Customer service is a critical part of the sustained success for a company. It is in the process of servicing a customer that they make a decision about whether they enjoy the experience of interacting with your brand. This also includes any purchases. What happens during these customer service experiences determines if they return or reach out to your competitor. Your brand reputation also relies on exceptional customer service.
That alone should be a compelling reason to always follow up on customer service. But, there are even more reasons why you should do so. Plus, there are best practices for how to follow-up with customers in the best ways possible.
Increases likelihood of customers returning
When you follow up with customers and ask them about their experiences or you reach out to them for positive and negative reviews, you are telling the customer you care about them. This genuine interest in them will bring them back because it's rare to find a company that shows this level of interest.
Turns lost sales around
If a customer was unhappy—whether they told you or not—and you contact them about their experience, they may reconsider buying from you. Never checking on them would prove to the customer that they were justified in their opinion of your brand not caring. Therefore, they will go where a brand delivers an authentic experience.
Offers customer insights
When you reach out to customers, you immediately gain valuable information about what they want from your company. They offer insights on what you could improve, what they liked, and what they still want. This can shape the changes you make to your business that enhance more customer service experiences for increased satisfaction. As a result, you increase revenues.
Contributes to customer viewpoint on value
If a customer only likes your products a little but loves the service and experience, they may see your brand as having enough value to remain loyal. However, if the product is just okay and the service is poor, they are not likely to return. They will also tell others about the lack of value they see in your brand, which could lead to more lost sales.
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Methods for customer service follow up
Customers interact with a business in many ways. Consider this when you are deciding whether follow-up calls to customers are necessary:
- Telephone calls work with all types of business environments if you have this information in your database. Alternatively, your customers might have checked a box requesting texts instead of calls.
- If you have a physical or email address, a personal thank you note is a good customer follow-up method. However, this method may mean you don't hear back like you would if you called or texted your customers.
- Use social media to reach out for follow ups like surveys and reviews. The content from these can provide insights and specific information to address during a call, email, or in-person meeting.
- Ensure you have a way to get customer information from the first contact by giving them an easy online form to fill in and ask for their communication preferences.
Follow up best practices
To maximize the benefits of follow up, also incorporate these best practices:
- Don't let too much time go by before following up with customers. The faster you can reach out, the greater the chances you can win them back or make a memorable impression. Create a schedule on your calendar that blocks out time each day to work on customer service follow up.
- If a customer has contacted you, be sure to return their call or email within 24 hours at the most. This shows your level of concern about helping them or fixing any problems.
- When you are following up and there is conflict or emotions on the part of the customer, look to turn it into something positive and identify any common ground. This can go a long way to making a great impression and resolving any issues.
- When you are following up, avoid yes or no questions. Instead, ask open-ended questions so you can get the most information from your customers about their experience. The more you know, the better chance you have for making improvements in your business.
- Consider some type of small gift or extra value when following up. This is not a bribe. In fact, it is actually a way to say "thank you" and "I'm sorry" (if there was a bad experience). It sends the message that you appreciate them. Also, if there was a problem, it is a way to encourage them to try your business again so you can prove you resolved the problem.
Always say thank you
No matter what type of follow up you do with customers—or how it goes—end every interaction with these simple words: Thank you. It can never be overused. Whatever the outcome, you should appreciate what you learned during the conversation. You either received reinforcement that what you are doing is working or you got feedback on what you could do better. Either way, you can't lose by always following up with customers because both you and your customers will be happy as a result.
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the payments company Due.