My last trip to the dentist was over 6 months ago. Nine, to be exact. Some of you may be thinking that would be just fine with you! However, if you were a dentist, you’d probably want to know when I’d be coming in for my routine cleaning and check-up.
At the end of my last dental exam, the receptionist told me I’d receive a call to schedule my next appointment when it was closer. I was a little surprised because it had always been a standard practice to set up my next appointment before I left the office. My dentist never called me, and later this month I’ll be headed to a new dentist.
Following Up is Essential
Your existing customers are your best prospects for future revenues. If you don’t nurture them by following up at the appropriate time, you could be missing a lifetime of recurring income, referrals, and customer feedback.
Plan to Follow Up
Make following up with your customers part of your routine. Unless this is part of your formal customer interaction process, you’ll be more prone to forget and people will slip through the cracks. Try to schedule your contacts to coincide with the time when the customer will be ready to buy again. For example, with my dental example, I should be contacted every six months.
Set Customers’ Expectations
When you are finished with your current transaction, communicate to your customers when you’ll be contacting them next. If you offer a service or product that requires scheduled maintenance or updates, make that appointment before the customer leaves. My dentist should never have let me leave without my next appointment on the calendar.
Indicate to the customer how you’ll be contacting them. Will it be by phone, mail, or email? Allow them to choose how they’d like to be reached. Respect their wishes and only use that channel for your communications unless you both agree otherwise.
The Follow Up
When the time comes to follow up with your customers, you need to tread carefully. If some significant time has elapsed, will they even remember you? When you send that email or give them a call, remember to communicate the following:
- Your name and the business name
- Why you are calling (to schedule an appointment or to remind, etc.)
- When they need to see you or when your visit will be
- Where they need to go
- What they need to do (Do they need to bring anything special, like an insurance card or the product they purchased?)
- Why they need to do business with you again
- That you appreciate their time and look forward to seeing them
Oh, I forgot…
Many times when you contact a customer, they will have forgotten that they were scheduled for an appointment or that they were due for service. Nevertheless, they are more than willing to reengage and do business with you. What if you had never called? That is money left on the table.
Don’t forget to follow up with customers and clients! It may just be the easiest money you’ve ever made.