Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Marketing Tidbit O' The Day: Customer Followup

OK, today's tidbit isn't really marketing, but customer service. Some of your customers may be shy about approaching you to say they have a problem. While I see my business as a business no matter who I sell to, I know some clients see me as a "friend" who they don't want to upset. Make it easy on them. Open up dialogues with them after transactions & never blame them for hesitating to tell you about an issue.

Example: I goofed and didn't follow up on a shipment from earlier this month and guess what?  The package was lost. I should have caught that by following up on that shipment within a few days after sending it, but I didn't.  My customer is a friend who doesn't like to 'rock the boat,' so she said nothing.  Luckily, the subject came up in the course of conversation. I assured her that "stuff happens" and I'm never going to be upset with any client about a lost or damaged package.  Likewise, I am never going to be upset with a client who asks for the status of a package, even if it's my fault.  But rather than try to change how my friend feels or thinks, it's simpler and more direct to change my practices.

It's our job as sellers to make our clients comfortable and to make sure they know what our shipment/insurance/replacement policies are in advance. Some people will be direct, some shy, some may come across as rude, some vague and some will dance around the issue. Do your best to read into what they're trying to tell you and offer up solutions.  

If you make a mistake, tell the truth, don't make excuses, then apologize and make it right.  It's also a smart move to add in a little something extra without asking since most customers will say they don't want anything extra.  Just send it.  Whatever you do, don't send them a % off coupon for their another purchase - that's just rubbing salt in their wound.  If you goofed on this transaction, they're unlikely to purchase again until you make it up to them.

Oh, and track your packages before your clients have a need to come to you about it. Yeesh.

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