From transaction to trust: How to delight and retain buyers after the sale

Caroline Burk

Updated: Oct 17, 2023 · 12 min read

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So you’ve made a sale? Amazing! Every sale is worth celebrating, but the work doesn’t stop there. In fact, some of the most crucial steps come after you’ve closed a deal.

When you continue to nurture customers after they’ve purchased from you, you start the process of creating fans. This is the third part of Lifecycle Automation, centered around following up with clients who have completed a purchase to turn them into repeat customers who are loyal to your brand and eventually bring you more business.

This process is often the most neglected part of Lifecycle Automation. Why? Because once a sale is made, most business owners and their teams jump right back into converting leads into customers. What many fail to realize is that nurturing customer relationships is just as beneficial as nurturing and converting leads.

The benefits that come from creating fans include:

  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Higher likelihood of one-time sales turning into repeat customers
  • Brand loyalty
  • More referrals from your fans

If you want happy customers who keep coming back for more (even bringing others with them), keep reading for best practices you can add to your post-sale follow-up strategy.

Personalized messages

A little personalization can go a long way, especially when it comes to reaching out to recent customers. When you employ personalization in your campaigns, also known as dynamic content, you ensure every person you reach out to receives something they’re interested in.

After someone has purchased from you, you’re in a prime position to use dynamic content because you can leverage their purchase history to shape the content you send them. For example, if they purchased an email marketing service package from you, you can send them a thank you message and include a free guide to improving their email open rate as an added bonus.

A small gesture like this shows that they’re not just receiving a generic thank you note along with every other customer. Instead, you’re signaling you understand them, care about what they like and want to continue serving them even after they’ve purchased.

Consider using dynamic content to build intentional, heartfelt thank you messages that go beyond the impersonal follow-up. This type of personalization doesn’t have to be time-consuming. With small business CRM and marketing automation, you can segment your contacts based on their purchase history and set up automated follow-ups that align with each purchase category.

Confirmation notifications

Confirmation campaigns are essential and should be one of the first things you add to your outreach strategy. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes for a moment. Imagine completing an order, anticipating the arrival of the product or service, only to be left wondering where it is or when you’ll receive it.

To alleviate this, set up the following confirmation automations:

  • Order confirmation: This lets your customer know their order has been received, how it will be delivered to them and when they can expect it. Your order confirmation should also outline what they ordered, so they can be sure they purchased the correct product or service.
  • Order status: Reach out to your customer with updates on the status of their order so they aren’t left in the dark.
  • Confirmation of delivery: Once you know your client has their order, reach out once more to say thank you and give them an opportunity to ask any questions. You can include a list of product-specific FAQs and a way to reach your support department if they need further assistance. Anticipate their needs, and use this confirmation to get ahead of them.

Depending on how your product or service is delivered, these communications will vary. But you can be sure a series of automated confirmation emails will give your customer peace of mind and help you address potential issues promptly.

Gathering feedback

Your customers are the most important resource you have. If you’re not asking for feedback after they’ve purchased and used your product or service, you’re missing out on valuable information that can help you, your team and your overall business improve.

With this in mind, surveys should be a staple in your follow-up sequence. When creating a survey, start by answering the following questions:

  • What are your survey goals?
  • Do I want feedback on products, customer service or both?
  • Will each customer get the same survey? Do I want to provide a specialized survey to different segments of my audience?
  • How will I conduct my survey?

By including customer satisfaction surveys in your post-sale steps, you show your customers you care about their opinions and that you’re actively trying to improve. You’ll also get key information to help you better serve customers in the future, which can increase the likelihood every customer will be a happy customer

Keap’s small business marketing automation and CRM platform can automate the entire survey process. Use the software to schedule surveys via email or text at the conclusion of business and segment responses based on feedback. After the results are segmented, Keap can also automatically send referral requests to happy customers and trigger additional outreach to those who were less than satisfied. This sales process automation can save you time and help you use your survey responses in a way that benefits your business and strengthens customer relationships.

Offering more support and education

You can never go wrong providing additional value to your customers. A few ways to do this are by following up a customer’s purchase with relevant resources, such as:

  • Invites to newsletters
  • Blog articles
  • Ebooks and guides
  • Video tutorials
  • Free courses

No matter what you send your customers, ensure the content you choose is relevant to what they’re interested in. You can segment your customers based on their purchases, build automated follow-up campaigns for each segment and fill those campaigns with content that aligns with the product or service that was purchased.

This step isn’t a one-time occurrence, but one you can do on an ongoing basis to demonstrate your support and ensure your customers have the resources they need to succeed. If you want to create fans who are loyal to your brand, you can’t neglect offering free resources and additional support.

Upselling and cross-selling opportunities

Upselling and cross-selling are great ways to serve your clients while generating additional revenue. However, it’s important to implement these sales opportunities into your follow-ups in a timely and tasteful way.

Start by giving your client time to acclimate to the product or service they purchased and let them enjoy it for a while. This will give you the opportunity to think about what additional offerings could enhance their experience or what upgrades they might be ready for. From there, take inventory of what you have to offer, and keep the following in mind as you craft your campaigns:

  • Personalize follow-ups with offerings that appeal to their interests and purchase history.
  • Include special offers to show your customers you value their business and entice them to buy again. For example, send a discount code they can use at checkout to show appreciation for their repeat business.
  • Focus on the benefits by telling them why you think they’d like the specific cross-sell or upsell and how it can enhance their experience.
  • Incorporate reviews to back up your claims and build trust.
  • Reference their previous purchase or online activity.

Above all, you want this tactic to increase customer satisfaction, not diminish it, so the focus of your upselling and cross-selling follow-ups should always be how the product or service would benefit your client.

When crafting these campaigns, small business CRM and automation features can do the heavy lifting for you. Keap’s lead scoring can let you know when a customer is ready for an upsell or cross-sell, and marketing automation can trigger a follow-up to send when the time is right. Once you automate this process, your job is done, and you can rest easy knowing your upselling and cross-selling follow-ups are taken care of.

Referral requests

By the time you start asking for referrals, you will have put in the work of turning your customer into a fan. This part of the process is like a reward for your consistent follow-ups.

Make sure you frame your referral request in the correct way by emphasizing how your business can further help the client and their friends. Appeal to the benefits the customer has already experienced and discuss how you could do the same for whoever they refer. Consider also offering a reward in exchange for a referral so your client gets something out of it, and you continue to build customer satisfaction and loyalty.

A small business CRM can take the referral process to the next level by segmenting contacts based on the feedback you collected from them and automatically sending referral requests to people who reported a positive experience. This takes the pressure off of you and also ensures referral requests are only sent to those most likely to respond.

Other factors to consider

Timing your follow-up

When you’re planning customer outreach, timing is everything. After a purchase has been made, you don’t want to leave customers waiting too long, especially after they’ve gotten used to hearing from you during the lead nurture process. That’s why it’s crucial to craft a follow-up strategy that serves the customer at every phase they might go through post-purchase. There are three main points on this timeline to keep in mind and plan for:

Immediate. After a sale, you’ll want to send certain communications immediately, such as a thank you note and an order confirmation. These are simple forms of outreach that can make a huge difference in customer satisfaction.

Short term. Other types of outreach can wait a bit longer. For example, you can’t immediately ask your customer if they’re enjoying your product or service because they need time to actually use it and form an opinion. However, you also shouldn’t wait too long in case they’re having trouble and need additional assistance from you.

Long term. As time goes on, you can start to think about reaching out with upselling or cross-selling opportunities, referral requests, surveys and more. These types of communications require more time so you don’t suffocate new customers or rush them through the process.

Every message you send will fall into one of these three categories, and as you consider your own customer journey and start ironing out the content you want to send, the correct timing of each message will become clear.

Creating a follow-up schedule

The key to effective post-sale follow-ups is consistency, so it’s crucial to build a plan and stick to it. A great way to map out your communications is to break it down into timelines, such as the immediate, short-term and long-term follow-ups we covered above. Choose what types of messages you want to send in each of those time frames, and decide the exact schedule you want to adhere to week-by-week.

Here’s a sample to get you started:


  • Order confirmation: As soon as an order has been placed
  • Order status: Two days following order confirmation
  • Delivery update and thank you message: Send the day a customer receives their order

Short term:

  • Gather feedback: Depending on the product or service, 1-3 weeks after delivery
  • Additional support and education: 2-4 weeks after delivery

Long term:

  • Upselling and cross-selling: 4-8 weeks after delivery
  • Referral requests: 8-10 weeks after delivery

These timelines will vary depending on your industry and what was sold to your customer, but no matter your schedule, remember to be consistent. That’s why you should add a small business marketing automation platform to your toolkit.

With this type of technology, you can build your campaigns once, specify when you want them sent, and the software will automatically follow up at the right time with every person who purchases from you. You won’t have to worry about missing a follow-up or forgetting to include certain customers because automation will take care of every step.

Enlisting the help of your team

Whether you implement automation in your follow-up campaigns or not, you will need the help and expertise of your employees.

Your employees are a valuable source of knowledge about your customers and the products or services you sell, and they can use this knowledge to help you build effective follow-up campaigns. They can also take the follow-up process a step further by hopping on a call with clients to train them on their new product or service, answer questions that may arise, collect feedback, and just simply check in. A sales pipeline can organize this process, triggering these actions based on pipeline stages and assigning specific tasks (like follow-up calls) to team members.

Enlist your team to help you build your follow-up strategy and timeline, then work with them to hone the tone, angle and goals of each piece of follow-up material. This will ensure the communications your customers receive are all in sync and will nurture them into loyal fans of your brand.

Put your plan into action

Post-sales follow-up efforts are how fans of your business are made, and the work you put into this process will pay off. Loyal customers, new leads, and repeat business are just a few of the benefits you can look forward to.

If you’re looking for a way to build a post-sale nurture campaign, or improve one you already have, consider investing in a small business CRM and marketing automation platform. This technology can store your customer contact info, segment customers based on information you choose, automatically send your follow-up campaigns and so much more. It will help you remain consistent with your outreach and make sure none of your customers fall through the cracks.

Keap’s CRM and automation software was built specifically for growing small businesses, and it can help you nurture your audience before, during and after the sale. Want to test it out? Start a 14-day free trial now (no credit card required).

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