If your customer or client relationships are structured in a way that facilitates communication after a sale, your business should be making the effort to reach out and follow up, either by phone, email, or regular mail. Why is it so important to follow up with your clients?

It’s More Than Just Expressing Your Appreciation

As children, we are often taught that saying “thank you” and expressing appreciation is an important part of being a kind and respectful person – many of us were even required to send thank you cards and letters after holidays and birthdays. Although that process of following up may have felt tedious as a child, it’s possible that a parent may have let slip that without a formal thank you, future gifts may not have been forthcoming. Even if you weren’t asked or required to send thank you notes as a child, it’s not difficult to appreciate that following up with a customer or client after a sale, just like following up with a relative or friend after receiving a gift, is an important component of building strong relationships and boosting loyalty to you and your brand. Not only does following up with your customers provide an opportunity to generate goodwill, but it also provides opportunities for heading off any problems and concerns your client or customer may have with your product or service, which can help reduce your return rate and improving customer loyalty.

Should You Follow Up By Phone, Email or Regular Mail?

Choosing whether to follow up after the sale by phone, email, or regular mail is an important choice that largely depends on the type of relationship you have with your customers or clients. If you have a relatively small customer or client base, sending out a formal email or letter may backfire and be worse than not following up at all, as your recipients may feel insulted by the impersonality of your communication. On the other hand, if you have a relatively large customer or client base and/or a relatively large number of transactions, it can be overwhelming or even impossible to follow up individually. A phone call can be more personal than an email or formal letter, and it also provides the sometimes invaluable benefit of immediate customer feedback. The primary downside of following up by phone is the investment of time it can require, especially if a client wants to chat for an extended length of time. Following up by email may be more impersonal than a phone call, but email provides a convenient and cost-effective method of contacting many recipients at once, and can even be completely automated. Finally, regular or “snail” mail may be seen as an outdated, ineffective, or costly, but a formal customer or client follow-up in writing can prove to be extremely effective, especially to older customers who may still prefer to communicate largely through written correspondence.

To Sell Or Not To Sell?

Following up after a sale should be used as an opportunity to build your client or customer relationships and boost your brand. While the ultimate goal of following-up is to generate future sales, turning this communication into an outright sales pitch can backfire spectacularly, especially if your customer or client has no need for an immediate additional purchase. However, if your customer or client expresses their appreciation and/or loyalty to you and your brand, you should politely and respectfully ask them to become a brand advocate by referring your company to their friends, family, or professional colleagues when appropriate. If you are communicating by email or regular mail, be careful not to make your communication look like a marketing pitch or, worse, “spam” or “junk mail.” Your primary concern should be following up and expressing your appreciation, and your method of communication should clearly reflect that intention.