Why follow up?

I recently made a purchase of an item on the internet; however, after pressing the purchase button, things did not go well.

Even though the verbiage on the site said I would get an email confirming the purchase, it didn’t happen for about 24 hours.  From there the wait began because I never heard another word.  I never got any indication that the item had shipped or where it was in the process or anything.  I wondered if my order had been lost in the ether of some computer-cloud world.

Why do I relay this story?  Have you ever been in this predicament?  Have you ever felt left out of the loop?  Not unusual if you’re a parent with your children but it shouldn’t be the case when you’re a customer.  I mean if anyone should be kept up to speed on the status of their order, repair, dry cleaning, or whatever, it should be the person shelling out their hard-earned dough.

Now, for those of you thinking, “geez, relax man, do you really get this bent out of shape because no one said your order for widgets had shipped?”  No, I really don’t get too bent out of shape about that but I do for more serious things like the results of a medical test or my kids tryout results or a repair on my truck.  Ultimately though, it doesn’t matter what it is, it matters that follow up communication is made.

Neuroscience says our brains get very stressed when we don’t know what’s coming around the corner.  Some have said that our brains are prediction addicts that have a distinct need to know what might happen.  This need to know what’s coming is a key element in keeping us safe and alive. So is it any wonder why we need follow up?  Is it any wonder that customers get really upset when no one calls or emails to say “here’s where things stand?”

Next time you close a sale or send off a package or fulfill an internet order, make sure to keep lines of communication open and send that update.  It makes customers feel safe and it soothes the savage survival beast as well as putting you and your business one step closer to a remarkable service reputation.

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