5 Effective Ways Your Business Can Wow and Win Back Lost Customers

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Your customers are your business’s most valuable resource. Though we wish we could hold onto every customer forever, the truth is that customers move on. In fact, businesses expect to lose customers. There’s even a term for measuring that loss – churn rate.

But, just because something is expected doesn’t mean that it’s good. For obvious reasons, your business should aim to minimize the number of customers who disengage. Sometimes, it takes just a little effort to prevent them from leaving when something goes wrong.

Don’t take my word for this. It’s 5-25 times less expensive to maintain relationships with current customers than to acquire new customers.

Here are 5 effective techniques you can use to revive lost customers.

Start by Defining Your Disengaged Customers

Before you can formulate a plan to re-engage customers, you need to know what a disengaged customer looks like.

How do you know you’ve been ghosted?

The Oxford Dictionary defines disengagement as: “The action or process of withdrawing from involvement in an activity, situation, or group.”

And, while that definition is a good starting place, it’s not quite specific enough for our purposes.

To define what a disengaged customer looks like in your business consider both customer activity and timeline.

What sort of activity does an active customer exhibit? Is it enough to open an e-letter? Or does the customer have to periodically make a purchase?

Define what behaviors your business considers active.

Next, ask how long it’s been since the customer last interacted with your business. Also, consider how frequently you expect an active customer to interact with your business.

Set a timeframe for an active customer. Any customer who falls outside of that timeframe should then be considered disengaged.

For example, crowdspring has helped tens of thousands of the world’s best entrepreneurs, small businesses, agencies and big Brands with naming businesses and products and logo design, among other creative services.

Typically, a business will use the name and logo for a long time, so it would make little sense for us to consider clients that purchase naming or logo design services as lost customers after only 6 months. We put clients who post only a naming or logo project into one cohort.

On the other hand, crowdspring also has many clients who purchase other creative services.

Take packaging design or product design, for example.

Companies that create new products will often create successive new products and each new product will need product packaging and package graphics. Some of our clients regularly create new products and packaging, and we do consider them “lost” if they don’t post another similar project within 6 months.

Therefore, we put clients who post mostly product packaging, product design or package graphics projects into a different cohort from our naming and logo clients.

Keep a running disengaged or “ghost” customer list (or lists!) so that you can track your churn rate and know who to reach out to when you launch your re-engagement efforts.

Offer an Alternative

If a customer has gone silent – no purchases, no email opens, no anything – it’s probably safe to assume that whatever you’ve offered hasn’t quite hit the target for this customer.

So, offer an alternative.

But, be strategic.

If you’ve already lost touch with a customer you’re not going to endear yourself to them if you reach out with an offer that is equally off-base.

If your email subscriber has gone dead, consider offering a more limited form of contact that still offers valuable content.

This could mean a more streamlined email schedule or digest format, a subscription to your blog, an eBook download or even simply asking them to follow you on Facebook instead of via email.

If a customer has stopped purchasing your products or using your service, consider offering an alternative product or service that might better meet their needs.

You won’t hit the mark with everyone – that’s an impossible goal. But, if you’re smart about assessing why you’re losing customers’ interest, you’re bound to find some success.

Request Feedback

Not everyone responds to a break-up the same way.

Some folks go on a drinking binge, while others may watch sappy rom-coms or read self-help books.

But, everyone tends to wonder “Why???”

“Why?” is a valuable question.

The answer to “Why?” can help guide you to a better relationship next time – or strengthen your business.

So, when a customer breaks up with your business, take the time to ask why.

There are several benefits to asking for feedback:

  1. Requesting feedback shows your customer that you care about where you went wrong with them.
  2. Asking for feedback shows that you are invested in doing better in the future.
  3. Collecting feedback gives you a pool of customer data that can help your business make wiser choices.

Showing your customers that you actually care about them and that you’re willing to learn and improve builds stronger customer relationships. And, stronger relationships pave the way for customers to return if they should ever need your product or service again.

Reward Customer Loyalty

If you want to revive a relationship with a customer who has moved on, it helps to show them that their loyalty is not only appreciated but also valued through a reward.

Enter the loyalty program.

Loyalty programs can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. This means that they can be scaled to work for nearly any business.

Marketing guru Joanna Lord points out:

One of the best ways to engage a customer after they have cancelled is to give them another reason to engage with your brand other than their subscription or membership. Inviting them to join a loyalty program or to participate in a loyalty campaign gives them a new way to benefit from your brand.

Rewarding customers for their patronage increases the range of offerings your business can provide its customers. You provide a fantastic product or service – that’s great! Now, you can also offer loyalty benefits as well.

Loyalty programs can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. This means that they can be scaled to work for nearly any business.

At the simple end of the spectrum is the humble punch card. (Ex. The 10th punch will get you coffee for free!)

You can also offer consistent loyalty discounts for frequent shoppers, a point system that earns buyers a discount over time, freebies, or exclusive content and special offers.

There are so many options for how to execute a loyalty program! Just remember to make choices for your program that complement your business model and will provide real value to your customer.

Make it Personal

The old saying goes, “It’s not personal, it’s just business.”

But, the truth is that if you want to build lasting relationships with customers you must make it personal.

Customers are more likely to invest in your business if you invest in them.

Customers are more likely to invest in your business if you invest in them.

This isn’t just hearsay, it’s based on elementary principles of psychology.

In a previous article, 7 Marketing Psychology Tips to Improve Your Business Marketing, we discussed the law of reciprocity:

Reciprocity is the idea that we want to do nice things in return when people do nice things for us. Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, tells us that even the simplest gesture can trigger our desire to reciprocate.

In other words, investing the time and effort to show your customer you care about them personally increases the likelihood that they will invest time and effort in your business.

So how does this translate into actual practice?

Here are a few ideas you can implement:

  • Make sure to use your customer’s name – in email, text or social media communication.
  • Observe your customer’s birthday (if you have reason to know it). You may want to offer them a gift or a discount. But, at the very least, wish them a happy birthday!
  • If you interact with customers in person, show an interest in their life. Ask thoughtful questions and inquire after their family’s well-being.

Showing sincere personal interest in a client or customer who has ghosted your business gives them a powerful motivation to come back.

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