TIP 26: Never, Ever Follow-Up on a Complaint.

It’s just not in your job description.

Negative Ned Says…

Ned's Hand Over HIs Eyes

“When a customer leaves, I’m relieved — especially if he leaves mad. He’s out of my hair! As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it. I don’t see why I need to follow up to ensure he comes back. It’s not like I care about his business.  I get paid by the hour.”

Positive Paul Says…

Positive Paul

“Once an irate customer is gone, the last thing you want to do is forget about her. Even if she felt satisfied with your solution by the time she left, you need to double-check for true satisfaction, just in case a problem persists.

Your follow-up activities can be as simple as sending a thank-you note or making a courtesy phone call. Neither of these activities takes a lot of time, but the benefit to the customer is great. A note or quick phone call will keep your company fresh in her mind — especially if her last interaction with you was a positive one or one where you resolved a complaint.

An example of a company with excellent follow-up is the Minute Clinic, located within some CVS pharmacies throughout the U.S. The Minute Clinic website states, ‘walk-in medical clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who provide treatment for common family illnesses and injuries, administer vaccinations, conduct physicals and wellness screenings, and offer monitoring for chronic conditions.’

These professionals are extremely friendly and efficient. Two days after a visit, nurses call patients to find out how they are doing. A week later, they send a thank-you note. If that’s not exceptional follow-up, I don’t know what is.

Double-checking for satisfaction builds appreciation and loyalty. It is one of the secrets to customer satisfaction.”

A Real World Example

Sherry Richert Belul’s Story


“I wrote the following letter to an H2O Store manager in downtown San Francisco describing the poor service of an employee.

‘Last night I was at an event in Union Square and planned to make a purchase at your store afterward. I literally ran five blocks to make sure I got to the store before it closed. I arrived at 8:54 PM (whew!). I knew exactly what I wanted and was all set to run in and get it, but imagine my surprise when I found the door locked and the two employees already counting money at the register.

I knocked and knocked on the door, assuming they would let me in since it was not yet closing time. One gentleman finally looked up and came over. I showed him my cell phone clock, which now said 8:57. I mouthed that it was not yet 9:00 and I just needed to buy one product. I mimed that I had literally run to the store. He shrugged his shoulders and nicely, but firmly, told me they were closed. ‘Our computers must have the wrong time,’ he said.

I was astonished. Obviously my inconvenience was just not important to them. 

I’m very disappointed. If you post that you are open until 9:00, you really should adhere to that. This experience left me feeling so negative toward a store I’ve always loved.

Warm Regards,

Sherry Richert Belul’

Here’s the GREAT service I received following my letter:

The store manager personally called me to apologize. She invited me to come to the store and meet her so she could apologize in person and introduce me to some new products. Then, several days after the call, I received a box of products from her (including the one I had set out to buy the night they closed early) with a handwritten apology. I really feel like she cared and that she did everything she could to make me feel better. It worked. I speak so highly about them now to everyone!”

Moral to the story: Following up on a customer complaint soothes emotions and rejuvenates confidence in your company – now that’s smooth!

Strategies to Turn This Around

After you receive or resolve a complaint, follow up to ensure customer satisfaction.

  1. Call or text the customer.
  2. Send a thank-you note.


Remember: Effective follow up builds appreciation and loyalty to your brand or company.

“When you get right down to the root of the meaning of the word ‘succeed,’ you find that it simply means to follow through.”

— F. W. Nichol

© 2012 by Barbara Khozam Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this message may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

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