Seven tips for firms to ensure every client enquiry is followed up effectively
Sutton Coldfield based CX expert Shaun Cremins advises professional firms within the legal, financial and property sectors from across from the UK on their Client Experience strategy.
An effective and empathetic follow-up process could be a key differentiator for clients when choosing their professional service provider.
- Make time and plan - dedicated time to review and respond to any form of enquiry is key. If you have dedicated people available to respond, this task is much easier but all firms should ensure out of hours enquiries receive a personalised response (above and beyond any automated response) first thing each working day and any promised correspondence is received in a timely manner (immediately where possible but the same day is a minimum expectation).
- Personalising your response - in most cases your response to an enquiry is your first client touchpoint. This means that your client is making a very early perception of how empathetic your firm is likely to be and if this specific enquiry (they are very likely to make several enquiries locally) meets their expectations.
- Avoid unnecessary technical jargon - this will depend on the enquiry, but the majority of private enquiries will come from members of the public that have no knowledge of some terms within a generic response template. You may need to simplify or add a further explanation to some terms to ensure the prospective client does not dismiss you as an option due to their confidence in the advice being received.
- Lots of detail is not always required - a common element of the feedback received from over 900 anonymous client reviews last year was that the generic response received was several pages long and was far too difficult to understand. This links to the previous tip, keep initial responses simple and to the point where possible. Further detail is better suited to direct contact calls with the client.
- Simply replying to an enquiry is not the same as following up - prospective clients are very likely to make enquiries to several firms at the same time. Responding via email or leaving a voicemail to an enquiry is a minimal requirement but is not the same as following up on an enquiry. Prospects will make an enquiry at a time to suit their availability and will expect firms to make multiple attempts to make contact if they are unavailable at the first attempt. Timing is key for every enquiry, and we should not make any assumptions that prospects have lost interest or no longer need our services purely because they do not make further attempts to call us. The most likely reason is that another firm has simply contacted them at a more suitable time.
- â€˜Close the back door' - this simply means that we should aim to ensure that once we make direct contact, we answer all the questions they could possibly have at that stage and the prospect then has no reason to look elsewhere for a solution.
- How you make them â€˜feel' during contact is vitally important - clients tell us that a great experience with a firm takes a huge weight away from their shoulders. There is often an emotional element to their requirements and a good firm will not only resolve their need but also make them feel as though their business is appreciated.
Shaun Cremins is Director for insight6 and can be contacted on email@example.com