Getting Back Lost Customers in 7 Simple Steps
Step 1: How Many?
The first job, tally up how many current customers you have right now. Either how many are paying you or you have a good enough relationship with them, you know they’ll call you when they need your product or service.
Now tally up how many customers you have had in total from the day you started in business until right now.
Next, subtract your first number (your existing customers) from your second number (every customer you’ve had).
This will give you a total of lost customers, right? What’s that figure?
Do you need more customers?
If the answer is yes: Well if you need more customers the easiest place to start looking is your list of past or lost customers. They were customers of yours for a reason. They must have liked what they saw and trusted that you would deliver.
They already trust you, know what you can do so this is a much easier approach to get customers than having to do all of that know, like and trust stuff you have to do with leads and prospects.
If the answer no: Hey, that’s OK. Maybe you don’t need any more customers at the moment. But you may do in the future. So it’s good to look after your customers well right now so when you do need more custom it will be easier to win them back.
Also, make sure you’re keeping good records and data on your customers so that you can refer to it in the future. Read step seven.
In this list of past customers you have in front of you right now you probably should carry out a filtering exercise if it’s possible.
This involves looking through this list of past customers and picking out the ones you definitely don’t want back.
You know the ones. The late payers or the ones that complained all of the time. Basically, the customers that would cause you grief and stress.
Delete them from the list.
Step 2. Why Did They Leave?
Take A Bravery Pill
So the very first thing we need to find out before we go heavy trying to win them back is:
Why did they leave you in the first place?
This is where you may have to take a bravery pill and do some research into your business.
Customers don’t usually walk away from your business without an underlying reason.
Every time a customer leaves you should be asking them why they are leaving. You need to collate analysis to see what the problem is.
It’s a hard and brave question to ask, but at least, you will know the reason and can do something about it.
Step 3. Complete A SWOT Analysis
What Is SWOT?
SWOT analysis is a useful technique to look at your business and see if you can make things better in different areas.
SWOT stands for:
- What advantages does your organisation have?
- What do you do better than anyone else?
- What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others can't?
- What do people in your market see as your strengths?
- What factors mean that you "get the sale"?
- What is your organisation's Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Consider your strengths from both an internal perspective, and from the point of view of yourcustomers and people in your market.
- What could you improve?
- What should you avoid?
- What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?
- What factors lose you sales?
Again, consider this from an internal and external basis?
- Do other people seem to perceive weaknesses that you don't see?
- Are your competitors doing any better than you?
It's best to be realistic now, and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
- What good opportunities can you spot?
- What interesting trends are you aware of?
Useful opportunities can come from such things as:
- Changes in technology and markets on both a broad and narrow scale.
- Changes in government policy related to your field.
- Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, and so on.
- Local events.
- What obstacles do you face?
- What are your competitors doing?
- Are quality standards or specifications for your job, products or services changing?
- Is changing technology threatening your position?
- Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems?
- Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your business?
Step 4. Post Something
People Don’t Get Stuff In The Post
A good and gentle way to get in contact with lost customers is to post them something.
Direct Mail is a good option, as it makes it look as though you’ve put effort into contacting them again. It’s physical and hangs around.
- Handwritten Cards
- Video Brochures
- Lumpy Mail
Postcards are a good first communication
- They’re not heavy on content
- You can put a really cool image on the front
- Nobody sends postcards anymore
- It looks really cool when you use the person’s name on the front
- They stand out
You may want to drive them online to look at something or call you.
These are so cool and so personal. They cost the most out of all of the ways I’m showing you here, but you would only send these to old customers you are sure it would work on.
Video brochures: when you open it a video starts playing automatically.
ALWAYS test in small quantities before you send loads out.
If you’re going to do it, do it properly. When you record the video to go into the brochure, personalise the video. “Hi, Dave….”
They will keep it and show other people.
Send something to them inside a letter. A small gift or a bar of chocolate with a tea bag telling them to have a break and read your letter.
You can have a lot of FUN with lumpy mail.
How To Post
ONLY post things out to lost customers FIRST CLASS. Use a proper first class stamp. If you use Second class, you look cheap and that you don’t really care.
If it’s going in an envelope use a brightly coloured envelope and hand write the address.
Step 5. Telephone
It’s Good To Talk
Once you know that your posted thing has landed start to CALL THEM! It’s good to talk. People actually still like to talk on the telephone! As long as you’re not heavy on sales, just a catch-up call. Make it about them, NOT about you. Show that you care.
Here’s a guide on how to be great on the phone with your lost customers.
- Adopt a positive tone – being enthusiastic and natural on the phone makes the customer (and you) feel more comfortable.
- Clear Enunciation – don’t make the customer struggle to hear what you’re saying. It’s frustrating.
- Be Sincere - Starting with the greeting, conversations over the phone must be sincere. Say hello and be genuine. Try to avoid scripted greetings as most sound artificial and inauthentic.
- Use Their Name – the most beautiful sound a person can hear is their name in conversation. Use it regularly.
Finish Off Asking If You Can Help With Anything – ask them if you can help, don’t just say “thanks for chatting”.
Step 6. Email
Stay In Contact
Email is still a good tool to use to keep in contact with your lost customers but don’t start with this if you can help it. The beauty of the emails is that you can programme them to go out at certain times and to be bespoke to your customers.
The best way to use it would be to send a personal video through the email.
Step 7. Recognise When You're About To Lose Customers
You know how to get them back now, but you need to recognise when they are about to leave.
The warning signs are usually there long before they leave. It’s just a matter of spotting them. Here's a couple:
- Late on payments
- Getting prices form elsewhere
- Acquisition of management (of your customer's business)
What To Do If It Looks Like They’re Going To Go
- Reach Out to them – They’re still your customer. Give them a call or pop in to see them. Ask how things are going and tell them how much you appreciate their custom. Make it all about them and not about you.
- Carry out a SWOT Analysis – I talk about this near the beginning of this section. See where you’re going wrong and how to improve.
- Run a customer survey – Ask brave questions and reassure them that you’ll act on any feedback.
- Put them in your newsletter – If you run a newsletter, put them in as an example of a company you like working for. Send them a copy with that part highlighted.
When you put effort into relationships, they always work out well!
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