Google the term "follow-through" and you will find lists of customers complaining about the lack of follow-through from various businesses. It appears this is one of the top issues customer service departments may deal with today.
Unfortunately, lack of follow-through is also one of the fastest ways to lose customers, as they become frustrated with companies that do not seem to care whether their issues are resolved or not. On the other hand, attentive follow-through is also one of the easiest ways to surprise and delight your customers and keep them coming back for more. We have tips to help you develop a habit of follow-through with your own customer service staff.
Situations that Require Follow-Through
There are many times when your customers will require effective follow-through to keep them satisfied, including:
- When your business is unable to keep promises in terms of delivery times or product quality
- When your customer receives less than stellar service and complains
- When phone service does not meet customer expectations
- When someone at your business makes a mistake
- When your customer is not sure how a product is supposed to work and directions that accompany the product are inadequate
- When your customer has been waiting an unusually long time for a product to be received or an issue to be resolved
Nothing frustrates a customer faster than feeling as though they have been left hanging by your company. Fortunately, in nearly all of these circumstances, the simple act of follow-through can transform a potentially angry customer into a patient and reasonable one.
Reasons to Follow-Through
Follow-through can take on many different forms, depending on the circumstances. Use follow-through techniques to:
- Answer your customer's questions or provide additional information about your product or service
- Apologize for the customer's inconvenience that was caused by lack of quality goods or services on the part of your company
- Update the customer on the current status of an order or resolution of an issue that is taking longer than average to complete
- Provide customer with additional resources, such as extra information about the product they purchased or other products they might find useful
- Listen to a customer's complaints and find out what you can do to remedy the situation for them
- Ensure that your customer is completely satisfied with the product they ordered and the service they received
- Offer compensation when warranted, such as a discount coupon or freebie in the event the customer was greatly inconvenienced by the issue
Follow-through can be done over the phone, by email or through a letter. It is best if the follow-through is managed by the same customer service representative that handled the customer's initial transaction, to ensure consistency and continuity throughout the process. However, customers that have become disgruntled may require follow-through by the management team to ensure they are satisfied at the end of the transaction. When you keep the lines of communication open between your staff and customers, you are more likely to maintain a satisfied and loyal customer base.
- Meredith Estep