Anatomy of a Good Follow-Up Email
As a CSP you are probably meeting with your customers on a regular cadence, maybe weekly during onboarding and then bi-weekly or monthly during the course of the partnership. To execute a high value discussion with your customer you are probably spending a good amount of time preparing - pulling together data and insights, updating project plans, building presentations, preparing renewal contracts and more. While all that preparation is required to have an engaging discussion, there is one more thing you need to do to ensure the meeting was a success - FOLLOW UP.
I am big on memorializing the discussions I have with customers. This post-meeting follow up allows me to share with the customer what we discussed during the meeting, recap next steps and ensure we are all on the same page. If there were materials we reviewed or assets I need to share, this email is all the delivery mechanism for those as well.
So now that we are clear on the why behind the email follow up let's discuss how to nail this customer communication.
Send it Out as Soon as Possible
You need to make sure that your follow up email goes out as soon as possible but absolutely within a 24 hour window. A quick tip to help you get this out quickly - Use the meeting invite and hit email attendees, this will generate an email with the meeting subject line and go to all of those folks on the meeting. Then take your meeting notes right in the email so all you have to do is clean it up and hit send. If you need to store this in a CRM or CS Platform you can do a quick copy paste.
Include the Right Recipients
Sending the email to everyone who attended the meeting is a no brainer, but take a moment to consider other folks in the business who might benefit from this email and any documents you are sending over. For example, if I am having a planning session or workshop with a customer I will likely record the meeting or update a project plan and would send these things over. The Executive sponsor might not be on the meeting but I'd want to keep them in the loop, so I'd add them to the follow up so they are aware of the work we are doing together.
While you will want your summary to capture the conversation accurately you do not need to produce a lengthy transcript. Use formatting to help make the summary easy to follow - bullet points, numbering, indenting, bolding and highlighting are all ways to help ensure the content is easy to follow and important points are not missed.
Clear Next Steps
While the summary of the discussion is important, the Next Steps are even more important. Make sure to list your next steps clearly and apart from the summary so they are easy to follow. All next steps should include an owner, an action and a timeline so make sure that each item has those three components. If you are using a CRM or CS Platform, make sure to add your next steps to your notes and to-do's to make sure that you and your customer are clear on what is happening, by who and when.
Before you conclude your email and hit send make sure that you are seeking validation. Ask your customer to confirm that you've captured the details of the conversation accurately and confirm that you've not missed anything. Also verify that the next steps outlined are inline with that you discussed and agreed to. If your customer decides to change direction in the future or something needs to be referenced, you'll have this email thread to reference.
So next call you have with your customer, you know what to do, make sure to send a thorough and timely follow up - your customer will appreciate it.