4 Ways to Follow Up Without Getting Slapped With a Restraining Order

imagesWhen everyone in your business is an expert in the art of follow-up, you are a long way down the road to success.
Follow-up is one of the artful skills and required tasks that cuts across several aspects of your operation. Follow-up is required:

*  With prospects considering a purchase,
*  With customers after they have made a purchase,
*  With customers after they have made a customer service request,
*  With existing customers between purchases, and
*  With previous customers you seem to have lost.

The essential quality of your follow-up is that it must be seen as informative, efficient and sincere. It cannot be perceived as pesky. Here are ways that throughout your company, follow-up can boost customer loyalty, satisfaction and overall sales.

1. Make follow-up timely. I know a very successful plumbing company that diligently calls every customer the day after a plumber has been out to do a job. They simply and politely ask if everything went well with the service call. It happens like clockwork. Getting a call a week later would not sit right with many customers.

2.  Make follow-up personal. Going back to the plumbing example, the caller identifies his or herself and asks one question. The voice is pleasant and the tone of the conversation is upbeat. I’ve had other companies follow up with a survey. That immediately makes it impersonal. There may be a time for surveys, but it’s not right after a service call or sale.

When you’re following up with customers between sales, make sure that your communication is personal. Don’t send the same email to existing customers that you sent to prospects. You want your customers to feel like they’re getting insider information and preferred deals. You can also take advantage of “anniversaries” to follow up with special communications and offers.

3.  Hit the right level with your follow-up. If you sell big-ticket items or services and have lost a valued customer, a personal visit from the owner would be the right level of follow-up. However, if you’re in a commodity business, a juicy coupon via email might be sufficient to win back the customer. If you sell a technical item, a follow-up from a tech-savvy customer service employee might be better than salesperson follow-up.

4.  Hit the right number of follow-ups. Every customer is different. Some enjoy an ongoing banter with sales reps. Others only want infrequent contact. When cultivating new customers, ask them how often they would like to hear from you and their preferred mode of communication. Customize your company’s relationship with each client.

If you publish a “newsletter” you will be viewed as informing, not touting and it won’t count against the number of contacts your customer prefers. This is one reason content is so important today. It allows you to maintain contact without rubbing your customers the wrong way.

If your small business is expert at follow-up and lead generation—and you have a top quality product or service—you are virtually guaranteed success.

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