Wars are won or lost based on this. Relationships will bloom or fade based on this. Your business will succeed or fail based on this. It is one simple concept that is all too often forgotten and when it is, your failure is guaranteed. It’s called FOLLOW UP. It isn’t in your client’s best interest to chase you down, it is in your best interest to follow up with them regularly. Keeping your clients informed about your product or service, your delivery methods, your lead time, your process, is critical to your success.
On the upside of this recently, I spoke with Ben at IVesta regarding drapery hardware. He was patient, professional, knowledgeable and efficient. He fedexed me samples as requested, made the revisions needed to my order, and got it out post haste. Their company policies made it easy, I simply provided my company information and credit card by email and phone, no faxing required (aren’t we in the digital age afterall?) I didn’t have to chase him with phone calls, I didn’t have to wonder when it might be received, he was clear in setting my expectations from the start. This is unfortunately rare.
It is far more common to experience poor follow up or not follow up (my favorite). For example, I’ve known for two months that I was going to order a piece of artglass (leaded glass) for a project. I had gotten in touch at the start with my favorite resource, she had recently moved and sold her business to someone she recommends. I trust her recommendation so planned to use him. I’ve spent the last month at least trying to get this piece of the project to completion. Mark’s follow up lacks any sense of urgency or completion. He originally required me to come out to see him, not realizing that his predecessor always came to me and that was appropriate and necessary.
I did homework for Mark by reviewing samples online, but when we met in person he hadn’t pulled those specific pieces together saving me time, instead he provided everything all over again. This seemingly simple goof created frustration and double work for me. When your client does work for you of any kind, don’t make them repeat it.
Use a checklist to ensure that you are dotting every I and crossing every T. Lack of follow up makes you look unprofessional, incompetent, and like a failure. It is always better to err on the side of extra contact than not enough. Even if you contact just to check in to ensure everything is as your client (customer) expected, that makes a difference.
Share your bad and good customer and client service experiences here! We can all learn how to improve our follow up and follow through to success.