I write articles for and provide answers to reader questions for the magazine for entrepreneurs called Upstream. I was recently asked by the editor to participate in an article that focused on how to win back lost customers. I thought that I would share these ideas with you –
The key to success is fully understanding your lost customers and having a well-conceived plan to win them back.
Firstly, determine the cause for why you lost these customers to begin with. There are three basic reasons why businesses lose customers.
- The customers aren’t around anymore (they close down, die or move away)
- The customers aren’t interested anymore (they no longer require your services or product).
- They have switched to another company. If this is the reason, you need to know why they have chosen a competitor over you. Price? Service? Convenience?
Once you have determined why these customers have migrated, and they happen to fall into reason 2 and 3, then you need to create a massive action plan. This plan must include:
ü Be honest with these customers and sincerely state your intention and desire to re-create a relationship with them that provides them with tangible value and clear benefits.
ü You must recapture what made this customer know, like and trust you in the first place. People will only buy from people they know, like and trust.
ü You need to meet with them to clearly understand their current needs.
ü You must fully understand and overcome the reason why they migrated from you.
ü You must convince them with plans and actions that will leave them in no doubt that you want to do business with them again.
ü You may need to lure them back with an impactful introductory offer.
ü You must create a plan to re-educate this customer of all you can and will do for them.
ü Improve regular contact with them via newsletters, presentations, telephone calls and social interaction.
ü Test and measure that you and your team deliver on all new committed promises. Follow-up professionally.
Not all lost customers are created equal or make good win-back prospects, nor do you want to win back all lost customers. It’s vital to segment lost customers by win-back potential, with lost customers who offer the highest probable return on your efforts given greatest priority.
And remember, it takes far less to keep an old customer satisfied than it takes to get a new customer interested – so don’t lose these customers in the first place.