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When to Follow Up

     You know that following up with your customers increases sales, so here is some advice on how to follow up effectively:

Opportunities to follow up

     Here are some examples of reasons that internet businesses typically follow up with their customers:

  1. Many internet companies follow up immediately after the purchase to ask customers whether they received their merchandise and if the product met expectations.
  2. Follow up a few days after the purchase to ask customers if they are experiencing any problems or if they understand all the product's features.
  3. Follow up to remind customers when it is time to replace consumable parts, such as batteries, ink cartridges, etc.
  4. Companies follow up at the end of the expected product life in order to sell brand new products to customers.
  5. Follow up when updates, upgrades, or new products become available in order to inform customers about exciting new releases.
  6. Follow up to promote related products. You can use this opportunity to introduce customers to different products that they might be interested in. The products don't necessarily have to be new releases; you can simply pick an existing product from your inventory that is related to the product that the customer previously purchased. However, it is important not to overdo this type of follow-up; once a month might be good, but once a week might be too often.

As you can see, you can follow up for many different reasons. Following up with customers makes them feel like they are getting special treatment. Follow up whenever you think its appropriate.

Knowing when to follow up

     For examples 1, 2, and 5, it's easy to know when to follow up. However, the timing of examples 3 and 4 can be a little tricky. Initially, you may have to guess when to follow up. You may want to send series of follow-ups around the time you predicted. For example, send a follow-up on the date you predicted, as well as a week before and a week after. That way you can be more confident that one of them will reach the customer at the right time.

Optimize when to follow up

     As you collect data about your customers' buying habits, you will be able to better predict the optimal time to follow up. Unfortunately, this type of analysis may require an expensive database system. However, remember that every follow-up is an opportunity to generate new sales. It will pay off!

© March, 2007