Follow-up. Is it one word, two words, or a hyphenated word? In technical terms, when using “follow up” as a verb, there is a space between the two words. If you are using it as a noun or adjective, you should put a hyphen between the two words: “follow-up”. Although you might see it as one word, this is usually not the standard practice.
Whether used as a verb or noun, is it really an important element in the success of a business? Answer: yes, absolutely, imperative, unconditionally, crucial, and essential. These two words or the hyphenated word cannot be over emphasized when related to a business, its growth, and long-term success.
Importance of Customer Follow-Up
Who’s the most important customer a business has? It’s the one a business is dealing with at the current moment in time. It might be in an office, across a counter, on the phone, on a selling floor, in a customer’s place of business, or communicating via email. Wherever or whenever the encounter takes place, the customer must be made to feel important – made to feel that he or she is the most important customer a business has. In fact, that individual (or business) is the most important customer a business has at that very moment in time.
During the current economic crisis brought about by the global pandemic, each and every customer and potential customer is increasingly more important. Customers purchase value, but they want to feel valued, as well. When customers spend money (whether it’s business-to-consumer or business-to-business), they want to feel that they are important to the business. This feeling of being valued must be conveyed both before and after a sales transaction.
Customers purchase for many reasons. They buy benefits and solutions to their problems. Customers are generally not interested in how something is made or what process or procedure a business goes through to furnish the goods or services they have purchased. They are certainly not interested if the business has one customer or thousands of customers. To a particular customer, he or she is the most important, and that feeling of importance can be transferred from the business to the customer with “follow-up.”
Follow-Up is Key
Depending on the type of business (other than normal point of sale), follow-up is two-fold...both before and after a sale. Before a sale, follow-up is an important ingredient in actually consummating the sale. This starts building the foundation for what the customer thinks about the business. Am I important? What will the future service be like? Is the business interested in any questions I might have? Follow-up is a great way for a potential customer to gauge one business versus another. Pre-sale follow-up is an important phase in the overall selling process. If successful, the sale is made.
But...follow-up cannot stop at this point in time. It is wonderful to have a sale and assume the customer is satisfied with whatever products or services were purchased. There is no need, however, to simply be satisfied with “satisfied customers.” Follow-up after a sale is what makes customers feel valued and important. This feeling can turn those same customers into goodwill ambassadors for a business by telling others about their favorable experience not to mention repeating their own buying experience. This is how real growth in a business is achieved...customers purchasing over and over again.
Certainly, following up with every customer might not be feasible depending on the type of business. This does not, however, lessen the importance of follow-up. The size of the customer base will dictate the extent and amount of customer follow-up. In some situations, all customers and prospective customers can be contacted while other situations might dictate that customers be randomly selected for follow-up after a sale. What is most important is not the quantity and method of follow-up, but the mere fact that customers are being contacted both before and after a sale as much as possible.
Beat the Competition
You can feel confident that the competition is probably not following up to the extent possible. So, beat the competition by making follow-up a standard procedure in your business.