many reasons why customers are "unfaithful". But you shouldn't simply
give up on "renegades" because these customers are no longer unknown
players to you. Keep a close watch on incoming orders: it's important
recognize in good time when existing customers have stopped putting in
orders. Follow the 6 steps to get back into contact with lost
customers and maybe even win them back:
1. Record lost customers
Talking about how to win back customers is in many cases a taboo topic as it
doesn't fit with the image of a successful company. A complaint or general
discontent isn't always the reason for walking away. Some customers do not
complain, they simply turn to another provider. Some sales people, who don't
actively deal with customer satisfaction, won't notice at first that some
customers have deserted the company.
2. Why do customers stay away?
In order to win back customers, it pays off to find out why they left you in
the first place. Very often the reason for leaving isn't the product or the
(missing/insufficient) service. There are three recurring problem areas
whatever the company:
3. Winning back customers pays off
- There is no spark anymore. Relationship problems are more often
the cause for customers leaving than lack of professional expertise.
communication. If the customer receives insufficient or belated
information, he will more rapidly switch to a competitor.
in the organizational structure. If employees have no sense of
responsibility, customers may feel very irritated as they see the
company as a whole. Individual mistakes are seen as the work of the
The main objective is to win back lost customers but still keep it
cost-effective. Market researchers have stressed that costs are only seldom a
decisive factor for making customers come back to the "deserted"
provider. It's often more important that the customer feels he's being taken
seriously. And a company should also show that it has improved its customer
service. With high return premiums you will attract bargain hunters who will
very rapidly slip away again. However, you will need to give old customers a
tangible incentive to come back to you. Besides special discounts, you can also
offer them additional services, for example. What's important is finding the
right incentive which meets the customer's requirements.
4. The process of winning back customers
Even if it costs you quite an effort - because you or a colleague made a
mistake in the past – approach the customers you have lost. Take advantage of
the past relationship and exploit the "loyalty card"! From the
previous analysis you can divide your "exes" into four groups and
make contact accordingly:
- Make a personal visit to star customers to respond and react to problems individually.
- Profitable customers can be contacted by phone – it's a personal and cost-effective method.
- Winning back unprofitable customers
may not be worthwhile but a written thank you note acknowledging the
past trusting relationship can limit damage and protect you from
negative word-of-mouth propaganda.
- Question mark customers shouldn't be automatically treated as unprofitable customers. Take a chance at a new beginning. It can be a lucrative move.