For some products and services, such as power tools or software, an owner’s manual is a very necessary and accepted part of the deal. But many businesses can take this notion to heart and use it as part of their education experience, even if others in the industry don’t practice this approach.
I know I love it when I buy a product and the first thing I receive is a “getting started” guide, followed by a full tutorial, followed by a daily “have you tried this tip” emails series.
So often we work hard to create a lead, nurture that lead, convert that lead and make a sale—but then nothing.
Repeat sales and referrals come from the experience our customers have after the sale—from the very last contact they have with our organization.
When we take the time to create additional training and education, we help our customers get more value from the goods and services they purchase and that’s how we charge a premium!
How often have you purchased a product that you were very excited about, but then gently pushed it aside once you struggled to make it do what the brochure promised. I can think of a lot of software that I’ve purchased over the years that once I got a few power tips became much more useful and ultimately valuable to me—think upgrades here.
Every business, product, or service can and should create their version of an operating manual that contains various forms of higher education delivered in a variety of available formats and mediums.
Yes, I know, this is going to take some work on your part, but when we get proactive with education after the sale it also allows you subtly promote additional products and services, stay top of mind and perhaps ward of simple customer service calls.
Here are some specific ideas that might get you started producing your manual:
- Create a getting-started guide for your product, company, or service
- Create a series of how-to videos and promote the links to them in your new customer kit or packing slip
- Create an automated e-mail series that teaches lessons and tips
- Create an online or off-line tutorial session and hold it every Monday at 10:00 A.M. for all new customers. (Make sure everyone in the company can conduct these!)
- Create a follow-up phone consultation session as part of your product
And if you really want to turn this idea into a customer focused project, recruit actual customers that would be willing to let you shoot video of them using your product or talking about your service in ways that would be instructive to new or prospective users or customers. By including your existing customers in your manual, you add an even greater level of credibility, testimonial, and customer loyalty. Heck, it might even turn into some fun as well.
It may take a little extra effort initially to create these tools, but the dividends in terms of customer satisfaction and word of mouth will be vast.
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant and author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine.