Surveys in customer loyalty have shown that it costs 5 times as much to gain a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. That’s why beside creating your own loyalty scheme to holding the current customers, you should have a strategy to reaching out your lost customers who have unexpectedly discontinued business relationship with you.
A lot of business owners might think that there is no point in recalling their lost customers because once they had left, they would never come back. This negative perspective is totally wrong as one Marketing Metrics study has shown that the probability factor for successfully selling to lost customers is between 20% and 40%, a quite impressive ratio in comparison with the probability of selling to new prospects(from 5% to 20%).
These following simply steps are the key to gaining back your used-to-be customers:
1. Find out why they left
This is the first and significant step for a couple of reasons.
- Firstly, knowing the reasons that made them cancelled their business with you help you to create a suitable solution for each specific circumstance. Once you have removed that obstacle, they should have no good reason not to do business with you.
- Secondly, by collecting and analyzing those reasons, you can simultaneously identifying your deficiency, thus improving your business quality and prevent future customers from following suit.
One easy way to find out why customers have left is to send them a link to an online survey with a few basic questions. Make sure your survey has an “Other” box where they can go into more details about why they’ve left.
2. Sincerely apologize to them
A sincere apology is very important because it show your goodwell and it usually make your lost clients feel like they are being treated respectfully. When apologizing, state clearly what you’re apologizing for (e.g. “I’m sincerely sorry that our extension did not perform well on your website.”) and how you’re going to fix the issue, and you must present an action plan for ensuring it will never happen again.
3. Ask customers what you can do for them
This, together with step 2, is a kind of showing your care to them which would certainly more or less gain their confidence. Most customers are reasonable, and they just want what they feel is fair.
Besides, it would be more persuasive if you could include a promise with a specific number/fact such as date, result of your solution.
4. Offer rewards for coming back
If you are rewarding your current customers for their continuous purchasing activities, there is no reason you not offer your lost customers special free gifts or deals for their coming back. This is another form of saying “Thank you” to your returning customer which has both material values and spiritual values.
5. Stay in touch by using follow up email
Usually, lost customers are members of your email list but they need a different treatment from the current clients. That’s why it’s essential to segment your list properly and keep them in a separate category. Lost customers should receive emails relevant to the situation (e.g. online surveys asking why they’ve left, apology, offers for coming back, etc.). Email marketing is a traditional yet effective method to enhance any business relationship.
Building a long-lasting customer relationship is way challenging to every kind of business. Those above tips are just based on the basic customers’ psychology and still need to be combined with further methods for particular circumstance.