Follow-up – The Biggest Moment of Truth

March 7, 2018 By Cindy Grimm

Within the past two days, I have had two memorable customer experiences, one good and one bad, and they both related to the same thing – follow-up.

First the bad — I left a message yesterday for a kennel where I wanted to board my dog for an upcoming trip.  This is a kennel I have used before for both boarding and grooming, so there is already an ongoing relationship.  After more than 24 hours and I still hadn’t received a call back, I called again and left a message.  This time I did get a call back but after another multi-hour wait.  During that time, I started thinking about how expensive the kennel is, wondering if they were really worth it and started thinking about what other kennels I could call.  This kennel almost lost me as a customer just because someone didn’t call back in a timely manner.

Now the good –I went to a new grocery store because they had been recommended by a friend for their good selection.  They are a little further away than the store I normally go to, but I thought I would give it a try.  The experience in the store was OK, not bad or good, but I had a nice interaction with an associate that helped me with an issue with the self-service machine.  When I went out to the car, it was raining in buckets and I ran to the car getting totally soaked along the way.  Just as I was backing out, at my window was the friendly associate standing in the pouring rain and motioning to me to put down the window.  It seems I had dropped my lime juice when I picked up my bags and she recognized it must be mine and had chased me to the car in the middle of a monsoon to give it back to me.  All I could think was “Wow – what an amazing store with wonderful associates!  I am definitely going back, even if it is further away!”

Two experiences – one almost lost me and one definitely gained my business, all because an employee did or didn’t follow-up.  This reinforces what we find through our research.  “Follow-up” is often a key moment of truth and when not done consistently and in a timely manner often becomes a customer “point of pain.”

So, how do you get employees to make sure they follow-up?  Using examples such as these help with understanding the emotions and the bottom line impact as you provide ongoing training and coaching. Another factor is to make sure you hire employees with a bent towards being conscientious.  How do you do that?  Stay tuned for another blog soon on “screening for conscientiousness.”

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