Even if you're not a huge basketball fan like I am, I'm sure you know what a slam dunk is. In business, there are plenty of similar opportunities for that perfect, golden opportunity to run with the ball, if you will—but these opportunities are often missed due to complacency. We assume that if a customer tells us how much she likes us, and leaves our company with a smile on her face, that she’ll be back. But will she? Like the rest of us, your customer gets flooded all the time with offers put out there by your competitors. How can you stay in front of her to ensure she’ll always choose you over the next guy?
The answer is, with obsessive attention to customer follow-up. I’m not suggesting you stalk or spam anyone to the point where they’ll find you annoying (if not a little scary). Like everything else in life, there’s that “just right” amount—and it might take some trial and error figuring out what that is. Think about the last time a service provider followed-up with you—how did it make you feel? For me, it was a recent visit to an Apple store’s Genius Bar, due to some issues with my iPhone. As expected, my representative talked me off the technological ledge and helped me reset my phone. But I didn’t expect that he would also call me the next day to see how things were going, and give me his personal contact information in case I needed help in the future. Wow! All it took was a phone call, and I was reminded why I’m an Apple loyalist. So, let’s look at various ways in which you, too, can score a slam dunk:
In a perfect world, you—the service provider—call a client one day after a treatment. During this phone call, there should be no selling going on. The sole purpose is to check in with the client—making sure everything is okay regarding the treatment and establishing basic warm fuzzies. If the client doesn’t pick up the phone, leave a short, sweet message, followed by a quick text.
A few weeks later, make a second call. You’re still checking to ensure everything is okay but you also have some great news: there’s a special going on that would be a terrific synergistic treatment to the last one your client received. Or, maybe it’s the same treatment that she loved, but on a different body part. The question is, when would she like to book another appointment?
In today’s world, phone calls and texts are typically preferred, but a well-crafted e-mail twice a month or so can also be highly effective. The first e-mail should be something that’s fun and entertaining to read—maybe a newsletter with industry gossip and tips on makeup application, etc. The second email should be more “sales-y”, with before- and after- pictures and a special offer. E-mails work because they’re a visual cue, especially important because, let’s be honest: out of sight means out of mind.
Victoria’s Secret excels at this concept with catalogs and coupons sent a couple of times each month. No one can predict exactly when a woman is ready to purchase lingerie but when she is, she’ll likely think of Victoria’s Secret because its message is always right in front of her.
These include both handwritten letters (a nice, personal touch, especially when the envelope is also handwritten) and post card-type mailers. Mailers are an excellent way to check-in on a regular basis, and also to keep the relationship going. It’s like when you’re in a new relationship and you’re texting and calling each other five times a week. However, if both parties aren’t consistent in communicating, things begin to cool off—and that’s when one person typically loses interest. Keep things interesting with your client. Consistency is key when it comes to follow-up.
Every customer should be your friend or follower on social media, but networks such as Facebook are also a terrific venue for sending personal messages. It could be something as simple as “Hi! I saw the cutest xyz thing the other day, just like we discussed during your last visit!” Little messages like these reconnect your customer back to you and even better, to that moment during her treatment when the two of you shared something in common.
Superior customer follow-up doesn’t necessarily require the most talented player on the team, but it does demand a level of commitment above and beyond the competition. Grab that ball and run with it—every, single time.
Top Tips for Customer Follow-Up
1. Check the competition. Feel free to check out other companies well-known for superior follow-up. Implement their proven concepts, but add your twist and personality to make them your own.
2. Brand. Whenever possible, include your company’s logo/slogan on all written communication; keep fonts types and colors the same so you’ll be instantly recognizable
3. Track results.Track your results for what works, always asking customers for their feedback on what information they receive from you.