The single most important thing you can do to increase customer value is to follow up on the things you said you would you do the last time you talked to the customer. In the eyes of the customer, it’s the only thing that matters. As Woody Allen famously said, “80% of life is showing up.” You can show up for the customer by solving their problem on the first try, and if you can’t do that, let them know when they’ll hear from you again … and make sure to follow-up. You can Be More Awesome by delivering amazing service when you follow up and making sure that the customer knows exactly what happened.
A familiar scenario
Imagine you’re handling the first email of the day. You’re finishing your coffee and you get an urgent call on your cell phone from one of your most important customers. She says, “how can I learn more about what your team is doing to help me solve the problem I brought up with you last week?” If you have a great feedback system in place, it takes you 15-30 seconds to find the status, thank her for calling, give her a status update, set a time for the next contact, and take some quick notes to find out information for her so that you can contact her even before that appointment to confirm that you’ve handled the issue. Even if you don’t know how to solve the problem, you’ve built the foundation for a great experience.
How to Make an Awesome Follow Up
And what are the basics of this experience? The first step to follow up is to offer the follow up – this may seem like a minor detail, but if you don’t have a system to make sure this happens, you can use some of the basic systems you have all the time (like using the reminder feature on your phone) – and to set a time and deliverable when you do contact the customer again. This could be in the form of a call or an email, and it’s important to ask the customer how and when they’d like to hear from you. A great follow up sets the stage for a great result.
Adding Extra Value
When you follow up (and before), it is a great time to commit a random act of kindness for the customer. If they asked you to solve a specific problem, solve that one and offer some other thing that might be able to help them. If they asked you to contact them on a specific date, let them know even before that date how things are going. If you deliver Customer Wow – an above and beyond experience – you will amaze the customer with the extra effort and care you invested to make their experience a great one. Completing a random act of kindness also lets your staff be creative and to do more of what they love to help customers.
And what really makes a great experience in a follow up? When the people who make direct contact to the customer, the process that ensures that they make this connection, and the tools that enable them to follow this process and make the customer experience great are part of the follow up and any other action you take on behalf of the customer. Don’t just show up. Be More Awesome. You can find 47 other ways to improve the customer experience here.
(this post originally ran on Wordofmouth.org)