EPISODE 19

Your Customer Follow-ups Ignore Growth Opportunities

 

Episode details

So what do we mean when we’re talking about customer follow up? There are two trains of thought here: One is following up with prospects to close a sale, and the other is the…

Episode details

So what do we mean when we’re talking about customer follow up? There are two trains of thought here: One is following up with prospects to close a sale, and the other is the process of reaching out to talk to recent customers — which usually involves a phone call after the customer fills out a survey.

In this episode, we’re focusing on that second option. And it’s this kind of follow-up that, when you do it right, can bring a ton of value to your business — specifically in three key ways.

This episode was adapted from the article, “Why Customer Follow-up Is Crucial to a Positive Customer Experience.”

 

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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear customer follow-up?

If you’re getting flashbacks of obnoxious sales reps, invasive emails or text messages, or novel-length phone interviews that put Tolstoy’s War and Peace to shame, you’re in good company.

When done poorly, customer follow-up calls leave a sour taste in our mouths. But on the flip side, when brands ignore follow-ups altogether, they leave growth opportunities, customer satisfaction, and even revenue on the table. 

You gotta get follow up right — both for your customer’s sake AND your business success.

And today, we’ll show you how.

Intro

Welcome to Snackable CX, where we break down our best resources into bite-sized guidance on how to stand out and be known for your customer experience. I’m Sam Salerno, here from Mindful, the best-in-class total experience solution that aims to add kindness to your tech stack.

So what do we mean when we’re talking about customer follow up? There are two trains of thought here: One is following up with prospects to close a sale, and the other is the process of reaching out to talk to recent customers — which usually involves a phone call after the customer fills out a survey.

In this episode, we’re focusing on that second option. And it’s this kind of follow-up that, when you do it right, can bring a ton of value to your business — specifically in three key ways.

First, it gives you direct insight into the customer’s experience — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We LOVE surveys (…so much so that we built probably the coolest voice of customer solution on the market…), but even we recognize that surveys only get you so far. No matter how dynamic or snazzy you make them — whether post-call IVR surveys or automated SMS messages with a link to your survey platform — they just can’t replace the nuance that comes with real conversations. Spur-of-the-moment responses can act as a springboard for agents to explore different areas of the customer journey, address any issues or roadblocks the customer is experiencing, and get real-time insight on possible future product development.

Second, following up with customers keeps your brand top-of-mind.

There are so many businesses out there competing for your customer’s attention. To let them “go quietly into that dark night” after their purchase or after leaving negative feedback without a follow-up plan means you, first, miss out on crucial insights, and, second, miss an opportunity to get back in front of the customer.

I did some research this week and wanna give you my book report on something called the mere-exposure effect, or the familiarity principle. Essentially, it holds that exposure influences preference. I’ll let you get into all the details on your own, but you’ve likely heard a spinoff of this principle in the advertising world — where messages need to be delivered seven times before the customer takes action.

Follow ups, quite simply, create another touchpoint between your brand and your customers… which leads to my third point…

Customer follow up builds brand trust and loyalty.

A survey by Zendesk found that just over 40% of US customers say that the customer experience is more important to them now compared to a year ago, and roughly 50% will switch to a competitor after a single bad experience. 

Those are scary numbers.

But when your service team personally reaches out to follow up with customers when they’ve had a bad experience — and not just with a generic “We’re sorry to see you go” survey but with a real human-to-human conversation to understand the situation — it shows you actually care about their experience. It builds trust. And ultimately gives customers the assurance that your brand is worth doing business with again in the future.

Alright, let’s take it out of the theoretical and into the nitty gritty. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to set up a follow up program in your business or you’re looking for ways on tightening up your current program, here’s our quick-snack recipe for perfect customer follow-up.

First up, it all starts with a smart survey.

Sure, surveys alone don’t cut it. But unless you have unlimited time and resources, you can’t possibly follow up with every single customer.

We’ve got tons of resources you can check out on our website about how to set up perfect CSAT and NPS surveys, but the real trick is having a system in place that can automatically flag surveys needing a direct follow-up. Even more important, that “flagging” needs to happen in real time so survey responses don’t fall through the cracks.

A customer says they had a terrible time with an agent? Boom: follow up call. They mention canceling their service or asking for a refund? Follow up call. The survey software you use should be able to recognize any negative keywords or sentiment, mark that survey for review, and immediately trigger a follow-up message that invites customers to speak with an agent.

Second piece is to make the follow up call a premium experience.

If one poor experience is enough to drive 50% of customers to your competitors, then back-to-back negative experiences is the proverbial nail in the coffin. Everything about your follow up call needs to be as smooth, seamless, and customer-centric as possible—from start to finish.

Start by letting the customer choose when to have the call. Connect your telephony stack with a dedicated call scheduling solution that can provide customers with a range of dates and times they can pick from. We’ve seen this level of customer control work wonders for our clients.

Next, give your agents the information they need for a perfect call. Again, this comes down to how well your CRM and telephony stack are connected. Before the call connects, your agents should get a screen pop with the survey responses and any recent case info so the customer feels like the call is an in-depth extension of their survey.

Quick story: I experienced the exact opposite of this last week after I had canceled a subscription and received a follow up call from an agent to talk about my experience. The agent was nice and all, but it honestly felt like they were reading through my survey right there on the phone. The questions were repetitive, I didn’t feel like my input was very valuable, and in the end, I was even more convinced I had made the right choice to cancel.

Don’t be like those guys. Make your follow-up calls feel like a premium experience. Remember, these calls not only give you valuable insight into your customer’s journey, but they can double as a life raft that pulls customers back to your brand.

Last but not least, step #3: Show your customer you value their feedback.

Following up on customer feedback and showing you addressed customer concerns is a HUGE opportunity for brands to stand out from the competition.

Why? Because according to research from Statista, only 49% of global consumers believe brands value and act on their feedback — highlighting a massive lack of trust in the feedback process.

Sure, you can incentivize customers with gift cards and discounts to say thanks for taking a survey or call, but how much more valuable would customers feel if, after detailing how they had a sub-par experience with your brand, they received a personal follow-up about how their feedback contributed to real change? I mean, please, throw a $5 coffee card at me and I’ll thank you as I’m downing my Americano, but show me you listened to my feedback and there’s a good chance I’ll do business with you again.

Feedback organization and well-kept CRMs are the key to pulling this off. After every follow-up call, make sure agents quickly note on the customer’s profile how the call went, specific feedback they received, and the customer’s sentiment during the call. 

This data needs to be categorized well to see trends and reconnect with the right customers at scale. Then, if their feedback is directly addressed in, say, a product or policy update, make it a practice of reaching out to let them know that their feedback led to direct change.

This level of follow-up takes customer service to a whole new level.

Next steps

Follow-up calls should be a natural part of your brand’s workflow and your customers’ experience. Again, when done well, they can significantly boost customer satisfaction, increase brand loyalty, and even drive revenue by letting you hear directly from customers about areas of their journey that might need a little more TLC.

It’s hard work — sometimes even humbling work — but the rewards are worth it. We’ve seen our own clients completely transform their businesses by implementing feedback and follow-up programs in their workflows, so we know it’s possible. So start with a great survey, make the follow-up process smooth, and work to implement feedback as often as you can.

This episode has been adapted from the article, “Why Customer Follow-up is Crucial to a Positive Customer Experience,” which you can find in the Mindful CX library at getmindful.com.

We publish new, Snackable CX episodes every week, so be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. See ya next time.

Written and performed by Sam Salerno.

Produced and engineered by Jared Evers.

Edited, mixed, and mastered by Adam Griffith.

Artwork designed by Rob Beckham.

Snackable CX

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