We spend a lot of time and energy researching new markets. Who aren’t we reaching? Where are the gaps? Where are the customers out there looking for what we offer and how can we connect with them?
It’s actually loyal, existing customers who are the best investment for a company – but we often overlook the clients we already have. And we’re even more likely to overlook those clients we’ve had in the past. It’s easy to look at a former client as lost forever – they have moved on, for whatever reason; that was their choice and the gracious thing is to let them go. No one wants to be hounded by phone calls and emails, let alone from an ‘ex’ anything.
But the truth is, these clients were attracted to your company at some point and once deemed you a good fit – whether it was price, customer service, reputation or convenience, something made you stand out from the crowd. And with a few simple steps, you could stand out from the crowd for them once again.
1. What went wrong?
Do you know why they left and where they went? If not, it’s time to find out. A phone call from someone who they interacted with during the course of their time with you is best. Keep it short and keep your questions open-ended. If the issue was a problem at your end, acknowledge it, apologise and explain how you can ensure this won’t happen again.
You can also set this up as a step in every client project – a mid-point check in to see how satisfied the customer is and a routine follow up on completion of a project. The more personal this is, the more likely it is you’ll get a candid response about customer satisfaction. If you’re using an online survey, keep it short and friendly.
2. What can you offer?
It may be that your customer has moved on because you simply can’t offer what they need – perhaps they’ve grown too much or their budgets are more restricted than they used to be. If that’s the case, let them go and record their reasons for future reference.
However, it’s likely that they are after something you can offer. But the best way to win them back is to tailor something to their needs - a one-size-fits-all approach won’t do you any favours. We live in a customer-centred economy and a customer-centric approach will make an impression. An extra incentive also won’t hurt. Can you throw in a special ‘welcome back’ deal?
3. Don’t lose touch again
Once your client is back in the fold, don’t lose touch. Work with your team to include these clients in regular communications. Keep them up-to-date about new services you’re offering or new developments in their field.
Remember: Return clients become loyal clients and one of the best sources of word of mouth referrals for your business. Don’t neglect your lapsed customers as you shape your marketing strategies – they’re only one step away from becoming some of your most valuable customers.
Need help freeing up the time to focus on customer service? Or perhaps marketing is an area you can’t spare the staff hours for? SBA Business Process Outsourcing is here to help – don’t hesitate to get in touch.