According to Harvard Business Review, the biggest complaint that customers have when dealing with any business is poor follow up. Fifty six percent complain that they need to re-explain their issue when calling back. Sixty two percent report having to repeatedly contact the company to get their issues resolved. As a result, 65% are likely to speak poorly about the company and 48% of customers go on to tell 10 or more people about their bad experience. How Should a Small Business Train Their Staff in the Art of Customer Follow Up? 1. Set Expectations First If you don\u2019t set expectations, your customers will set their own. By being proactive, you can influence how they perceive their satisfaction with the eventual outcome. Be specific about what needs to be followed up on and when you will get back to them. Then, get back to the customer in the promised time frame even if there is not a resolution. 2. Focus On After the Sale Businesses are usually great following up to get the sale, but then don\u2019t contact the customer until they need to make the next one. This only shows that the business is interested in the sale - not the success of their customer. 3. Pre-Emptive Strike If there is a time of year or a product where many customers experience problems, don\u2019t wait for them to call you. Get on the phone or email them. Sage Solutions does this with their accounting business partners around tax time to try to anticipate problems their customers might have in their business. 4. Remember Special anniversaries of customers doing business with your company or other milestones is an excellent excuse to reach out to customers proactively. 5. Be Special Reach out with a special offer and with no strings attached. Too many times, companies only make special offers to attract new customers. 6. Get Personal People do business with those they know, like and trust. If it fits your brand, be more conversational in customer communication. Use real employee names when sending emails or leaving messages.\u00a0\u00a0As Fernanda from Nextiva points out in her article on customer service tips learning a customer\u2019s name, and using it at the beginning of a pitch and throughout conversations is a great way to create a personal connection. 7. Empower Your Staff to Make Their Own Decisions After sufficient training, give your employees the power to do what is best for customers in specific cases that fall outside normal guidelines. How Often Should You Follow Up with a Customer? Jason Brick suggests asking new clients to fill out a "bug me meter." This tells the small business how often the customer wants to hear from them on a scale of 1 to 10. For example, a \u201c10\u201d may suggest weekly contact and a \u201c1\u201d may mean only contact with very specific and urgent communications. How do you follow up with your customers? This article, provided by Nextiva, is republished through a content distribution agreement. The original can be found here.