How to Write a Follow up Email (With 7 Examples, Backed by Research)
- Whether you meet with sales reps or speak with customer support, you’ll find out very quickly that only a small number of companies send follow up emails.
- Our unique research, which is based on 1,000 companies, found that less than 3% of all companies send a follow up email to their prospects or customers. But, why?
- We share 7 “copy and paste” email templates that you can use to follow up with customers immediately – including two real-life examples of how Apple follow up with their customers.
Good customer service creates happy and loyal customers.
The more customers you can keep happy (and retain), the faster your business will grow.
Yet, for many companies, customer service stops once an issue has been solved.
After that, you move onto the next customer.
And then the next (and so on…).
What many companies forget to do is follow up.
Even though they’re simple, follow-ups are often neglected.
And this causes a much bigger problem than you think.
Based on a study of 527 sales and marketing professionals, LeadData found that 33% of sales teams claimed they followed up with prospects and customers immediately, with 49% saying that they follow up with new leads “most of the time”.
That sounds like an awful lot of follow up, so we put this data to the test.
And the results are not good.
According to our own research, only 24 companies (out of 1,000) sent a follow up email to their customers.
That’s less than 3%.
But really… how important is it to follow up with your customers?
The truth is… it’s very important!
In fact, it’s become so important that poor follow-up is now cited as the biggest customer complaint.
A study by Harvard Business Review found that 56% of customers complain about poor follow-up.
While 48% of customers that experience a poor follow-up will go on to tell at least 10 people or more about their bad experience.
Something as simple as a follow-up ruins the entire customer experience, which, according to research by Walker2020, is one of top factors for doing business with a company.
So, to avoid customers turning their backs on you, you need to follow up.
The best way to follow up? Email.
There’s are a wide range of ways you can follow up with your customers.
You can do it by phone, a letter, or even in person, but the most effective way is to follow up is by email.
Email is quick to send, you can easily track comments and feedback, and best of all, it’s scalable. Whether you follow up with a select handful of clients, or have thousands of customers to contact, you can do it all by simply using good old fashioned email.
But, how do you write a successful follow up email?
Before we provide you with the templates, I want to share a real life example of how not to follow up with a prospect or customer. Below is the email example and then I’ll explain why you shouldn’t try to replicate it.
At first, it appears innocent.
It’s a kindly written follow-up email reminding me about a potential guest post on the SuperOffice blog.
However, what you can’t see here is my original reply. Yes, I responded to their original email with a polite “No thank you”.
So, why would they send a second follow up to me even though I had replied?
Either the email sequence was automated and it didn’t recognize that I had replied or the person sending the email decided to ignore my response and try to change my mind in their second follow up.
Did it work? No. Of course not.
Respect the follow up, but more importantly, respect the response. Otherwise, it’s spam.
7 follow up templates for your customers
To help you send a successful follow up email to a prospect or customer, we’ve prepared 7 templates that you can copy and start using in your business today, including two examples used by Apple.
Each template covers a specific part of the customer follow-up process, so you can choose the templates that best fit the needs of your business.
1. The ‘How Did We Do?’ follow-up email
Each time a customer contacts your support team, they expect a response.
So, it’s important that you solve their issue quickly and efficiently.
Once their issue has been solved, you can ask them how you did.
This template is designed to be sent to follow up with someone after they’ve contacted customer service and to make sure that they’re entirely satisfied.
When should you send a follow up email? Easy…when you feel you have done all you can to help them!
If you don’t have the option to include a ratings scale, then encourage your customers to respond by hitting ‘reply’.
Depending on your company’s style and tone of voice, you may wish to customize the signature to fit with your brand. For example, you can personalize the email and send it from the CEO, Head of Customer Service, or even the customer service agent that they originally dealt with. Alternatively, you can use your company name.
2. The ‘Survey’ follow-up email
A ratings scale is a great way to get high volume responses, but if you’re looking for more detailed feedback, you can include a link to a survey within the follow up email.
Depending on the type of questions you ask, this template gives you the opportunity to collect voice of customer feedback, and get real insight into what your customers thinks of your company, your products, and your customer service team.
If you are unsure what to ask your customers in the survey, here are five example questions:
- Are you happy with the service that we have provided?
- Was the service knowledgeable and helpful?
- Were you served quickly?
- Did we meet your expectations?
- What is the one thing we can do better?
While it’s possible to encourage your customers to reply directly to the email, you should use a survey tool to collect all the answers your customers give you. Google, Typeform and Survey Monkey all offer free tools, so creating a survey for your customers doesn’t need to be expensive.
3. The ‘Just Checking In’ follow-up email
This purpose of this email is to delight and surprise your customers.
Far too often, businesses sell a product and then leave their customers to it.
Have you ever thought that your customers might need help or support? Maybe they are unsure quite how a product works or need some more information. This template is a great way to build a longer-term relationship. Best of all, it shows them that you care.
Unlike the first two templates, this email should be sent from a customer service agent, not a company name or from the dreaded “Do Not Reply” email address. Sending this email from a person will help the customer feel appreciated and listened to, which in turn is more likely to lead to a response.
4. The ‘Anything else?’ follow-up email
It’s common to solve an issue, but not hear back from the customer.
What usually happens here is that your customer support team will mark the issue as solved and close the ticket. But, what happens if the customer hasn’t had a chance to read the email, or is just busy?
The “anything else” email acts as gentle reminder on the status of the conversation and is a great way to close off a conversation with a customer. By sending this email, it’s a polite way of giving the customer a chance to ask anything else and feel entirely satisfied with the interaction, rather than being cut off short, or worse, feeling abandoned.
For customer service software users, this email can be sent out automatically and from a company name. However, try to provide context to the original conversation, such as using the original subject line or unique case ID/ number, so there is no confusion or miscommunication.
This email should also state what will happen to their issue if the email is not responded to within a specific period.
5. The “Join us” follow-up email
One of our loyal readers, Lorie, left a comment asking me how she can follow up with a customer who has signed up to the freemium version of their product but has not yet subscribed to a paid plan.
For companies that attempt to convert freemium users into paying customers, you know this can be tricky!
Approaching any customer and asking for payment is delicate. But, if you don’t ask, then they may never become a paying customer and you lose out of new revenue. But if you are too aggressive with the ask, then you may scare the user off for good!
That’s why we have created the “Join us” template.
The “join us” template is a great way to follow up with a user who you haven’t communicated with recently. It’s a way to check in with them and offer assistance, should they need it. However, it also doubles as a way to get them to subscribe.
The second half of the follow up email is a suggestion to “join” your community/ customer base. By sending this email, you remind the user that there is a premium option of your product or service and emphasizing the benefits of what they get when they become a paying customer.
So, when to send this email?
Ideally, this email should be sent 3-6 months after a user has signed up and only be sent to users who are not on a paid plan. To increase the likelihood of converting them into a paying customer, I would segment this follow up email even further and send it based on active/ engaged users.
6. (and 7.) The “Thank you” follow-up email(s) from Apple
Apple is renowned for being a customer service leader (scoring 93 out of a score from 100).
So, when I reached out to their customer service team recently I had high expectations.
Of course, Apple being Apple, not only did they meet my expectations, but they far exceeded them!
Do you know what made their service so great?
The follow up email(s). That’s right, plural!
Within two days of contacting their customer service team, Apple had replied to my support request and followed up with my email as I hadn’t had time to respond.
Yes, they followed up with me. It’s Apple who sent a follow up email after no response!
But, Apple didn’t stop there.
Best in class customer service goes above and beyond the norm.
Once I responded, thanking them for handling the issue quickly, they followed up again – to thank me for being nice.
How amazing is that?!
It’s hard to top this kind of service!
If you want to transform your customer service procedures and impress your customers, then start sending a follow up email to them. This simple, yet effective strategy is only used by 3% of all companies – representing a huge opportunity to gain a competitive advantage – and one that should not be missed!
Use these 7 follow up emails for inspiration:
- The “How did we do” email
- The “Survey” email
- The “Just checking in” email
- The “Anything else?” email
- The “Join us” email
- The “Thank you” email
- The “Thank you again” email
These different types of emails have been created for specific points in the customer journey.
Best of all, using these follow up templates will not only help you keep your existing customers happy, but it’s a great way to stand out against the competition and generate business from potential customers.