Have you ever initiated a request, concern, question, complaint or even a compliment only to never get a reply? Not even an acknowlegement? It either makes you feel annoyed, empty, or maybe worse that you want to yell at someone about it. Sometimes you reach out again and still receive no reply. These emotions then grow or you give up and move on. This is how businesses and people are either a success or a failure.
All these negative feelings could have been 100% avoided. How? It is actually pretty simple, however, many people and businesses mess this up all the time. The recipient could have easily replied. Sometimes it does not even have to be the complete answer or solution. Even a reply with only a portion of the solution is a positive experience for most. For example, "I have received your message and currently looking into the details. I will get back to you by this Friday with another update". This didn't solve the problem, but it certainly left the customer know they were heard and can now expect a call on Friday. Guess what? Now you need to contact them on Friday...or you failed.
Follow up seems incredibly simple, however, it is often missed. This can impact business owners considerably either by the consumer changing brands, sharing negative experiences (especially now with Social Media at our fingertips) and therefore encountering a bad reputation (many times due to one small situation). With today's technology, ease of entry into online marketing, etc. and the impact of social media, it is faster and more impactful than years ago. Many years ago, it could take months or years to read or hear about something that went wrong with customer service; now it is a matter of seconds for people to hear something about a negative experience. And let's face it, people don't post on social media about the positive experiences as much as they do about the negative experiences.
Follow up is just as important in the workplace. While it is the one thing that can make a customer feel special, it is the same for internal customers. At companies I have worked with in the past, they talk about the "Say/Do Ratio". If you say what you are going to do and don't do it, you have a low ratio and people don't trust you to execute, which means, less opportunity and little chance for future promotions. Similar to the above example, you can use the same language for an internal issue at work and reply exactly the same. Once you get this rhythm down, you will be amazed to see how quickly you are making a difference in your career.
Customers will leave without follow up. Internal customers will not trust you without follow up. Suppliers will not work well with you without follow up. This can be devastating if all three of these are occurring in one business. Customers have to know that their concern will get through the supply chain and back to the supplier in order for a correction to be made. Without the follow up, people go to the competition and never come back. I recently became an independent consultant and it took contacting people consistently and if they said, maybe next month, then I would contact them next month. Most were always appreciative that I remembered. I would always hear from customers, "I used to buy from some other consultant, but they never followed up so I gave up on them". I was happy to take care of these customers, but how sad that something so small took away 100% of that person's business.
Are you losing sales and don't know why? Have you lost touch with your customers? Are you too timid to address the issues? Contact this team to learn more on the follow-up practices that we can help you with to better tackle customer service and create solid improvement plans to engage your teams to re-create enthusiatic employees and customers.