Each new customer brings value to your business. However, a single purchase or service call cannot compare with a long-term customer relationship. A loyal customer can be a significant source of revenue or referrals for years to come.
Customer follow-ups can increase sales, bring positive reviews or referrals, avoid unhappy customers by resolving confusion, improve your process through direct feedback, and fulfill several other purposes. However, their ultimate goal is to nurture and build customer relationships. You want to turn a new customer into a regular and, possibly, into a loyal advocate.
When you provide value to your customers with each follow-up, you can help improve your customer’s experience of your business operations. Potential benefits of value-driven customer follow-ups include:
- Humanizing your company and showing you care
- Improving customer experience
- Proactively addressing complaints (turning potentially poor customer experiences into great ones)
- Increasing engagement
- Increasing loyalty
- Boosting sales
- Making your customers feel valued
- Reducing churn
Consistent, thoughtful follow-ups seem simple. However, they have a surprisingly profound impact on the relationships your customers have with your business.
An effective follow-up campaign will include some carefully timed, automated follow-ups and a few personalized ones. Depending on the size of your company, your staff, and your access to AI software, you can create an industry-appropriate campaign to deliver targeted messages to customers at the moments they will appreciate it most.
Here are seven ways to reach out to customers after a sale to continue their engagement with your business.
A gracious customer follow-up message is a simple thank you note of appreciation for their business. You can send thank you messages by email, as a physical card, or even with a phone call.
Expressing gratitude to a customer for their business is the most common type of customer follow-up for a very good reason. It paves the way for you to continue to contact them post-sale but doesn’t seem in any way pushy or sales-y.
Your post-sale thank you is also a way to share essential contact information to remind customers how to reach you. You can also keep them engaged by inviting them to membership or upcoming events or reminding them about helpful resources on your website.
Another common follow-up method is to ask your customers for feedback. Asking for feedback shows that you care about their experience. It can help you improve your operations, build trust, and further the relationship with your customers. If you get positive feedback, that is wonderful. If you get negative feedback, it’s an opportunity to turn things around.
Depending on your business and the types of questions you want to be answered, you can send customers a survey with pre-written questions or an open-ended form. You can also send them a link to an online review platform and ask that they post their feedback there.
A third outstanding way to continue the customer relationship after the sale is an onboarding sequence. Even if all the instructions for your product or service are included in the sale, helpful, simple reminders about the most important things to remember can be life-saving. Not everyone reads or remembers all the instructions you give them.
For example, if you sell cars, you can create a follow-up sequence with important things to know about the make and model of the vehicle they purchased. You can share items like:
- The best type of gasoline to use
- How often to bring it in for service
- Special features of the car that may be new to the customer (because they weren’t standard the last time they purchased one)
If you install or repair HVAC, your follow-up sequence can remind customers how to get the most efficient experience from their equipment and how to make it perform well for as long as possible.
If your customer service or sales team regularly gets the same questions over and over with new purchases, the answers to these questions are an outstanding follow-up. You can be confident that many customers will find the answers valuable because the questions are asked so often.
Helping customers make the most of their product or service is a powerful way to increase their happiness with your company. The more features they understand and use, the more likely they are to appreciate what you sold them.
If your company has invested in a knowledge base of blogs or videos, they can be part of your proactive support model with customers. When you consistently provide customers with valuable information, you signal you’re dedicated to their continued success. You also stay top of mind for referrals and repeat business.
The more you can tie the articles and videos you sent with individual customers’ interests, the better results you will see. You can identify customer interests based on segments or individual behavior.
There are several ways to identify what customers are curious about. They may:
- Contact your customer support team
- Browse your website for a specific product or service
- Be a good fit for other products or services based on past purchases
- Need reminders about service appointments (based on a calendar)
- Respond to a discount offer, promotion, or upcoming event
This type of customer follow-up is largely untapped. If you’re a smaller company without a lot of staff or technology to help you personalize these communications, you can send out customer surveys or look at your website analytics to gain insight into your customers’ interests and needs.
You don’t always have to send customers information about your business. A timely news article or a useful resource may be the touchpoint they need. Regardless of the source of the article or video, your customer will appreciate your thoughtful support.
A special offer can make your clients feel valuable and important. There are a few ways to accomplish this. The most important thing is to remember it’s about what your customer wants and needs as much as it is what you want to sell.
You can send a new customer a discount, promotion, or membership offer based on the purchase they just made. It could be for a related product or service or an upgrade to what they just bought.
Remember that this offer is an act of appreciation on your part. Make sure your customer understands that you’re recognizing them, thanking them for being part of your business, and rewarding them with something special.
Offering a seasonal service? Adding a new product, service, or feature? These are excellent opportunities to reach out to your customer list and let them know what is happening.
Even if they don’t have an immediate need for what you’re offering, the update reminds them about your company and creates an opportunity for them to share your product or service offer with friends and family. Keeping the tone friendly help build relationships more than a hard sales pitch. The more you make your customers feel like you care about their success and are offering your support, the better they feel about your company.
Let your customers know you’re thinking about them with a brief message to see how they are doing with their product or after the service. You’ve let them know you’re available and reminded them of your company. You may not hear a reply from them, especially if all is well, but it is a considerate gesture.
This type of outreach is especially good for those customers who have a question or concern but are slow or reluctant to reach out. It may be something simple that you can resolve quickly but which could have festered into dissatisfaction if left unaddressed.
Consumers appreciate a proactive approach when businesses reach out to them instead of always having to get in touch when they experience an issue. This is a simple but powerful way to increase customer satisfaction.
As you set up and execute your customer follow-up program, the most important step is to evaluate and reevaluate. This is not a cookie-cutter solution where you just set up a contact sequence and think no more about it. That may still create some customer loyalty, but the potential of a marketing follow-up program is maximized when you individualize your message.
To get you started, here are seven essential elements of a follow-up email. If you do use email, split testing headlines and offers is an effective way to improve responsiveness and narrow down what your customers want to see from you.
Just as markets, products, services, and customer needs continue to evolve, so will your customer follow-up strategy. However, remember that the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow is full of loyal customers who know you, like you, continue to work with your business, and may refer their friends and family. It’s easier to work with the same customer ten times than with ten customers one time, and following up can make that happen for you.
As you continue to provide value to your customers long after the sale, you can stay in front of them in a very light-touch, non-sales-y way. You’re not just marketing; you’re relationship building. If you have any questions about how to start or improve a customer follow-up strategy, our experienced marketers are here to help.