customer support

Enhancing the full customer journey with pre-sales + post-sales customer support

Photo of Mikayla Fuller
by   Mikayla Fuller
March 11, 2024

What are you doing to help your eCommerce shoppers decide to click the “buy” button? Pre-sales support is just as important as post-sales support, though many eCommerce businesses aren’t taking advantage of its full potential.

Here’s the tea: pre-sales can be a huge revenue generator. Companies with strong pre-sales consistently achieve win rates of 40-50% in new business. Influx has built support teams for more than 300 high-growth brands in the US, Australia, and Europe, and we’re here to help your team reach its full potential.

We spoke with Bernadette, Influx’s Implementation Director who’s been with us for 7+ years, to help you navigate through pre/post-sales support and master the end-to-end customer service experience. Let’s delve in!

What is eCommerce pre-sales support?

eCommerce pre-sales support is a type of customer service that provides assistance and information to potential online customers before they make a purchase. Pre-sales includes answering questions, providing product details, and guiding potential customers through the decision-making process to help them understand how a product can meet their needs.

Bernadette nails it on the head…

The main goal of pre-sales is brand loyalty, increased conversions, and boosting the customer experience. We want customers to make informed purchases and come back to the brand.

Effective pre-sales support involves personalized interactions, tailored product demonstrations, and persuasive sales pitches that increase revenue. Through these efforts, businesses can effectively nurture leads and convert prospects into satisfied customers.

What is eCommerce post-sales support?

eCommerce post-sales support happens after a customer has bought a product online. Where pre-sales is all about educating the customer and inching towards making a sale, post-sales support aims to ensure customer satisfaction, build loyalty, and encourage repeat business.

The objective of post-sales support is to provide responsive and effective assistance to customers, resolving any concerns they may have and ultimately fostering a positive relationship that extends beyond the initial purchase.

Key differences between eCommerce pre-sales support + post-sales support

Understanding the distinctions between pre-sales support and post-sales support is fundamental for businesses to effectively cater to their customers’ needs across the customer journey. Let’s delve into a few ways pre-sales support differs from post-sales support, and why it’s important to offer both to your customers.

1. Timing

Pre-sales support represents a narrow window where brands can engage with customers during the purchase decision and positively influence the process. Many shoppers seek ample information before committing to a purchase, with 96% conducting their own research before engaging with a human representative.

Offering genuine and honest advice about a product when customers require additional support can mitigate any apprehensions associated with the buying decision. Being readily available in real-time to cater to potential customers’ needs can significantly impact sales and deter prospects from clicking away to a different site.

Post-sales support begins after a purchase is completed, focusing on customer satisfaction, retention, and ongoing support needs. 90% of customers rate an immediate response from businesses as “important” or “very important”. However, in post-sales support tickets often vary in urgency. Response times have a bit more wiggle room depending on the priority of each ticket. See more on how to triage tickets.

Both pre-sales and post-sales support are essential components of the customer support lifecycle, albeit with different customer expectations and goals. Influx provides an extra layer of support for your internal team to help you reach more customers faster, no matter where they are on their journey.

2. Support channels

The distinction between pre-sales and post-sales support channels lies in their respective intents, the nature of queries they address, and their response times.

Pre-sales support channels prioritize real-time availability and typically utilize live chat or phone support to inform and secure sales during the decision-making process. A lot can happen in a few hours. If a potential customer sends a pre-sales email that doesn’t receive a prompt response, they may look elsewhere for alternative products, resulting in a lost sale.

Post-sales support offers a variety of channels such as live chat, phone, email, social media, or self-service to address diverse post-purchase queries and issues.

Customers often have a preferred channel. Their choice of channel depends on factors such as the urgency of the issue, personal preference, and the complexity of the query.

Omnichannel customer support is important because it enhances the customer experience by offering flexibility, convenience, improved responsiveness, and seamless transitions between channels. Influx can help you deliver omnichannel support in a simple month to month format. Learn more!

3. Focus and responsibilities

Understanding the pivotal transition from pre-sales to post-sales support is paramount for businesses to deliver exceptional experiences because 89% of customers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive experience. While an efficient customer support team should be trained in both pre-sales and post-sales support techniques, both types of support and their responsibilities are uniquely different from each other.

During the pre-sales phase, the primary focus is on engaging potential customers to drive sales. Pre-sales support activities include:

  • Educating the customer
  • Proposing product benefits and comparisons
  • Closing sales or renewing deals
  • Conducting demos

Conversely, once a purchase is made, the focus shifts to post-sales support, where the primary objective is customer satisfaction and retention. Post-sales support activities include:

  • Problem resolution and issue escalation
  • Collecting feedback from customers
  • Helping with refunds/returns or tracking orders
  • Account management involving subscriptions and billing information

By understanding the distinct roles and objectives of eCommerce pre-sales and post-sales support, businesses can tailor their support strategies accordingly to meet the evolving needs of customers at each stage of their journey.

4. Metrics

Tracking the efficiency of pre-sales and post-sales support involves different sets of metrics, as their goals and objectives vary.

Pre-sales support metrics encompass conversion rates, lead generation, and close rates, focusing on guiding potential customers towards making a purchase.

In contrast, post-sales metrics such as customer satisfaction, retention rates, and upsell rates measure the effectiveness of support efforts in nurturing long-term customer relationships and maximizing value after the sale.

Influx works with you to set tangible benchmarks. Bridge the gap between needs and solutions with tiers of management dedicated to exceeding KPIs. Quality assurance specialists, data analysts, and workforce management teams ensure headcount stability and performance optimization. Learn more about outsourcing customer support with Influx.

5. Interactions

From the initial spark of curiosity to nurturing a loyal relationship, pre-sales and post-sales interactions play distinct roles in shaping customer experiences. Customer service agents should be equipped to answer a range of questions and queries that fall into the following categories and match your brand voice.

Common pre-sale queries may include questions about:

  • Product details
  • Shipping questions and technical support
  • Pricing frustration or confusion
  • Sourcing, ethical concerns, and brand values
  • Doubts about product efficacy
  • Stock checks

Whereas, common post-sale queries may include questions about:

  • Order status
  • Product usage and setup
  • Returns and exchanges
  • Account management
  • General inquiries and feedback

Pre-sales support is often seen as directly contributing to revenue generation. While post-sales support may not directly generate revenue in the same way as pre-sales activities, it is crucial for retaining customers and encouraging repeat business. Satisfied customers are more likely to make future purchases, become brand advocates, and contribute to a company’s long-term success. Knowing where your customer is on their journey makes it easier to tailor interactions and meet their needs.

6. Skills

Skills and expertise required for effective pre-sales support differ from those needed for post-sales support due to the distinct nature of their roles.

Pre-sales support agents need to possess a set of skills tailored to effectively engage with potential customers and guide them through the purchasing process. Key skills for pre-sales support include:

  • Industry, customer, and product knowledge
  • Strong understanding and problem-solving skills
  • Customer focus mentality
  • Sales expertise
  • Research capabilities

Post-sales support agents focus on resolving customer issues, delivering solutions, and ensuring a positive post-purchase experience. Key skills for post-sales support include:

  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Soft skills such as empathy and patience
  • Technical expertise
  • Customer focus mentality

Influx agents are pre-vetted and pre-trained to pave the way for a quick and effective launch. Respond faster and build trust with our fully managed support teams—trained to respond exactly as your in-house team would, on brand and at scale. Learn more about how it works.

7. Training

Pre-sales support training typically involves extensive product knowledge for agents to effectively showcase the product’s unique features and benefits. This training enables agents to make compelling recommendations aligned with the customer’s interests and needs, ultimately facilitating successful conversions. For example, if a customer asks why shoe 1 is better than competitor’s shoe 2, agents should be able to showcase shoe 1 and highlight what makes it special.

Training for post-sales support typically involves equipping agents with the necessary problem solving techniques, empathy-building strategies, and technical knowledge to effectively address customer inquiries and issues, thereby ensuring a positive post-purchase experience.

A well-trained customer support team should be equipped to handle both pre-sales and post-sales support.

Influx agent training includes pre-sales and post-sales support. We typically organize one to three training sessions over the course of one week. The number of training sessions depends on the scope of work you want us to do and the complexity of your product.

Training sessions usually cover the following criteria: tickets you want answered, how to identify these tickets, how to answer these tickets, and general brand voice or communication style guidelines. If you don’t have a specific brand voice defined yet, we can suggest one, or you can check out our eBook on how to create your own brand voice, comms guidelines, and customer support macros with AI.

Get a quote to strengthen both your pre and post-sales support experiences!

8. Customer expectations and relationship building

Pre-sales support typically represents the initial contact between the potential customer and the business, so the customer expectation here is much different than with post-sales.

Pre-sales support focuses on establishing a connection and building rapport with potential customers to facilitate the sales process. During this stage, customers expect to be convinced of the value of a product, and they seek clear and concise information to help them make informed decisions.

Post-sales customers expect a seamless experience and support beyond the point of purchase. They anticipate issue resolutions and follow up to ensure their satisfaction. For post-sales customers, ongoing communication and assistance are crucial elements of the overall experience.

Pre-sales and post-sales support: why you need both!

In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, delivering outstanding customer service throughout every stage of the customer journey is imperative. The journey begins before the sale, and it isn’t over once the sale is complete. Having both pre-sales and post-sales support creates a delightful experience from start to finish.

To recap, pre-sales support leads to higher revenue and lead generation, while also giving potential customers the confidence to know they can trust your brand. With the right team, post-sales support can lead to higher customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and word-of-mouth marketing from brand advocates.

A strong customer support team can successfully handle both pre-sales and post-sales support, which is exactly why we find and pre-train the top 1% of agents to work for you, with all management included.

Influx provides consistent, high-quality customer service in a simple month to month format. eCommerce brands work with us to make their support teams fast and flexible, while maintaining standards. Ready to try Influx? Let’s chat!

About the author

Photo of Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla is an avid copywriter. If she’s not out on an adventure, you can find her somewhere with a book in hand.