What are some good ways to bring back lost customers?
I am in a service sector and would appreciate inputs on what are some of the good ways in which I can win back customers who have left me for some reason or another. In fact some customers have left me for no fault of mine in rendering less than able customer service.
Approaching the same person with a mutual contact helps. Once you have bridged the gap the way you present and the gravity of the solution to customer problem will take it ahead. Keep things simple.
Also one more good way to begin to build trust is to start the same operation in a small way and then grow slowly.
A personal approach, rather than an email campaign, with an open mind to listen to their complaints as a feedback & resolving them would be a sure best way of winning lost customers back.
Not that easy of an answer. Good question. There are many answers. I do have one easy to complex answer.
You may NOT want them back if they are costing you too much to serve them or if they are always looking for the lowest PRICE.
But find out the why? Why are they not buying NOW. Maybe it was your late shipping or delivery, or an incomplete order.
Strengthen your overall customer service and your product offering, plus what you sell and how you sell it. Communicate. Look at the 9P's of marketing including Price, People/Targeting and Segmentation, Promotion, Product, Partners, Passion, Place Presentation and Planning with research. Go to: http://:nineps.com or http://www.londremarketing.com/documents/LondreMarketingConsulting-NinePs.pdf
Your first or next step is do some planning and research on why they are not buying from you.
Some more good thoughts and strategies: As Management guru Drucker once said: “The aim of Marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him (her/it) and sells itself. And this is one of the reasons for the Nine P’s of marketing. “People” or Targeting was slightly forgotten in the Marketing Mix, and is a major, significant part of the Nine P’s of Marketing.
Companies do not get potential users or customers to try a product by convincing them to love their brand.
You get them to love a brand by convincing them to try and use the product or service. You need to see why they stopped trying and buying. if it is only PRICE you may want to move on.
I have had the chance to read some of the responses. Which to date I would say that 50% of them are not providing too many smart answers to your question.
So first of all, there are some simple facts of business life.
1) You can't sell everything to every customer.
2) Some customers are short term while some are long term. This may depend on their needs / requirements.
3) You will lose customers .
4) you will gain other customers who are orphans from your competitors.
5) Some customers like to have more that one supplier. Its called a second string.
6) gadgets , gimmicks, give aways and on off specials may give you a short term customer, but you have to work on the long term aspects.
7) Some customers will not like you. It's nothing personal it's just the way it is.
8) you may be happy to let some of the customers go. Too much time, and effort for return. etc.
So how would I address your question.
1) Communication is a key element. Generally the best way of finding out something is too ask. But it's in how you do that which best the best results.
2) the communication must be in a 2 way format, with open questions.
3) should be asked to a number of cross sectional clients. Your top 10 your top 20% (working on the 80/20 rule). Your bottom 5 and your lost customers.
4) should be the same set of questions to each client.
5) This process is called "VOC" (Voice of the customer)
6) the question line could be something like.
Hi ...... I am looking to see how we can best build our business while at the same time providing the highest level of service to our valued customer.
For us to achieve this I have selected a number of key and important clients to participate in our annual Voice of the customer review.
and set up a time to visit them or to phone them back.
The information you receive will not only help you to find out what happened, but also what needs to be done in order to keep them.
You can contact me if you want any further assistance.
Sometimes a change in contact person within the company over time can be enough to win them back again. So, there is merit is keeping in contact after you lose them.
At the end of the day it is all about people and interpersonal relationships. I wish to assume that the numbers of customers you loose is not that great allowing you to 1) study the cause, 2) meet and inquire with the (lost) customer for the reason for his "departure" and 3) provide solution to the issue.
First, be smart enough not to lose them in the first place. Are you after clients or customers. I only deal with clients. A customer will buy from you or anyone else for price even over service if they don't have a relationship with you. You should concentrate on building relations and you won't lose a client. Once their gone it is near impossible to get them back. You may have a chance if you know why they left and you go face to face and show them what you are willing to do to get them back. Don't prostitute yourself, I mean what concessions can you make that you could live with and still have a relationship worth keeping. Sometimes it is not possible or worth trying if your self respect is at risk. Just work hard to replace the account and make sure that all the issues that cost you the business don't reoccur.
John E. Stanojev, RFC
Capital Ins. & Inv. Planning, LLC.
I agree with Ka Pang. It is important to know why did you lose the customer in the first place. If it was policy or pricing and that has now changed you should have a good shot. If they told you several times they are dissatisfied and nothing has changed I would say you are wasting your time. I would meet with the customer and ask them what would need to happen for you to come back and do business with you. If it makes sense you do it. If it does not make sense some customers are not worth having and you can not please everybody. One thing I have done in the past when I had a situation where my solution would not help them I have suggested solutions that could help from other companies. People know when you are trying to help and in the long run that should only help your business.
We use Ringless Voicemail to send out a message with an offer to invite them back. Unlike email they get listened to and noticed. IF you have mobile numbers of past clients this is the way to go.
First you have to find out why you lost them. Ask them, "If we had done a better job/hadn't done something would we still have you as a customer?" Customers lie all the time and may give you a reason that is an easy one but may not have been the true or complete reason. This is part of good selling so when you know the real issue or fix it or the perception. Only then, after that is done can you tell them what you have done and ask what it would take to give you another chance. It can seem like a "tail between your legs" approach but do it from a position of appreciation that they make your business better. You can also ask them to share pain with what they might have faced in their business/life and what what they've done, take suggestions with appreciation.
A lost customer is a type of prospect that requires a selling strategy, process and behaviors YOU commit to following...then you can work on your KEEPING AND NOT LOSING AGAIN process...
You have only really lost a customer if you can no longer contact them. Do you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system that houses all your client data and contact information? If so, use your networking muscles to re-introduce yourself, your new products, your new processes, etc.
Keeping yourself on your client's radar - even if they don't need you right now - is an important networking tool.
Newsletters, free webinars/presentations on topics they are interested in, blog/articles, free after-hours events, etc. help keep you connected with these clients between purchases.
Picking up the phone (versus email) gives the personal touch to the clients that you really want to attract.
Creating a Product Funnel of products and services that keep the clients engaged is also important. A Product Funnel is a list of products and services that you can offer that leads a potential client down the product funnel toward more sophisticated and expensive products. For example, you can offer free products to attract a larger group of interested clients, and then continually introduce them to other products down the funnel at low, medium and higher-priced services.
Creating exceptional experiences will keep them coming back.
If you need help creating a product funnel for your business, just give me a holler.
From my experience, lost customers simply do not have the funds to continue patronizing your business. Lack of money is the number one cause of switching. The second, is -value- for money.
One possible solution is to offer more for less for loyalty - which there once was - or if there wasn't to set up a loyalty program. Ideas flowing ...?
From what I am gathering about your question, you may wan to start with a customer satisfaction/experience survey. Take that information (feedback) and understand/analyze it carefully. According to their feedback see what is consistent throughout your customer base, then figure out if there is the possibility of re-establishing a working relationship. Then based on the feedback, set your strategy (i.e. marketing, face to face meeting, incentives), depends on the situation.....ultimately.
Anything you can do face to face will help you.... TRUST needs to be reestablished I would suspect.....
Build a personal relationship with them, I can show you a very effective yet affordable CRM in use by all types of sales professionals.
The idea of "winning back" implies something is wrong (e.g., worry about bad publicity, insufficient customer traffic). Are these lost customers good for business or necessary to keep business going?
First and foremost you want to be confident you are delivering what the customers want and need (ask them). This along with the answer to the question above will help you decide next steps.
Ka is on the right track. The first step would be to open up communications and find out why they're not using you and what needs they have. Then you can direct your efforts to "solving" the issues and answering their needs.
Offer them some kind of incentive e.g. some free service, some specific information that you have that is relevant to them as an FYI, or some important industry information that they might like to know about e.g. "did you see this?" You need to find a way to reestablish the dialogue with them in a nonthreatening socially attractive way.
If you have an email of these customers then sent an email on monthly or weekly bases. And if your old customers are lived in your local area then also option to contact directly through phone call & meeting, but not pitch any sales directly.
If these customers are on your mailing list, you can use value email marketing where you share monthly short emails sharing easy, quick and relevant help tips and guides. WITHOUT any sales pitch or service offering. This may bring back the lost trust or recall your genuine services in their minds.
If these customers are local, just give them a call for a cup of coffee meeting without any business agenda. Dropping by to say hello and asking wellbeing is a way to connect.
Sometimes, you need to leave business aside and work more on the relationships.