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However, rather than simply sitting back and accepting that a few of your once-loyal customers have veered from your path, you will be pleased to learn that there are a number of efforts you can make to win them back. Let’s take a look…
Your first challenge, of course, is to identify exactly who and where your lost customers are.
This might not be too difficult if you’ve been organised, for you will of course have been keeping a spreadsheet or some other database in which all customer details, both existing and past, are stored for future reference.
If you haven’t got one of those, then not to worry, all is not lost.
Instead, start by digging out your sales records (surely you keep those!). Pore over them, and make a new spreadsheet that contains a list of any customers who have gone quiet for a while. It might be a bit of a manual task that consumes a few hours of your time, but it’s nonetheless a necessary one, for you will be left with a list of prime targets for your reconnection campaign.
With this list in hand, you can now head onto your social networks and locate your targets.
Before you reach out, however, the next step is to conduct some self-analysis.
No one will simply give up on you without reason – so find out what the reason is.
Is your pricing too high? Your service out of date? Does one of your competitors offer a better solution than you?
The key here is to be honest with yourself. Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis to try and assess exactly why your service or product is no longer perceived to have the best value to your lost customers.
The trick is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. It can be hard to be objective in this sense – and if it’s too difficult, then assign the task to someone else, or indeed take a closer look at any complaints that you have received to try and unearth your most likely weaknesses there.
The next phase is to reach out to your lost customers. With your SWOT analysis completed objectively, you will have a pretty good idea as to how they might be feeling, but you won’t ever be entirely sure until you actually ask them.
You can do this through social media, or it may be more appropriate to send a personalized email. In your message, you should ask the lost customer if they wouldn’t mind jumping on a quick call – for which you may even reward them with some sort of coupon or voucher – to talk through exactly what it was they were no longer happy with.
You might think that your hit rate for these types of calls would be pretty low, but you will actually be surprised at how well a customer loyalty initiative such as this will be received. And an added benefit of doing this, of course, is that even if you don’t manage to win them back, you will at least leave them with a better feeling about your business and your attention to customer service, which will not harm your reputation one bit.
In the B2C realm, great offers are pretty easy to come up with. Discounts and coupons are very simple to organize and distribute, and you will have no problem coming up with something very attractive that will be hard for your customers to refuse.
In the B2B space, however, you’re going to have to be a little more creative. Discounts, of course, will still speak very loudly, but perhaps you could offer something along the lines of a free assessment of their business’s situation and needs. A free report or white paper that shares invaluable insights about their industry might also be well received, and can be particularly effective if it explains in no uncertain terms exactly how your service will continue to benefit their business.
One of the best ways, of course, to not have to go through the trouble of trying to reconnect with and win back old customers is to not lose them in the first place, and introducing a loyalty program to your business model is one sure fire way to cut down on your customer churn rate.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you extending the benefits of your loyalty program to those lost customers you’re trying to reconnect with, and indeed this may well be just the offer that they’re looking for to come back to you.
You can launch your loyalty program through an email campaign, through your website, your social networks, or any combination of the above. However you do it, you will at the very least be encouraging your existing customers to re-engage with your content. But, furthermore, you will also be encouraging those that have left you to at least pay you a revisit, take a look around to see what you have to offer and explore the benefits and rewards of doing business with you once more. And if you create the right package, this could be a really attractive opportunity for them indeed.