If I had a euro for every time someone said they would get back to me and actually called, text or emailed me, I would be a very rich woman.
This seems to be a common trait and even though it seems like “common sense” to call someone when you say you will, people do not always do it.
On many of my training workshops, I talk about the importance of following up with customers. On each occasion, I ask two questions:
- Do you believe people, when they say they will call you back?
- Do you always follow up with customers when you say you will?
In answer to the first question, every time someone in the group will tell me they do not believe the person will call back even though they promised. Generally, a discussion emerges and participants will go as far as telling me the names of organisations that are “known” for not calling customers back and also the types of trades or professions which they believe are the “worse culprits”. Unanimously, people agree on the rare occasion when they get a call back, they consider it a bonus.
In response to question two, the initial reaction from attendees is that they say they will always get back in touch with their customers. So, I dig a little deeper and ask the following questions:
- Do they call people back when they promise even to say they don’t have an update?
- Do they call back the people they consider have a silly request, don’t like or think were rude?
- Do they ever feel there is no point calling someone back if customers are shopping around?
- Have they ever had an occasion when they got caught up in a meeting or forgot to call someone back and now were too embarrassed to call as they thought it was too late?
I always get a few people in the group answering “YES” to any or all of the above questions. Whilst, I believe it’s good for us to recognise that things happen and we make mistakes. It is also important to admit when we are wrong and be prepared to change our ways.
As a result, this is the advice I give participants on my courses:
- Always call people back when you have promised - even if you don’t have an update
- People are happier when they are kept informed and less likely to get annoyed with you
- It can improve relationships, help to personalise and build confidence with customers
- You will be seen as reliable and trustworthy
- It’s gives people an opportunity to get to know you and to be more open with you
- From a sales perspective you will increase your chances of getting the business
- If you forget to call at a particular date/time – don’t worry about time gaps, just get in touch
- Set aside enough time to call people back, especially when you have several people to contact
- Remember the best times for speaking with customers – if you miss them, be prepared to call back
- Pick up the phone when its sensitive, complicated or personal - don’t hide behind email
- And finally, focus on all customers – not just the ones you like
For more ideas for using the phone to sell or provide better customer service, check out our upcoming training workshops.