I’ve been researching actual case studies to include in my upcoming training on managing customer relationships successfully. In one of my favorite ‘go-to’ books on anything customer-related, Flip the Funnel – How to Use Existing Customers to Grow New Ones by Joseph Jaffe, I came upon the topic of “Customer Check-ins.” This is delivering customer service excellence with check-ins. Note that customer check-in is different from customer follow-up.
Customer follow-up is an essential aspect of delivering customer service with excellence. It is also a way to show appreciation to your customers by letting them know that you appreciate their business. While customer check-in has a similar impact on the customer, it is not a requirement, but it, too, makes a huge difference to the customer and elevates your business above others who are providing a similar product or service.
A customer check-in involves a simple phone-call that you make to, yes, just check-in to see how your customer is and how the product is performing. If it was a service, is your customer continuing to have good results from the service that was done? All of this is done to build relationships with no ulterior motive of selling.
Of course, the sales will come when you keep your brand in front of your customers. Mr. Jaffe noted that “Courtesy check-ins…should never be about selling…Instead, they reaffirm a connection and keep the brand in the game – perhaps not top of mind, but rather in mind. “
He gave two examples of his Audi dealership. 1) He received a call three months after signing the lease just to ask if he was enjoying the ride. 2) He continues to receive a call every year on the anniversary of the lease to check that everything is going well. In neither case is any attempt made covertly or otherwise to sell him something else. Needless to say, he will continue doing business with this dealership. They show that they care about him as a person.
How can you and I apply check-ins to deliver, uplevel the customer experience, and grow our business? Do you offer a coaching program? I work with clients one-on-one and my mentoring/coaching includes accountability and assignments, while we meet on our chosen platform every two weeks, for the most part. If, at the end of a week I do not receive an email or status of the assignment, I’ll send a quick check-in email to let my client know I’m thinking of her, I’m here for her, and if she’s stuck on something to reach out to me. Do I have to do that? Do you? No, but I feel that helping your client to get results is the goal and checking-in shows that you care. If the client fails to respond, that’s their responsibility.
How about a landscaping business? What if you planted some gorgeous roses for your client? You’ve been a successful landscaper for years and know that you did a fantastic job, but you also know that plants can be fickle. So two to three weeks later you call your customer just to see how the roses are doing and if she’s enjoying lots of new blooms. She’s delighted and impressed that you called, but she also tells you that one of her favorite yellow roses is not doing well. It has not put out any new buds and looks as if it may be dying. Can you imagine the difference it would make when you tell her you will come out to her home and check on it, and you go beyond the extra mile and take a new plant with you?
Now imagine this: If she tells her friends that you planted her roses (and while she says she’s not blaming you) but one died, her friends would hear “one died,” and likely decide not to use your services. Instead, think of the viral community effect it could have when she shares that not only did you follow-up with a Thank You for Your Business card, but you checked-in with her, came out and replaced the plant, even though it was not your fault! Can you see the impact this could have on your business?
Customer check-ins just make plain business sense as it continues to build on the relationship with your customer so that he or she will remain loyal and become your advocate.
What other things have you done in your business, or will do to implement check-ins and keep your brand in your customer’s mind? Please share in the Comments.