Has your company lost customers? If so, you likely understand how costly it can be and how much it can impact the business. Research shows the average cost of losing a customer in the United States is $289.
While a majority (70%) of businesses agree that it makes more financial sense to retain customers than find new ones, only 30% actually try to bring customers back. Some of the most common reasons companies don’t try to bring back customers include a lack of resources, a lack of strategy, and limitations with technology.
Why customers leave
Before we can understand how to win back lost customers, it’s important to know some of the common reasons customers leave initially.
Some of the biggest reasons customers leave are:
- Unhappy with the treatment they received
- Dissatisfied with products and services
- Start working with the competition
- Look for alternatives
- Move away
In some situations, a competitor can offer better pricing or better customer experience. Customers may also leave for personal reasons such as a relative leaving the company, job loss (less money to spend), etc.
If a company has poor customer service, a customer is more likely to take his or her business elsewhere. Common customer service complaints include waiting too long to speak with a real person, representatives repeating themselves, or representatives not being able to answer a customer’s questions.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. How easy is it to have a complaint/question addressed and solved? If the process is complicated, customers might become unhappy and choose a competitor instead.
Consider making updates to the customer service team strategy, invest in customer service email management software, and make the process one that you wouldn’t mind dealing with when working with a business.
How to win back lost customers
“Why should I care about lost customers?” We’ve mentioned retaining customers makes more sense than getting new ones. Also, a loyal customer is considered the most profitable customer, and a referred customer offers the best return on marketing.
Four win-back offers were tested on 40,000 customers by a telecom company, and some worked better than others:
- Discount: $20 off for 6 months (45% success rate and 668% ROI)
- Upgrade: $35 movie channel free for 3 months (41% success rate and 793% ROI)
- Bundled: $20 off for 6 months, plus a $35 movie channel free for 3 months (47% success rate and 302% ROI)
- Tailored: Customers who left because of price get discount, and those who left because fo service get an upgrade (45% success rate and 596% ROI)
Trying to win back every single lost customer could consume time, money, and resources depending on the strategy. Instead, consider trying to win back those customers whose behavior indicated an inclination to return. These may include those who didn’t complain, who referred others, or who had complaints that were then resolved.
Also, those who left due to price are more likely to return than those who left because of poor customer service.
Ways to win customers back include
- Determine why they left and figure out what you can do to help: Even if one specific customer isn’t worth trying to get back, the information can likely be helpful with others. Ask questions to learn about that customer’s frustrations.
- Adjust the offer: You may be able to use information from lost customer research to create favorable offers for other consumers.
- Take responsibility: If your company didn’t provide adequate service or sold faulty products, it’s important to own up to the mistake and work to make up for it. Customers need to see that effort if you want them to return.
Consider a New Marketing Campaign
Proper marketing tools can help convert lost customers into repeat business:
- “We Fixed It” Campaign: Do you know why customers are leaving? Consider conducting a survey to find out. If they were unhappy with products or service, consider making improvements, then creating a campaign to acknowledge the changes that have been made.
- Provide an Incentive: Make sure the promotion is worth it to your customers. Consider an email campaign that says something like “We Miss You. Come in this week for 25% off your entire order.” Customers may appreciate the effort and the opportunity to purchase items at a lower price.
- Use Social Media: If you notice many customers are dissatisfied with a price increase, for example, your company might consider a customer appreciation day where customers receive a special coupon for a reduced price.
Bringing customers back
Now more than ever, business is about a personalized experience between the company and the customer. If you’ve lost a customer, dig into the situation to determine what went wrong. While surveys can provide valuable information, consider keeping them short and sweet to avoid losing one’s interest.
Asking questions and developing a plan for customer retention is important for helping your company bring back lost customers.
Regaining customer trust
Regaining trust and building customer loyalty are important pieces to potentially winning customers back. Salespeople should be focusing on the needs of customers and helping them solve problems rather than strictly selling to them.
Here are some tips that may help:
- Communicate: Engage regularly with customers, so they feel as though you care about more than just the sale. Ask questions and send helpful information.
- Make promises you can keep: Avoid overselling and setting unrealistic expectations that you won’t be able to live up to.
- Be prepared: Things go wrong in business, but it’s crucial to be prepared for some of the more common issues (technical difficulties, shipping issues, etc.) and provide prompt responses to the customer. He/she needs to know you’re working to address the problem.
- Focus on quality: Follow up with all customers to ensure satisfaction and address any possible concerns. Show you care and solve all problems in a way valuable to them.
- Coordinate with co-workers to meet all customers’ needs: Work to keep a positive environment where customer needs are a top priority.
While it may seem time-consuming to always follow up with customers, remember that a competitor will do this even if you’re not. Putting out the effort can yield better business.
How to invite customers back
Ideas for increasing the number of repeat customers your company has may include:
- Staying in touch: We’ve mentioned this once, and we’ll mention it again. Open communication is key and could be done through social media, email, Zight (formerly CloudApp), etc.
- Assume the customer doesn’t remember you: We have numerous distractions in our everyday lives, and as consumers, we don’t always remember every company we’ve worked with or purchased from. Keep this in mind.
- Keep the experience relevant: Improve what you offer and make changes so people will want to choose your company again. There has to be a benefit to the consumer.
- Be reachable: Make sure it’s easy for customers to get in contact with your company. Have numerous outlets through which they can reach out, and make sure you respond in a timely manner.
- Show your appreciation for every customer: Every customer, new and old, is important, so send ‘thank you’ notes and say how you miss the customer if it has been a while.
Email campaigns could be an effective way of winning back old customers when done well. To do this right, it’s essential to identify those lost customers, create catchy subject lines (such as “Hoping to reconnect” or “It’s been a while…”), identify a purpose, create content that aligns with the said purpose (consider promotions), and follow up (consider sending a survey, for example).
Start with the customer service team
Remember to empower your customer service team, so they believe in your company and want to offer help and guidance for customers.
Also, real-time service is an important part of winning consumer back. Customer service representatives should be trained to deliver prompt responses on calls, social media, live chats, etc.
How Zight (formerly CloudApp) can help
Zight (formerly CloudApp) = visual collaboration done right. Share thoughts and ideas instantly via photos, videos, GIFs, screenshots, etc. You no longer have to have long phone calls or send lengthy emails to explain your point. A simple screenshot or screen recording will do.
Connect with co-workers to brainstorm new ways to improve customer retention and ensure customer satisfaction. Share your ideas for campaigns to bring back old customers.
It’s important to understand that even when it seems your company is doing everything possible to ensure satisfaction, some customers will still walk away for various reasons. Continue to make it a priority to provide a positive experience and to work to win back lost customers.
In addition to surveying customers you’ve lost, you might also consider asking your loyal customers questions to find out why they enjoy working with your company. They could provide candid feedback on your products, services, overall experience, etc.
Are you doing everything possible to win customers back? Zight (formerly CloudApp) can be helpful in terms of communication between co-workers and with clients.