Failing to Follow Up
I have had a number of experiences lately that quite frankly has left me baffled. With all of the technology and tools available, I don’t know why small business owners are still struggling with implementing a consistent process for follow up and basic customer service.
If a customer patronizes your business you owe it to them and your company to implement a relationship-building process. I’m not trying to sound preachy but this is one of those small business mistakes that I see repeatedly and quite honestly it frustrates me to no end.
Let’s Break it Down
Let me give you an example.
Imagine you are a hairdresser and a new client has taken the time to research your business and make an appointment. They are pleased with the services you provided and happily pay your fee and also leave a healthy tip.
From here you have two options.
- You thank them for their business and expect they will make another appointment in the future.
- You provide them with tips for maintaining their style, recommend some products they can use until their next appointment, and open your calendar to book them for their next appointment.
The second option seems obvious and it’s likely what many stylists do for first time clients. But let’s say the customer has a pretty hectic few weeks and they are not able to schedule the appointment right away. They tell you they will go on to your website and make the appointment when their schedule clears up.
Except they never do. It’s not that they weren’t happy with your services they just were swamped with work and family obligations and were struggling to make time for self-care services like hair appointments.
As the business owner in this scenario what should you have done?
I’m glad you asked. You should have activated your systematized follow up plan. Depending on the hairstyle the customer received, you might give her a call in two weeks to see how well the styled lasted and to ask if she has any questions about ongoing maintenance. On that call, you might also reemphasize the importance of regular appointments so that she can reach the hair goals you consulted with her about at the first meeting.
You can let her know that you have a special offer for her for the next treatment and that you have some times available on the weekend that may accommodate her busy schedule.
Chances are she’s going to schedule the appointment. She’s never had a hairstylist take the time to follow up with her and to show sincere interest in helping her accomplish her goals.
However, even if for some reason she isn’t ready to make the appointment you can ask for her permission to add her to your Healthy Hair Monthly Newsletter email list. This way you stay top of mind and when she is ready to visit your shop again she will have your contact information handy and will have benefited from the helpful tips you sent every month.
With this system in place, the hairdresser has cemented herself as the expert, started a relationship with a new customer, and provided value over and above the client’s expectations. This client is likely to become a lifetime customer and will also refer other great customers.
As a business owner if you do not have a solid follow up plan in place you are either too arrogant (I’m so good the clients should be honored I took their appointment), too overwhelmed (You are so busy you can’t find time to keep track of new clients) or you just haven’t made the time to put a process in place.
Well, that ends today! If you are reading this you now have at least a basic idea of how to create a follow-up system. If you feel you don’t know where to start and need help, I would love to meet with you one-on-one to help you develop your marketing plan for the next 90 days. You can book a strategy session here.
Check out my latest YouTube video to hear about my real life no follow up situation with a carpet cleaning company.
Let’s hear from you. Do you have a systematized follow up plan in place? Leave a comment below.
Until next week… Business Blessings!