. Figuring out how to stay in touch with them after they walk out the door is more difficult.
When Elaine Allison’s 83-year-old father-in-law meets his friends for coffee each week, two subjects often come up: health and technology. They discuss their aches and pains, their new doctor, and the new gadgets they have to make life easier. For many, those gadgets are digital hearing aids, and their recommendation is an important part of any sales strategy.
You can bet if the customer is not happy, they won’t come back and they won’t recommend you and they may even speak poorly of the service or quality of their device, not only at coffee but now online to 500 of their friends
- Elaine Allison, customer service expert
The power of recommendation
Allison is a customer service expert who has helped scores of American and Canadian companies to learn how to get and keep customers coming in the door. She says that one of the best after-sales strategies involves encouraging peer-to-peer recommendation through all sales channels including social media, websites, and print media.

One way to assure this recommendation is through careful and consistent follow-up, and the internet is increasingly becoming the best place to do this.

“Customer service is moving online,” she says. “It is cost-effective, efficient and can keep you more closely connected to your customers.” Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all good channels for sharing customer testimonials and encouraging recommendation.

It’s a tactic that Richard Moss, Owner of Oxford Hearing Centre in England, has used in his business. A YouTube earwax removal clinic has received over a million views on YouTube, and Moss says he has received many referrals from that video.
Staying organized
With all the hype over social media, some may forget old-fashioned personal contact.

“The personal touch is still good if a business has revenues to cover the costs, plus time to phone or set up a face-to-face appointment, especially if that is what the customer prefers,” says Allison.

To learn how to get organized and keep in touch with customers, Moss commissioned two consultants who advised him that he needed to stay in touch with clients 8-10 times per year. The idea of contacting each client 8-10 times per year seemed daunting, but Moss quickly learned that it could easily be done with the right tools. His office administration system automates most of his client contact, so mailings and phone calls tell customers about post-fitting assessments and services are scheduled automatically. The system also leaves gaps in the schedule for walk-ins and emergency appointments, and sends reminders for the receptionist to follow up if the client does not respond by telephone.

“It makes you incredibly efficient and it means that your schedule is regularly organized in advance,” he says. “You also have to be disciplined in how you run your scheduler so you don’t fill it full of non-income generating review appointments instead of new hearing tests.”
Information over ads
There is a point where service becomes too much. Allison says it’s important not to overload customers with too much marketing or information. Instead, she recommends providing information so customers can come to you by setting up websites and social media channels that are easily accessible to customers.

“Online and electronic tools allow the customer to view it in their time without the interruption of a phone call,” she says.

Moss says providing information, rather than a sales pitch, results in the most success. In addition to the online earwax clinic, he also sends out a quarterly newsletter, has a battery recycling service, and ran a contest that identified “hearing-friendly restaurants” in his local area. This outreach not only keeps customers informed, it also keeps Oxford Hearing Centre fresh in their minds.

“Referral is the best. It’s a first-party that has already experienced all your services and is simply reiterating their experience to the next person,” he says.
If you can encourage your clients to become company advocates and ambassadors, then they’re doing all the marketing on your behalf
- Elaine Allison, customer service expert

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