Is your customer follow up process leaking?

A couple months ago, I needed to replace a window that broke during a windstorm.  I saw an ad in the local newspaper.  I noticed it offered a free report, so I decided to contact them instead of going into the yellow pages.

I got the report and frankly it was well written and informational.  I was looking forward to doing business with them.  I waited two weeks and left a message.  Nothing! No follow up.  Almost four weeks went by and still nothing.

Unbelievable!  How is this possible?

Someone sent me a report, so the company had my contact information.  Yet no one followed up.  Even when a prospective customer called 2 weeks later, no one responded.

I can’t understand why a company would invest whatever amount of money they spent for that ad, only to let prospects fall through the cracks. 

Following-up is one of the most important things I stress to any business I consult with.  When you promise something you have to follow up to make sure it was done.

When someone raises their hand and identifies themselves as having an interest in doing business with your company, it is just plain dumb to make only one attempt at selling to that person.

Since very few businesses do a decent job with follow-up, your competitive edge is huge when you do it.

Examine your follow up process and make sure leads and prospects are not falling through the cracks.

Let me know what you think.


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25 Responses to “Is your customer follow up process leaking?”

  1. Duncan Baker says:

    Ken,

    You are quite right. We have really tightened up on this recently and it does pay.

    Duncan

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Duncan Baker,
    Very good Duncan.

    [Reply]

  2. Pat Harmeyer says:

    Do you use a specific CRM like ACT or something else?

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Pat Harmeyer,
    Pat, we are using ZohoCRM.com

    [Reply]

  3. Kim Welsford says:

    Such a simple and easy exercise and so effective, yet so many people / businesses overlook it.Why is that?

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Kim Welsford,
    Hi Kim, I think one of the main reasons it happens is because the businesses don’t see follow-up as a priority. Other things seem to be more important, so they give their attention to those things. In the meantime, they are bleeding money they could be making.

    [Reply]

  4. May says:

    Absolutely! There is no excuse for not following up with a customer request either for pre-sales or post-sales. Don’t know how large the window company is or how it is structured but it is also possible that the person/team responsible for sales, IT and/or customer service is not even aware of the marketing campaign or receiving notice of the generated leads. Marketing delivers campaigns based on external timing and opportunities but unfortunately, those campaigns are rarely well-coordinated or communicated internally to effectively support and respond to them. It is amazing that even micro-sized companies of less than 10 people also tend to operate in segregated areas (aka “business silos”).

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @May,
    Hi May, you are right. A breakdown in communications between departments definitely contributes to this problem.

    [Reply]

  5. Janet Ostrov says:

    Follow up is easy with a system like SendOutCards. And it isn’t just about calling a prospective customer, but keeping in touch so that they refer you to others and come back when they need your services again. At the local business showcase, vendors collect hundreds of names, make one call a week later, and then don’t continue to follow up until the person who collected info from their booth is READY to buy. Getting systematic about follow up really pays off!

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Janet Ostrov,
    Hi Janet, good to hear from you. Yes, having a system in place and making sure it’s cohesive and isn’t leaking is essential.

    [Reply]

  6. Ken,
    You let the cat out of the bag.

    I rely on my competion not following up, that’s how I get the vast majority of my buisness.

    The potential customer calls 3 or 4 power washing companies and the only one that answers the phone and gives an estimate within 48 hours is me.

    Most of our new clients tell me I’m the only one that showed up!

    My advertising cost me about $2500 per month , payroll and other expenses are 4 times that.

    You better belive that I’m going to show up, follow up and do the job right.

    I don’t know if it’s just a NJ thing but when I call contractors to get estimates for work around my properties I find the customer service to be pathetic. No return call, or if they do call they don’t show up and leave me waiting for them.

    It’s not hard to be a good buisness person. Just show up, be resonably priced, do the job right and send the customer a thank you..duh

    Brian Hegarty
    A+ Powerwashing and Roof Cleaning

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Brian Hegarty,
    Hi Brian, good for you. Congratulations!

    [Reply]

  7. Bill Lang says:

    Ken
    A good topic that I can relate to. Since I do a lot of networking and meet many persons I find my follow up is contingent on time spent in the office. I would appreciate your thoughts as to whether or not every new contact shoulds be evaluated for follow up or not.

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Bill Lang,
    Hi Bill, as far as networking, since you have a limited amount of time to follow up, you should prioritize who you will contact first, then next, etc., based on your goals and the types of relationships you are working on building.

    [Reply]

  8. Mary Smart says:

    Great Topic! In addition to some businesses not realizing the value in follow-up, in other cases it is the business overextending themselves. They’ve taken on too many customers and cannot serve them to the best of their ability. A good reminder that quality is more important than the number of people you are serving!

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Mary Smart,
    Mary, good point.

    [Reply]

  9. Bob Ciok says:

    Ken, As Marketing Manager for several major companies and one who not only had to generate leads, but to ensure that our sales group followed-up, let me state that this is a lost art. I once generated a list of VA hospitals and identified by name, title, location, telephone number, email, etc. the technicians that used exactly a piece of state of the art equipment that we manufactured. Instead of the reps/sales personnel following up (calling, visiting, etc.), they argued for months that these weren’t real leads, so they weren’t going to follow up. This in an economy that was flatter than a pancake, while the industry that was blooming, Medical, was being put out there for these sales personnel to follow up, but refused based on “whether or not” this was a lead. Are you kidding me? It has been stated that most business is lost not because of poor quality or service, but apathy. Ain’t that the truth!

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Bob Ciok,
    Hi Bob, thanks for sharing this story.

    [Reply]

  10. Anne Hilbert says:

    Excellent point Ken. As a networking coach I teach my clients to follow up within 48 hours of the initial contact. It’s like dating. Women don’t want a man to call 2 weeks or more after meeting them. When you follow up within 48 hours, the interest is still alive and chances are better for closing the sale.

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Anne Hilbert,
    Hi Anne, great guideline.

    [Reply]

  11. Dynamicjohn says:

    Always great information Ken.If we did not follow up with our clients we would have been out of Business a long time ago.I’m always amazed how people WAIT to be called by the customer.Most people like that we follow up with them! We have gotten jobs,16 months later,just by following up every month.Keep bringing the great info Ken!

    [Reply]

  12. Dead composed written content, thanks for entropy. “In the fight between you and the world, back the world.” by Frank Zappa.

    [Reply]

  13. Outstanding post, you have pointed out some excellent details, I besides conceive this is a very superb website.

    [Reply]

  14. Bob Barnes says:

    Ken do you still recommend goldmine for crm

    [Reply]

  15. Wanita says:

    Tohncdowu! That’s a really cool way of putting it!

    [Reply]

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