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Follow-ups: Where

Over what medium a follow-up is conducted is important. It can make or break a follow-up. The general rule of thumb is: follow-up using the same medium. So if they contacted you over phone, call them. If they contacted you over e-mail, send them an e-mail.

The advantages and disadvantages of each medium:

  • Phone. Most personal and quickest method for customer (as far as total time until issue resolved), but some people don’t like to talk on the phone, it’s the most expensive, and requires someone to make the call and sit there during the entire call (i. e. you can’t do 30 an hour).
  • Email. Quickest and cheapest, but longest time until the issue is totally resolved. It’s harder to get additional information and to ask questions on the fly. A lot of people like email, but others hate it. The use of email really boils down to how “virtual” your business is and how techno your customers are.
  • (Snail) Mail. In most cases, snail mail is traditionally very impersonal, but it’s very effective. It makes your company seem much more brick and mortar, but if you send a survey over the mail, chances are it’ll be thrown out. If your follow-ups are more “Thanks for calling us – let us know if you have any problems”, snail mail may be an effective solution.

Regardless of the medium, all of your follow-ups should mention ways to further get in touch. Follow-ups over these mediums need to have this information:

  • Phone. The representative has to say if you need any more help, feel free to give us a call back, send us an email, visit our support web site, etc. and tell the customer how to do all of those things. It’s important to ensure that he or she understands as well.
  • Email. Have a line near the end stating “If you need any further assistance, please feel free to call us at 1-800-555-555.”
  • Mail. Have a phone number, email address, and web site address clearly mentioned on the letterhead and a phone number at the end (similar format as above).

Keep these in mind and your follow-ups should be more effective and none of your customers will get mad.

Follow-up: Why

A lot of people ask why are follow-ups important? There are quite a few reasons why they should be done and they are quite important.

  • Improve the experience. By following-up proactively, your customers don’t have to. This improves the customer service experience and makes it so the customer doesn’t have to be nearly as involved in getting service.
  • Brand. When you call and say “Hi, I’m calling from Company XYZ.” you’re building your brand. The customer is learning about your brand and that you care about service. When you have the customer on the phone, you might as well build your brand.
  • Resolve issues. When a follow-up is conducted, an issue can confidently be marked as resolved. This way your staff members don’t have to keep reading over it and guessing if it’s really finished.
  • Gather feedback. Follow-ups are a great way to gather feedback about a particular issue or just the overall way your support department operates. A customer will likely give some feedback if asked, and customer feedback is required to improve the customer service experience.
  • Make customers happier! If nothing else will convince you to follow-up, this should. When customers get pro-active follow-ups, they think more of your customer service and your company. That way, when they go to buy something that your company sells, they think of you.

A short post, yes, but you should know that following up is extremely important. Just one of these points should be enough to convince you to start following up on certain issues.

Follow-up: What

The next part of our series on follow-ups is what should be done during a follow-up. The obvious answer is following up, right? Not so much, but on the right track.

  • Purpose. It is the representative‚Äôs job to guide the follow-up. The rep shouldn’t just dial a number and say “I’m following up with you about your recent issue at company XYZ.” They should say “Hi there, I’m calling you to see if you’re having any ongoing problems with your product from Company XYZ. (see next point)
  • If so. The next part is, “If you are having any problems.” Don’t make it seem to the customer like if they are still having problems that it will end of the world. The rep should say “If you’re still having a problem, that’s fine, I’ll be more than happy to help you.” Comfort the customer and the customer will be happier.
  • If not. The other is obviously “If you aren’t having any problems.” Do something productive while you have the customer on the phone. Not annoying, but productive. Ask the customer if he or she has any comments about the service experience, needs any material (i. e. disks, manuals, paperwork, etc.), or ask the customer if you ask him or her a few questions about the service experience (the quick survey). That makes the call productive and the follow-up worth it.

The point of a follow-up is to establish contact with the client pro-actively. Be pro-active with what you have your reps say and make the conversation effective. It should be an excellent time for your company to say (not directly) “We care about you and you’re an important customer to us.” Make it count.

Follow-up: Who

Following up is extremely important. The first part of this series covers who should follow-up. When following up, it’s important to have the right person do it – otherwise it may actually make the experience worse.

  • Prior contact. Ideally, the person who has been handling the issue should do all of the following up. If the issue was handled by a variety of people, the person who most recently handled it (extensively) should follow-up. This way the person is familiar with the customer and the issue at hand.
  • Senior. If the person who has been handling the issue can’t follow-up, then someone who’s a supervisor or some sort of senior representative should follow-up. This way the customer knows his or her issue is important and that the company is making a genuine effort to make the customer happy.
  • Someone who reads. If options A and B aren’t available, then at least pick someone who reads. It’s amazing that what can happen if the actually reads about the problem and the customer. This way the representative has some background on the issue and can intelligently discuss it with the customer.
  • Someone who likes their job. If whoever is doing the follow-up isn’t nice and/or doesn’t like their job – don’t bother. You need somene who’s very kind and really cares about the customer’s issue to do the follow-up otherwise it will not help at all.

The issue of who should handle a follow-up is quite simple. Generally, if the person is familiar with the issue and is patient and friendly with the customer, the person will do okay with the follow-up. This is a relatively short post, but there’ll be quite a few of these including:

  • Who should follow-up (this one)
  • What should be done during a follow-up
  • Why are follow-ups important
  • Where (over what medium) should follow-ups be conducted
  • When should follow-ups be conducted
  • How to do the perfect follow-up

After this series, you should every know everything you need to know about follow-ups and be a following up pro. It’s truly something that will make customers happier and improve the overall customer service experience.

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