But for the most part, these lost customers don’t have to stay that way. It just takes some strategic sales management to turn the situation around and win back the one that got away. Here’s how:
First, Consider Why They Left…
…and if you want to win them back. Some customers just aren’t salvageable, and therefore the time and effort spent on trying to win them back could be better spent elsewhere. If they can be won back however, the solution will lie in the reason they decided to jump ship in the first place.
Usually the catalyst for the customer deciding to leave is a misalignment in the product/service you are offering and their expectations. And the only way to find this out is by asking customers who leave to give honest feedback on their decision. You can then distinguish what needs to be done to win them back as well as learn from their feedback to prevent further customers leaving for these reasons in the future.
Adapt Your Offer
Often people are enticed to leave by the prospect of a perceived ‘better value’ or lower priced offer from a competitor.
The perceived value of what is being offered by yourself and your competitors is the key to winning back old customers, and if people are jumping ship in favour of a competitor’s offers then you need to review your own offers.
This could mean adjusting the price or offering slightly more for that price. In many cases, simple adjusting the way the ‘value’ of your offer is put across to appear better than it previously did can be enough to sway lost customers.
Accept Responsibility and Apologise
Ever heard the saying ‘the customer is always right’? Sometimes things go wrong and cause an issue with the product or service, or the customer just isn’t 100% happy with what they received. Even if the fault isn’t directly your own (e.g. if a supplier is late with the delivery of a product or a third party service provider working through you is at fault), you should still accept responsibility and apologise.
Aiming to rectify the situation with excellent customer service will, in most cases, leave the customer feeling positive about the company once again and see them return their custom despite the issue. Often, it’s not the problem itself that causes the customer to never return, it’s the way it is handled by the company.
Don’t Send In A Newbie
It’s a common mistake, but sending in a new salesperson with no prior knowledge of or interaction with the customer will not help the situation. It is better for a member of management, particularly one who has dealt with this customer before, to deliver the win-back sales pitch and resolve the situation.
The familiarity and experience of the sales manager will make for a better connection with the lost customer, and the sales manager will be able to better gauge the situation having had prior knowledge and experience of this customer or similar situations.
The art of winning back lost customers will differ from company to company and from customer to customer, and it is important to approach each situation afresh to gauge what action should or shouldn’t be taken. Almost every lost customer is open to be won back if the right offer is on the table or if they are dealt with in the right way. But there will always be one customer who doesn’t want to come back no matter what you say or do, and in this case you just have to accept that you can’t win them all.