Anyone who has been in business long enough will have lost customers- just as they’ve gained new ones. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; these customers may have moved on for reasons that aren’t your business’s fault. And that’s fine.
However, it might be worth trying to get them back to patronizing you, especially if they’ve left because they’re dissatisfied with your business. You’ll always want to find new clients, but it’s potentially less costly and more beneficial to attract former customers who have stopped buying from you.
These lost customers probably know your business more than the people you would like to convert into new clients. They know what you’re about, so they can relate when you speak to them about your products. They get the point of your marketing in a way that prospective customers don’t. This, in turn, means that you don’t have to spend as much as you would on winning them back as you would on bringing in new buyers.
An even more fundamental reason to reach out to them is that they’re proven users of your product. You already know they are part of your target audience. This isn’t the case for the wide market out there, teeming with people who won’t necessarily be interested in what you’re trying to sell them.
Let’s get into what steps you can take to regain departed customers.
Steps to Regaining Lost Customers:
Discover why they left
There are at least four major reasons why customers cease to patronize businesses. These are:
- They aren’t satisfied with the products and services you offer.
- They think your prices are too high.
- They’ve found a better deal somewhere else.
- They’ve just wandered off because you haven’t kept in touch with them.
But you shouldn’t assume that you know what has caused them to leave. You need to find out what the cause really is. There are two ways to do this:
- Do a thorough review of your business’s products, services and processes, to find out if they have faults that shoo customers away. This is probably a more adequate step to take if you’re losing customers on a significant scale.
- Conduct a survey. Ask departing customers why they’re not buying your product anymore. You may do this by putting one or two simple questions to them over the phone; if it’s an online service, you can have the questions as part of the opt-out process. Collect and analyze the information your survey provides you, and pick out the common reasons given.
You could also treat each individual’s issues separately, especially if you’re dealing with a relatively small number of valuable clients.
Offer them improvements
When you’ve found out why your ex-customers have left, you’ll be in a better position to tell what could appease them enough to bring them back.
If you have made changes to your products and services based on surveys and suggestions, you could present these changes to outgone customers as evidence that you’ve taken care of their concerns, so they can come back in. You may offer them discounts, a product upgrade, or product bundles (complementary products taken together), depending on what their issue with your business has been.
But how do you get to them?
You could email them, or call them up. And if it’s possible, you could even slip your offers into a conversation you have with them at a function or other meeting place, if you run into them there.
Of course, your tone and approach will depend on what your relationship with them was before they moved on, as well as the manner in which they left. If they simply went off the radar, you may have more leeway with them. But if the end was acrimonious, you might want to carefully consider the move to re-attract them- and if you want to make it in the first place.
Stay in touch with them
Don’t expect your old customers to come running back after you dangle an attractive offer in their faces. A lot of the time, regaining client’s trust is a drawn out process, not a short sprint.
If customers don’t jump at your offer at the first time of asking, you may continue contacting them at spaced intervals; a few months, for example. But be sure you’re not just pitching products at them. Make your correspondences focused on their wellbeing, and emphasize your willingness to add value to their lives. Be more of a person inquiring of his old pal’s wellbeing, than a salesperson bugging people with your merchandise.
This longer-term approach gives you an opportunity to stay in their sights long enough to reignite their interest in your brand.
You won’t be able to convince everyone who has walked away from your business to come back. But even if they don’t, reaching out to them with improved offers and a concerned disposition could at least make their view of your business a bit more positive. They may even be willing to refer people to your business.