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Follow-Up is The Key To Long-Term Brand Loyalty

Integrating The Role of Follow-Up Into Your CX Strategy Can Generate Advocacy, Retention & Revenue

Every business has different ways of capturing customer feedback. Think about the channels your company uses to ensure accessible and attentive customer service. Between your email, phone, social media, website forms and live chat, there are a handful of different ways for customers to get in touch. But what really happens after they hit the “submit” button? How often do you personally follow up on reported issues, complaints or concerns? How frequently does that follow-up result in a resolution? And how regularly do you use that feedback to make tangible improvements to your business? If you can confidently say you’re on top of these activities, you may be in the minority.

According to Harvard Business Review, poor follow-up is one of the biggest complaints customers have today. 56% are frustrated about needing to re-explain an issue when calling back, while 62% report having to repeatedly contact a company to get a resolution.

Those numbers are surprising considering that 32% of consumers will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. While keeping customers happy seems like a no-brainer, it isn’t always as deeply ingrained in a brand’s CX as it should be. And that’s often because it’s missing the crucial step of follow-up – an activity that requires conscious effort and planning. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the role of follow-up in long-term brand loyalty and how you can make it a constructive part of your business.

Why follow up?

Here are some of the top reasons why successful brands prioritize customer follow-up:

Solve their problem. Whether you deliver a product or service, your brand exists to make customers’ lives better in some way. So, the most obvious reason for following up after they report an issue is to help them find a solution. Following up shows existing customers they can always rely on your brand to follow through.

Show appreciation. Just like feeling underappreciated drives people away from relationships and jobs, it’s also one of the top reasons a customer walks away from a brand they love. On the flipside, customers who do feel appreciated are more likely to recommend or endorse a brand on social media. Responding to feedback shows that you appreciate their input and value their business. When customers feel valued, they tend to come back and spend more money, meaning follow-up leads to measurable financial gain.

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Set your brand apart. While it may seem like the obvious thing to do, following up after a reported issue isn’t a practice that’s been widely adopted by all companies across all industries. It’s likely that making follow-up a key part of your regular business operations will set you and your CX apart from the competition.

Attract new customers. If you’re forgetting the follow-up step, you could be missing out on opportunities to influence new customers who might be weighing your brand against competitors. Responding to their concerns creates a personable and memorable experience, which could be the deciding factor in choosing your brand.

According to PWC, 75% of customers in the US and 73% in Canada regard customer experience as an important factor when choosing between options. And creating a positive experience is actually more important than price for 42% of customers who would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience.

Take advantage of a touchpoint. Every opportunity to communicate with a customer is an open door to a potential sales conversion. By following up on feedback, you’re not only helping them, showing you care and making them feel valued – you can also personally guide them towards specific products or services that may be right for them.

Follow-up best practices

With customer feedback coming at you from a variety of channels, the most effective way to stay on top of issues and complaints is by investing in a customer experience management (CEM) solution. A CEM platform allows you to capture responses and immediately trigger actions based on the message. This could include automatic notifications sent to specific individuals within your organization.

Having up-to-the-minute awareness of complaints allows you to respond in a way that leverages the power of follow-up. Ensure that everyone in your organization who’s following up with customers is aware of these best practices:

  • Timely: Follow up in a timely manner while the feedback is still relevant. While response times vary by industry, you should answer within 24 to 48 hours of the complaint.
  • Well-informed: Before contacting the customer, familiarize yourself with the feedback provided and ensure you’re fully aware of the context.
  • Personalized: Be personal and friendly. Use the customer’s name and relevant content. Although automation can help, American consumers prefer human interaction.
  • Thorough: Include useful links or additional information to show the customer you’re invested in resolving the issue.

Measuring success

Once you’ve received and responded to customer complaints or feedback, it’s time to start measuring your success. Setting key performance indicators around follow-up and making it an important metric for your company ensures all sides of the business take it seriously.

Measuring follow-up performance will help you identify customer service weaknesses within the organization and turn your focus to improving processes, training employees and shifting mindsets. By setting clear goals around follow-up, you can create specific action plans for teams or specific employees to improve their scores. Performance-related data can be analyzed and incorporated into quarterly executive strategy discussions, ensuring that follow-up becomes a key strategic focal point.

brand loyalty

Takeaway

It’s a well-known fact that excellent customer service results in positive long-term effects on your business. But there’s a crucial step that’s often missed and that’s the process of customer follow-up. By building follow-up into your CX strategy, you’ll ensure your customers feel heard, seen and appreciated. And that effort will pay dividends by nurturing loyal long-term relationships that generate advocacy, retention and revenue.


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