Returning Lost Customers

Some people believe that the flow of customers in any business is the reality that is impossible to fight, and which must be simply accepted. For example, if the customer has decided to leave, then it is better to let him go in peace, politely say goodbye and maybe give them your business card in the vague hope to hear their familiar voice on the phone in the future.

Since the dawn of commerce, salespeople have been reflecting on the question of how to bring the customer back to the store. The latest technology advances have lifted the veil of secrecy over this issue, but the answer is far from obvious.

Why customers leave

First of all, it is necessary to understand why a customer decided to leave. This part of the question is covered quite well and has certain answers that are confirmed by numbers. Let’s look at them closer.

About 10% of the customers go to competitors. This is a market situation, and here everyone decides for themselves how to act. Some merchants negotiate with competitors, others monitor every move of customers and competitors and try to ensure that their offer is the best, or drop their prices to the lowest possible level.

Another 10% of customers leave because they no longer need the product due to changes in their type of activity, personal preferences or something like that. In this case, you need to understand and forgive your customer. You can be the best supplier of fresh meat in the region, but the customer who made the decision to switch to vegetarianism (whether by personal decision or on doctor’s advice) is unlikely to come to you again.

The next 15% leave because their complaints, requests, and wishes were not taken into account or ignored. Studies say that only 10–15% of the total number of customer requests are handled. The rest, unheard customers, are the ones to work with for the marketing department, customer service, and call centers. This is where opportunities to increase the loyal customer base are hidden. After all, a heard customer is a satisfied customer.

At the same time, the whopping 65% of the customers don’t even leave, but simply forget about the company. They would not mind buying your product or using your service, but they do not remember you. There’s another hairdresser next to the house or another coffee shop near the exit from the subway, there is a great car service just down the road to the office, and it’s handy to go to that fitness center, which the colleague visits, even if it is not quite on the way.

All these people are waiting for your call, message, and reminder. Ask them to come back and they will come. Make them an offer and they will respond. Contact them personally and they will be loyal to you and your company.

This is from where the problem arises: the absence of any system of communication with customers.

Comfort for customers

The key to such a flirty customer’s heart is at the intersection of three of the objective and subjective characteristics:

– direct benefit;

– communication with a customer;

– a customer’s feeling of being valued.

The first characteristic is the issue of quality of goods/services, pricing, packaging, sales process and so on. Despite the almost sacred attitude to perks and features, in our opinion, the importance of this characteristic is somewhat overrated. Yes, it allows you to create a positive experience that stays with the customer for a long time. But there you need to configure everything once and get the rewards in the future. Overused but a very clear example: the packaging of iPhones, on which Steve Jobs and Johnny Ive worked almost as much as on the smartphone itself. This package stays in a customer’s memory forever. Such examples are numerous.

The second, communicative, component is a significant part of the business. How many times have we been frightened by a delivery person’s voice or the sacramental “your call is important to us ….” A normal, well-established communication with the customer will always be paid in the form of the 15% of customers who could go away offended (but will not).

The third characteristic is the sense of customer value. It is logical to assume that, with all other aspects being equal, a customer will go where he or she is treated well. In this situation, customized loyalty programs do a great job. In particular, we at inCust help businesses to build relationships with their customers, in which businesses get easy to use and maintain an individual loyalty program. 

A business gently reminds about its offers with always appropriate proposals, thoughtful actions, and reward programs that work.

The points, listed above, of which the third is the most important and efficient, create comfort for a customer: he or she feels importance, receives correct feedback, and can use well-targeted offers.

The final hint

Never stop a customer if they choose to leave. First, you do not know their needs, perhaps they just don’t need your goods or services. But, even if they have not purchased your product, they will be able to tell about you to all friends who might need your products. Next, at the times of competition for a customer, politeness, ability to empathize, and the possibility to be useful are highly valued and may eventually return the customer. Finally, a customer that is lost is a sign for a business owner that something is not set up correctly, and now it is the right time to review the business processes. Just for this, you can be grateful to customers, who left.

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