March 11, 2010
How to Improve Your Customer Follow-Ups
You likely know just how important it is to follow up with your customers. Not doing so can have some seriously detrimental effects on your sales. But did you know that the wrong follow-up methods can actually harm your efforts? Not only does your customer leave with a bad taste in their mouth, but you can actually create a sense of buyer’s remorse, making that prospect rethink their position entirely.
Obviously, you want to engender a feeling of satisfaction in your prospect or customer – you need them to want to do business with you, not to feel that they could have done better. How do you accomplish that, then? It’s truly not difficult, so long as you have the right tools and methodologies in place. Here, you’ll learn a bit about how to kick your follow-up success rate into high gear.
Mail before You Call
Calling your customer or prospect on the phone is one of the most common forms of a follow-up. However, you should ensure that the person you’re calling has your company’s information in hand before you make that phone call. In order to do this, you should create a mailer and send it to each customer or potential customer prior to making that phone call. It’s a good idea to make several types of mailers, one for each type follow-up – previous customers, current customers and potential customers.
Don’t kid yourself; most follow-up phone calls are based on a script. This is the most efficient way of eliminating all the “ahs, ums, oh’s and hmm’s” that can occur during a phone call, and possibly cost you a client. This is incredibly important. Too many of the above and your customer will begin feeling uncomfortable. Therefore, that script needs to be the best it can possibly be.
However, your script should not be the “be all, end all” of communication with the person on the other end of that phone line. Take the time to customize the script for each call. This might include an accurate purchase history in the case of a previous or current customer. It might include salient points from an initial meeting with a prospective client. The possibilities are boundless, but one thing is certain – if you use a cookie-cutter script, the person on the other end of the line is going to know.
As with anything else in life, the timing of your follow-up is crucial. Too long and your customers will feel that you’re neglecting them. Too soon and they’ll think you’re desperate (that’s bad, even if you are). Set a time for a follow-up call with any prospective customers during your initial meeting and stick to that time. If you are unable to follow-up when you said you would, do so as soon as possible and apologize for not communicating sooner. An apology can smooth away a lot of ruffled feathers.
If you’ll be following up with a previous or current customer, give your mail-out time to arrive before making your phone call. Usually, three business days is sufficient for most mail, though in the case of coast-to-coast mail, you might opt for a week between mailing out the information and that phone call.
With these strategies in place, you’ll be able to tactfully follow up with each lead and turn them into long-term client.