Learn to follow up – The F.U. Principal

What do you mean, FU?

We mean Follow Up. The client literally means Fuck U. Each customer and business needs to handle the FU process to stay in control of the situation. If you don’t FU, the client will do it for you.

The problem is, their FU is not the same as yours. Consider the following situations and how your FU might serve as damage control to save face. Then, think about how the client’s FU might look in the same situation.

  • Didn’t do what you said you would – FU
  • Didn’t show up on time – FU
  • Sent the goods late – FU
  • Provided a substandard service – FU
  • Were rude to your customers – FU
  • Were rude to your suppliers – FU

In all of these situations, the FU can go a lot of different ways. Take the first example; maybe you didn’t do what you said you would. In that case, you need to take control of the situation and follow up with them. Explain the mistake, apologize for the error, and promise to correct the error in the future. The longer you wait to take control of the mistake, the longer your client has to brood on the matter. Although it can be awkward to admit you made a mistake or didn’t deliver, owning up to the problem puts the control back in your hands and can help your clients feel at ease.

Letting your customers give you the FU

If you fail to take control of the situation, you open yourself up to more damage. Certainly, there’s the possibility that you’ll lose the client. But it can get worse than that. One or more unexplained mistakes can lead to a host of negative reviews and ratings or a reputation in the industry of having poor service. Because the majority of people are more likely to leave reviews when they are emotional, especially if they are upset, a few mistakes without a proper FU can give your business an unsavory presence online. We’ll explore this more in a minute.

4 Key FU Moments

Pre-sale

Hold their hand. Give them updates. Keep the FU going. Don’t give them the opportunity to give you the FU and back out of the sale.

During the process – Avoid churn rate

Your customer will have a fixed memory of your company or service based on the last thing you did for them. Make sure that the last thing leaves a positive impression. Even if it’s a genuine apology, that’s better than leaving them with the memory that you messed up and then disappeared.

As they leave

Finish on a positive. It’s likely they will forget–or at least forgive–previous missteps (within reason) and end on a positive note.

Post-sale

Turn them into loyal customers. Get them to refer others. Have them become advocates. Resolve any issues you didn’t know about. Give them a positive FU.

Even if you have the best product in the world, you still need to do follow up. The follow up gets you valuable information on what you did well and where you can improve.

follow up customers

Companies that do minimal FU rarely stay in business. It makes them seem as though they don’t care about their performance.

Yes, it can be scary or emotionally difficult. However, this is where the true value of your company can be found. Companies that FU with their customers create the impression that they care about their product or service.

My Own Personal FU Moment

I used an all-in-one, premium WordPress hosting service a few years ago. The premium membership meant that you paid them to optimize the site, implement all the updates, and keep your site running optimally. I made the mistake of paying via Paypal, which automatically renewed my yearly subscription.

The company had a host of issues. Servers went down. Automatic backups never happened. Login details got changed without notification. I was locked out of my own site several times. I was investigating other options and considering changing hosts when the auto-renew happened.

I politely asked for a partial refund. The owner flatly refused. So they got an FU. I posted my experience on their Facebook page. The owner then gave me an FU.

He called me up, screaming abuse up and down the phone. They tried to post a few positive Facebook reviews to lessen the impact of my negative one. One of the (fake) reviews was from his wife. So what happened next…

Facebook Review Button

Interestingly, many businesses have now removed their “Review” section from Facebook. It seems that it’s far easier to ignore your failings than to address them. This habit will hurt your business.

 

facebook review button tool to follow up customers

If you choose not to show your customers’ reviews on Facebook, you are sending two messages to your existing and potential clients. First, it shows that you have something to hide. You can’t please everyone; a small percentage of negative reviews among a majority of positive ones is to be expected for any business.

Most people understand this concept. Second, it shows that you don’t care about what your customers think. If you are unwilling to work with people who are upset with your service or product, you can’t expect to instill much confidence in your customers.

Ultimately, you can’t hide from negative reviews online. Sure, you can turn them off on Facebook, but there are other avenues your angry customers can pursue. Instead of letting them get the FU, do your best to take control. Always be open to feedback.

Get your FU in First

Find a minimum of one extra way you can FU for all of your clients. Otherwise, many of them will FU without ever looking back. A proper FU from business to client can mean the difference between sealing the deal and losing the sale.

The FU can mean admitting to a mistake and can serve as damage control. Or, the FU can show that you care that your client is satisfied. In any case, the FU shows your clients that you care about them.

Whether you FU after a successful sale or your FU after you make a mistake, the FU keeps you steering the conversation and puts you in control. Failing to FU shows your clients that you don’t care. An FU from a client can have a lasting negative effect on your business’ reviews, revenue, and reputation.

Tell us about your F.U. moment. We’d love to hear from you.

Finally, have some fun with it – Watch this great video on the F.U. principal at work.

About the Author:

Ronan Leonard is a Mastermind facilitator, connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners together to create the perfect virtual Mastermind group. Small business owners are often overwhelmed with to-do lists and need impartial advice to get the right support to help them achieve their goals. Ronan believes that 99% of your business problems are already solved and will connect you to a tribe that has the answers and to help you accelerate your learning. He believes that there is more value in making real peer-to-peer connections than paying for external contractors who have no vested interest in your success Passionate about helping others he is committed to giving away 1 in 6 spots on the platform to social enterprises and entrepreneurs from developing countries to create a global community. Ronan loves seeing the benefits that Mastermind groups have on each person who participates and has helped 100’s of business owners increase clarity, confidence and productivity by creating the support network for them to achieve their true potential.