How to Win Back, Retain Customers
When I published Sandhills Business Times, the thing that frustrated me the most was losing an advertiser.
Of course, every business has customers who depart. How one reacts will either validate that the customer left for a good reason or begin the process of bringing back that lost revenue.
Unfortunately, I did not have the tools and skills to consistently reel them back in.
To help you, we turn to Jeanne Bliss. She founded CustomerBLISS, a consulting and coaching company that helps corporations connect their efforts to yield improved customer growth.
Bliss offers the following five steps to identify and regain customer trust and relationships:
First, track customers who have departed.
"The first step is to quantify the volume of customers and the volume of business that departed," Bliss says. "This can be done monthly or quarterly, depending on the volume of your business model."
Second, segment and identify those who departed.
"All customers who have departed, especially if you have a high-volume business, are not contributing the same value to your business," she says. "Now you need to make some hard decisions. Segment the customer base of departed customers and then determine which customers you will reach out to for recovery."
Third, reach out to customers with respect, reason and reconciliation.
"Once you know who you want to save, reach out to them with a phone call," Bliss says. "This is not a sales pitch. The first part of the conversation is apologizing that the customer left. The second part is listening, intently, to the customers' explanation."
She believes the next step is to diagnose and verify back to the customer why they departed, and cataloguing this information for the company. Then, you must extend support and immediate assistance to resolve the issue.
"Finally, there should be an offer (not a pitch) extended to the customer to bring them back," Bliss says.
Fourth, categorize reasons for departure and take action.
"After the calls, there is a major opportunity for your company to identify the issues that came from all of the calls, and then trend and track these issues," Bliss says. "By attaching them to the revenue of the departed customers, these issues can also be prioritized. The most critical issues will emerge, and there will be no question what you should focus on."
Finally, put returned customers into "intensive care."
"Once a customer has agreed to come back into your business, to be rescued, keep an eye on them," she says. "Conduct a review every six months of their experiences, tracking customer service calls, purchasing, support and other indicators which will identify the health of the restarted relationship.
"Then reach out again. Your close attention will not go unnoticed."
Bliss notes that the key is to ensure that there is a planned process to contact, resolve and reconcile the issues with the customers who have departed.
"There must also be an intention and commitment to fix the issues which pushed the customers out the door. The focus must be to fix the customers and to fix the company," she says. "In this way, the customer rescue process brings back in revenue and prevents future revenue from departing from your business."
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or email@example.com.
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