As a business leader, earning repeat customers for your brand is likely a high priority. However, sometimes customers will drift away. Others will leave in anger over some issue. If you want to earn back some of your past customers, you are going to have to work to earn their business again. These are some strategies that can help.
1) Ask Why They Left
First and foremost, it is valuable to understand why people have left. If you have larger customers (common for B2B brands), you can potentially ask them directly. Alternatively, if you have a lot of smaller customers, consider establishing a questionnaire for lost customers as part of your business metrics. This could be a single question about why they are leaving.
Understanding this may help you to earn their business again. Furthermore, showing that you care about the issues they have is a great way to encourage them to come back. Everyone wants to be heard.
2) Respond To Their Complaints
In a similar vein, you can respond to complaints directly. Again, this may be a direct interaction via email, phone or in-person for larger customers. For smaller customers, it may be responding to their negative online reviews.
You can apologize for the issue, offer a solution or simply let them know that you have heard them. Some customers can’t be won back. However, tackling negative feedback head-on is a great way to build a strong brand. Plus, it may convince some new customers that you are trustworthy.
3) Change Your Offer
When possible, consider changing your offer. This is especially easy if you are providing a proposal to a major customer. However, you may be able to do so even for a smaller customer. You could provide them with a special courtesy discount or even consider changing a product or service if it is unpopular.
Much like the above advice, changing your offer shows that you are willing to listen. It is a chance to take another crack at a deal that otherwise may not go through.
4) Publicly Own Mistakes
Sometimes the best way to earn back lost customers is to publicly own up to your mistakes. Some products, services and campaigns are misses. It is okay to make mistakes. It will sometimes cost you some customers.
However, you may be able to earn them up if you admit the error. People are much more likely to get frustrated with and leave brands that always try to appear perfect. Accept that you made a mistake and work to earn back your customers.
5) Offer a Return Discount
In some cases, customers simply left because you weren’t doing enough to earn their continued business. They may also have left because their needs changed. In some cases, you can earn these old customers back by offering a sales promotion targeted at return customers.
This is an especially common practice with subscription-based brands. Offer people a special deal if they renew their subscriptions. It is a simple way to change their calculations on whether your offering is worthwhile or not. It is also a chance to remind them that your brand exists.
6) Have a Throwback Campaign
There are numerous examples of people leaving brands because a product or service was dropped. Foodservice brands are especially notorious for this. Some item was semi-popular but not enough to justify its permanent place on the menu.
Offering a throwback campaign that brings back the missing item is a great way to encourage old customers to return. Sometimes this can be a way to drum up some excitement about your brand as well. It can be enough to encourage repeat purchases from your current customers.
Earning a strong customer base is not easy. However, when you apply the above strategies and others like them, you can help to bring back lost customers. This is a good way to build your business’s foundations.
Guest Article by Kevin Gardner
Kevin Gardner graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA and now works as a business consultant for companies around the U.S.