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How Do I Win Back Lost Customers?

When you lose customers, you have to go out and find new ones to replace them and that can be costly and time-consuming.

Are you ready for some bad news? Well, its inevitable – your business will never be able to keep all of the people it deals with happy all of the time. Darker forces are at work and they will lure customers away from your business to your competitors.

Issues around your customer service may arise and will leave your customers unhappy, whether these are down to computer or human errors. Its naive to think everything will run smoothly all the time, even when you have the best intentions and provide the best staff training. Lets face it, everyone, including you, can have an off day.

But dont worry, its not just your company facing these challenges. On average, most companies will lose 10–40 per cent of their customers. These are people who have walked away and may never return and many companies dont even bother to find out why. The problem is, when you lose customers, you have to go out and find new ones to replace them and that can be costly and time-consuming.

But lets not get too negative about it. Remember that its far easier to sell to someone who has dealt with your business before than it is to a new prospect. While a bunch of flowers or a night out at a favourite restaurant may work you back into the affections of your partner, in business thats just not going to cut it. Its time to look at successful strategies and campaigns that will allow you to win back even the most disillusioned of customers. It can be done.

If youre still not quite convinced that its worth the hassle of contacting people who may not necessarily make it easy for you, then consider this: the cost of winning back an old customer is far, far less than acquiring a new one. Economically it just makes sense.

So start off with the basics and make a list of all the customers whove dealt with you in the past but havent come back within the past six months. Identify the ones that you think will be most likely to come back and purchase again.

If you have the resources then its wise to follow up with a telephone campaign. People are very likely to respond to a personal call where they can air their views to a real person. But heres the deal clincher: actually listen to what they have to say. If youre asking why they havent purchased from you in a while, then the information they give you is vital to your customer relationship development strategies. If you present yourself as a solution creator then they will be happen to listen to what you have to say too.

Always resist making promises you cant keep. If the reason the person deserted your company in the first place was because they thought the customer service was poor, then improve it. Theres no point in telling them that things are far better now when in actual fact theyre exactly the same. Asking people what they want and giving your personal assurance that you could make it happen may seem obvious, but you cannot afford to underestimate its impact.

And remember that in their absence as a shopper with your business, these consumers may well have become loyal to another company. So you will also need to give them a tangible incentive to come back to you. Discounts, vouchers and loyalty cards are all great ways to get people back on side and will give you a second chance to secure their business and prove your worth.

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