Why good follow-up calls can generate repeat business

Dave Koshollek
Publish Date: 
Feb 20, 2013
By Dave Koshollek

At that point you roll right into the questions:
•    What did you like about the way the transaction was conducted? Any ideas on how we could make it better?
•    What do you like most about the product or service purchased/performed? Any questions, comments or concerns?
•    On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our customer service?
•    On a scale or 1 to 10, how would you rate the product purchased or service performed?
•    Any other thoughts you’d like to relay?
The data you collect will tell you what’s most important to customers so you continue to meet and exceed their expectations. If you receive a complimentary remark, ask the customer for permission to share it with others verbally and in print. Positive customer testimonials are powerful stimulus for others to do business with you.

If you uncover an issue or receive a complaint, respond with empathy. Say, “I am sorry this happened. It is our goal to enhance your experience, not upset you. If you don’t mind, I’d like to get a little more information.”

Ask for a detailed description of what went wrong. How does it look, sound or feel? Where is the issue located and what makes it most noticeable? Ask when the customer became aware of the issue. Be prepared to respond with a solution that could include picking up the vehicle to address the fix, providing a refund or exchange for the item purchased, or providing education on proper use or maintenance. Ask if the remedy you offered seems fair to the customer. If it doesn’t, ask the customer for their suggestions. If needed, negotiate a solution that works for both parties.

Correcting an issue may not result in an ecstatic response from the customer, and that’s OK. Our end game is that the customer feels that you did what was fair, that you heard his or her complaint and that you made a good attempt to make it right and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The good news in all this is that statistically, most businesses are batting .900, meaning their follow-up calls get a positive response 90 percent of the time. And the 10 percent with an issue are often minor and easily corrected.

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews March 2013 issue.