One of the worst things possible is dealing with a company that is not able to follow through albeit their demands or their promises. I’ve been on the receiving end of this, where I have had a vendor that stated that they would provide the company I worked for with materials, and they did not actually ship the materials when they said they did, thus leaving our customers in a bind waiting for materials that eventually became out of stock for us. I have also been on the giving end of this, where I or a co-worker did not follow through with a sale, and resulted in a disaster.
Following through is everything!
Once, we had an employee that contacted a customer, sold her a several-thousand-dollar product but failed to follow through. The order was forgotten for several days, and when she called four days later having expected the order to arrive, we hadn’t even sent it out, yet. To add insult to injury, the order she did finally receive had some wrong products. We obviously took this very seriously and did what we could to make up for it, but the experience of our neglect and shortcomings already planted an impression in this customer’s mind.
This situation could have been prevented by simply following through with our commitments. Here are some steps we follow to avoid repeating this experience on future customers.
- Write everything down! Whether on Microsoft OneNote, Google Sheets, or on a post-it note (I would encourage something on your computer so that you can search it). This will give you verifiable evidence that you can always go back to it, if needed, not to mention to help with your own memorization.
- Fulfill, fulfill, fulfill. Once you close the sale, do not start another one until this order has been fulfilled. Sure, we can get busy and have a large number of accounts to get through, even on a deadline. However, if you do not fulfill this order, especially after the customer has paid, you will have a bigger problem than not getting through your leads list – you will have damage control. Whether in a call center setting like ours or in a few-member-team, you depend on your coworkers to work together to get the orders filled and customers satisfied. Let your team know you have to complete the order started, and they will help the next customer in line. Teamwork is important.
- Verify. Verification of the order is not often associated with follow through, but I think it is a key aspect. Think about it, what are you following through on? You are following through on fulfilling a specific order, thus, you should verify what you are fulfilling, and this is part of follow through.
- Finally, follow through is always key in damage control. Everyone messes up every now and then. Having good follow through will certainly reduce those mistakes, but some will still occur whether it was beyond your control or not. But when those occasions occur, follow through must kick into high gear as a customer’s emotions are in effect and their perception is focused on your mistakes. When you follow through with a solution, for the most part, a customer will be as thrilled as they were with you before the mistake occurred as they will offer an amount of grace. Good follow through expands that amount of grace the customer is willing to offer you, simply because you did what you said you would, and they recognize it as a simple mistake rather than a business pattern.
These four keys to follow through will not eliminate mistakes, but they will certainly be a guide to reducing them significantly.
|Call Center Hours|
|Mon – Wed||9am – 8pm Eastern|
|Thurs – Fri||9am – 5:30pm Eastern|
|Sat||10am – 1pm Eastern|
|Mon – Fri||9am – 5:30pm Eastern|
|Sat||10am – 12pm Eastern*|