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How to Follow Up With Customers

Try these three methods to help you drum up repeat business.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Following up after you've made a sale will enable you to capture repeat business, the cornerstone of most successful small businesses. You can follow up by phone, in-person, or through the mail. Here are some specific methods you can try:

Call customers a few weeks after a sale

If you run an autobody shop call all customers two weeks after they pick up their car to find out how the car is and make sure they are happy with the job your business performed. This will enable you to address customer discontent, if any exists. This is also a good time to thank them for their patronage.

Write a note

A handwritten note thanking a customer for buying from you is a simple step that lots of business owners overlook. This type of personal approach is almost always appreciated and remembered. Form letter follow-ups are not recommended, since they lose their personal touch.

Keep in Touch

Call your customers periodically to find out if their business has changed in any way, and if you can help them with anything. Customers will also appreciate being kept apprised of any new developments, upgrades, or additional products.

Seek customer input

A survey such as the one below can be printed on the back of a business reply card and sent out to all of your customers. It is excerpted from Superstar Sales Secrets by Barry J. Farber (Career Press). Farber recommends using this survey to determine where you need to improve your follow-up and customer service:

Dear Valued Customer,

To assist us in determining how we may better serve you, please complete and return this survey.

Your name ___________________________________________

Company name ________________________________________

Phone ____________________________ Date _____________

Please respond to the following by checking the appropriate response.

Courtesy and Helpfulness of receptionist
__ Excellent __ Good __ Fair __ Poor

Response to inquiries
__ Excellent __ Good __ Fair __ Poor

Courtesy, attitude & appearance of staff
__ Excellent __ Good __ Fair __ Poor

Our company's communication with customer
__ Excellent __ Good __ Fair __ Poor

Service of company's sales rep(s)
__ Excellent __ Good __ Fair __ Poor

Overall evaluation
__ Excellent __ Good __ Fair __ Poor

Did sales rep respond to service call right away?
__ Yes __ No

Would you recommend our product to others?
__ Yes __ No

Please call me to discuss my account.
__ Yes __ No


The views and opinions contained herein are not necessarily those of American Express and are intended as a reference and for informational purposes only. Please contact your attorney, accountant or other business professional for advice specific to your business.

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