The other common problem for follow-through is remembering to do it. We have the best intentions, but 200 customers later, we’re frazzled, and the email we were supposed to send, or the account change, or the update, just never got done. We need to put systems into place to ensure we do what we promise, instead of relying solely on our memory.
Here’s an excerpt from my book Surviving Customer Service, that brings the point home (lightly edited for context):
Occasionally, we forget promises; it’s human nature. Forgetfulness doesn’t excuse lack of follow through though. You can remember promises the same way you remember anything else, setting reminders. It seems simple, but having reminders makes all the difference, especially during hectic days.
Different systems seem to work best for each person, so figure out what’s most effective for you and stick to it. When I worked at a bank, I made a pile of sticky notes to sort through at the end of the day. At the pay lot parking booth, I wrote my tasks in a notebook, which I’d work through during slow times. When I worked in social media customer service, I used e-calendar reminders that popped up on my screen. Reminders can be set tons of ways; if one isn’t effective for you, keep experimenting.
Having a system to ensure follow through is pivotal in building customer relationships. Each time you fail to follow through, you've undermined your customer’s trust. Depending on the importance of the task, this can have dire implications and cause highly escalated situations. As much as possible, keep your promises to customers, and everyone else. This will make interactions easier and show your boss you can be trusted, as well.
The article below offers another take on how follow-through drives excellent customer service.