This week the issue of follow-up, caused me to sit back compose myself once too often, and further it was the subject of a long discussion with my colleague who was also complaining about the lack of feedback/follow-up from other colleagues, business and #service providers as well as general feedback once communication has occurred.
Although we all are aware of the importance of excellent customer #service and its impact on profits, we as #service providers often are guilty of some of the very issues that are affecting our personal #service delivery and follow-up/feedback stands out!
I am often amazed at how few persons, follow-up after an initial meeting, social or professional interaction. This spans the entire spectrum of #service providers and management levels. In some cases I am genuinely interested in what that #service provider is offering, yet because of their lack of follow-up added to my busy business schedule that interest is never tapped into. In this regard, I proffer the following questions:
Do you make a note to respond to anyone that you have promised to get back to?
During the conversation, do you attach timelines to these promised responses and further,
How often do you keep to the promised timeframe for responses?
Years ago follow-up could have been viewed as a courtesy, but today it is an essential part of attacking new #customers and new business as well as retaining your current #customers. This can be one of the most important actions that management includes in their strategy and will yield great returns.
If you are in a #service based business, like #CeruleanInc, it is very important to follow up with potential client, on quotes or proposals that has been submitted. When this contact has been established it adds value to your product offering to provide steady contact and follow-up, as this indicates to the client that you care and that you are interested in working with them. Your feedback also informs and reminds the customer that you are willing to schedule them into your calendar and that it is in their interest to schedule your #service before their competitors do.
Feedback/follow-up may not always be to provide good news, it can be to give bad news, or no news, an example is “Mr. Joe, we did promise to provide information on your order by tomorrow, however we are experiencing some problems with our supplier, and we are working on it and will promptly inform you as soon as we have that information, we are anticipating within the next two days”. Mr. Joe will be very appreciative because this approach indicates that your company cares and sees Mr. Joe as an important client. Mr. Joe may not receive the information within the timeframe he expected, however, he is provided with timely feedback. Customers are often misunderstood, or underestimated by some #service providers, and businesses will do well to appreciate that #customers are not expecting that they will receive their required products or #service on demand every time, what #customers do expect is that they get 100% #service delivery every time. We are all human, and we know and expect that things will go wrong even at our favorite department store, but how #service providers deal with the issues is what determines whether #customers remain loyal or move on to the competition.
I pondered on why is there a lack of feedback/follow-up on the part of some #service providers, and these are some of the reasons:
- A fear of being considered annoying or desperate – many #service providers may be concerned about the impression created by the follow-up call or email. They may be concerned about annoying the client or persons. In business, companies expected to be contacted by #service providers, as this shows your care and enthusiasm in doing business;
- Making unrealistic promises during the first meeting – sometimes promises are made during an initial contact that makes the #service provider uncomfortable about following up, as her/she may not be in a position to substantiate the claims made prior;
- Poor record keeping – some service providers place all cards received together and have not yet understood the important of making a note behind the business card to remind them of who the persons is, or what their interest is in this contact. Further, the use of Apps are becoming me common as a photo can taken of a business card and information regarding the contact can be easily stored in your contacts on your phone or tablet.
- Lack of “know how” to follow-up – this is a reality, some persons do not know how to follow-up, especially if its negative, or if they are still working on the task at hand. It must be noted that feedback/follow-up, is not only for positive messages. Sales and or communication seminars usually include topics on feedback or follow-up and are recommended for #service providers.
- Memory lapse – sometimes there is a genuine memory lapse that can be costly to your business, we need to personally find methods that work, to remind us of those important issues – try journals, calendar entries, alarms etc.