“The Fortune is in the follow-up” is a favorite statement of Network Marketing uplines and instructors. There is a lot of truth in that statement for all marketers and any business that deals with fickle customers.
But do some businesses take the follow-up too far?
I am certain they do.
“Follow up” from a big Canadian bank almost fouled up my previously good relationship with them last week.
Since moving to Canada 7 years ago, I have remained a loyal and generally satisfied customer of the same bank. Generally satisfied because the level of service has been infinitely better than that to which I was accustomed in 3rd world Zimbabwe and on a par or better than that in the “old” South Africa before that.
A few years ago, I opened a stock trading account with the investment division of the bank so that I could buy and sell shares. As with my banking experience, I found that the service met my requirements and I had no complaints.
The volatility in the financial markets from 2008, persuaded me to sell most of my investments in the stock market. A few weeks ago, I disposed of my remaining shares. To save the monthly administration fee, I attempted to close my trading account by using the on-line option.
It still amazes me how it is so simple and quick to open an on-line account for virtually anything but it almost requires a degree in website design to close that same account when the services are no longer required. Despite visiting every option on the menu, I did not succeed.
To prevent further frustration, I called the customer service number which was prominently displayed on the website ( unlike many other websites) spoke to a helpful staff member who explained the procedure very quickly. I doubt if the call lasted more than two minutes.
A couple of days later, I checked on-line and sure enough, the trading account had been closed, there would be no further administration fees, I had achieved what I had set out to do and I had a positive feeling about the bank and the people who worked there.
Then the follow-up.
Last week, just as I was about to leave my home office I received a phone call from a man who quickly introduced himself as doing a follow-up call enquiry for the bank to see how satisfied I was with the way my phone call to them had been handled. He did provide the necessary proof that he was genuine.
My response was that I was short of time and that I was completely satisfied with the service I received.
This was not good enough for this gentleman, he was so persistent that he should have been a tele-sales instructor. He said he needed to ask me a few questions, I replied that I could only give him 2 minutes.
Then the questions started, I must have heard the question “Thinking back to the call you made to the …… section of ……. bank on (date). On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being completely dissatisfied and 10 being completely satisfied, how would you rate………..”
A good 5 minutes later after hearing that little speech at least 6 times and patiently answering all the questions with ratings of 8 or 9, I was ready to pop.
I stopped the process, my interrogator was a little put out that I was terminating the procedure before completion, I suppose before he could check all the boxes on his answer sheet. He reacted a little like a dentist would if I told him not to fill a tooth cavity he had just drilled and prepared. Perhaps he is on commission and only gets paid for completed questionnaires.
Whatever the reason, it was not my problem, I was the customer. My last words to him were that I found it ridiculous to answer questions for 5 minutes about a telephone call that only took 2 minutes. A call that had taken place at least two weeks previously and one which I had found highly satisfactory, unlike his call that was about to leave me with a very negative impression of his client the bank.
I know the poor guy was just doing his job, it was not his fault that I was in a hurry and he may not have known that my original call only took 2 minutes.
Here are four things to consider when designing a follow-up procedure.
- Be honest and up front about the time required for the follow-up.
- Make the follow-up relevant and appropriate to the original contact.
- Encourage interviewers to be sensitive to customers attitude.
- Make the explanations of the questions less repetitive.
We all need to follow-up with our customers but we must always think of their reaction to the follow-up and be certain that it is going to leave the relationship at a better level than no follow-up would. Or worse, as in my case, leaving the customer more irritated than before the follow-up.
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.
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