Getting Your Lost Customers Back

October 3, 2011

Your customers are your most important asset. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to stay in business or keep any of the other assets your company possesses now. But sometimes you lose customers and, usually, they aren’t going to tell you why. Sure, sometimes it won’t have anything do with your business, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proactive in trying to win them back.

Here are a couple of strategies that work. Just remember most of these require that you have a mailing list or customer database.

What Did We Do Wrong?

One approach to regaining the business of lost customers is to send out a postcard simply asking the question: What did we do wrong? You can follow that up with additional explanation, such as, “As a loyal customer, we value your business. And it saddens us because we haven’t been able to serve you in over a year. Did we do something wrong? Is there something we could do better?” Then sign it with your name and add your contact number.

Don’t be surprised if you get a few calls from recipients. Some might simply reassure you that you didn’t do anything wrong; they may just have stopped using whatever service you provide. Others might tell you that you DID do something wrong and that will give you a chance to ask them to give you another shot.

Some may just come in because the note reminded them of your company, and they made them want to rekindle the relationship.

Coupons & Discounts

Whether you have their email or home address, sending out an offer to lost customers is a great way to win them back. You might want to mention that you miss them or that this offer is just for loyal customers because it makes them feel special and that boosts the effectiveness of the offer.

Make sure whatever you offer is enticing. If you can give them something for free, that’s the best chance you have of getting them back into your store or having them come in to meet with your staff.

You might even want to have multiple offers ready then keep track of which ones you’ve sent out to which lost customers. Different things will work with different people so if the first offer didn’t do the trick try a different one in a month.

Bad Competition News

If you are fairly certain you’ve lost customers to a certain competitor, you can always let your customers know why your business is better. Let’s say your competition is a large national chain. Write a 1-page “Special Report” about the epidemic of poor customer service at national chains in whatever your particular industry happens to be. You don’t even have to mention the store’s name. Just make sure the piece is written like a news story and does not include any mention of your store’s name either.

Mail a copy of the report to your lost customers. Be sure to include a handwritten note from you saying something like “I saw this report and wanted to let all of our loyal customers know this is definitely not how we would treat our customers.”

You can tweak these ideas to better fit your business and to start winning back those customers you thought were gone for good.

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