No matter how well you perform your customer retention tactics, sooner or later you’re going to lose some of your valued clients. Perform all the customer retentionstrategies you can, do your best to make sure you provide value and validation to your clients, but know at some point someone’s going to jump ship. And when that happens, it’s up to you to reel them back in using the following tactics.
Know Why They Left
Learning why your lost customers decided to look elsewhere isn’t always easy. If you previously enjoyed a positive relationship with this customer then they’re unlikely to tell you the whole truth of why they left you and why they decided to stay away because they will worry about creating an awkward or uncomfortable situation between the two of you. Some old customers will also feel adverse to discussing why they left because they fear you’re just asking so you can gear up to throw a hard pitch at them.
Instead of trying to learn all the painful details of why you and your old customer separated, assume they left for one of the following reasons:
- They wanted to try out one of your competitors.
- You dropped the ball in some big, important way and they stopped trusting your ability to meet their needs.
- They decided they either didn’t need what you had to offer, or they decided they could take care of their needs in-house.
It shouldn’t take much investigation to figure out which of these reasons resulted in losing your customer. Making a quick, non-intrusive follow up phone call is often enough to get the information you need. And when you receive this information, you’ll be ready to leverage the right strategy to win them back.
If They Switched Teams
Winning your customer back from a competitor is often pretty simple. All you need to do is learn what offer your competitor made your old customer, and you then need to beat that offer. A customer who will leave you because someone else offered them the same product or service at a better rate will gladly come back into the fold if you can pull off the same move.
When attempting to outbid your competitors for a customer keep an important point in mind- that customer might be more work than they’re work. The goal is to return loyal customers to your business, not customers you’re going to need to buy back every couple of months.
If You Messed Up
Most customers are more than willing to continue to patronize your company after a big screw-up as long as you earned a sterling track record prior to your mistake, as long as you accept full responsibility for the problem, and as long as you go out of your way to make it up to them.
To retrieve one of these customers, begin by accepting the blame and making a very clear, very concise apology. Even if the mistake was partially the customer’s fault, take all of the blame for yourself. Once you accept blame, and once your customer accepts your apology, you have two options for proceeding in your efforts to win them back:
- Ask them what they need you to do to smooth things over.
- Make your own conciliatory offer.
Between these two options the latter is superior because it lets you determine the terms of your reconciliation, preventing you from being taken to the cleaners to win your old customer back.
If They Consider Your Product or Service Unnecessary
This is actually the easiest scenario to win a customer back from because all you need to do is present them with very clear data explaining why working with your business makes logical, measurable sense.
For example, if your old customer decided to leave your customer because they thought they were spending too much money, present them with real numbers demonstrating how much profit your services actually offer them.
Most of the time your customers will decide to leave your business for primarily emotional reasons. Fight back with unmistakable logic and they will likely see the error of their ways and begin patronizing you once more.