How to Recapture Lost Customers

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Whether customers leave because they are dissatisfied or they just found a better deal elsewhere, you can sometimes win back their business simply by reaching out to them. Even if they felt your company’s products or services weren’t up to par, you can sometimes repair the damage by taking their concerns seriously and demonstrating that you’ll do whatever it takes to address the problem and make them feel like valued customers.

Analyze the Situation

  • Determine what went wrong and why by talking to both the customer and the employees who interacted with him. If he left because he found a better deal or because of a slight inconvenience, he might not have ill feelings toward the company and might be open to coming back. However, if he had a bad experience with the product or service followed by a negative experience when he complained, you’ll have to work harder to regain his trust. Ask him why he left or plans to leave, and what you need to do to persuade him to give the company a second chance.

Offer an Apology

  • If you determine the customer received sub-par products or services, or was treated poorly by company representatives, apologize and take full responsibility for the customer’s inconvenience or financial expense. Sometimes customers are more upset by how they are treated when they raise an issue than by the issue itself. Be specific in your apology to show the customer you understand the inconvenience. For example, tell her, “I’m sorry you were out so much time and money and I regret that our representatives didn’t resolve the situation immediately.”

Act Promptly

  • The longer you wait to woo back a customer, the less receptive he’ll be. If he left in anger, a delayed apology and attempt to make amends might be too little, too late. Even if he left because he preferred another company’s prices or products, he might be too invested in them to consider returning to your business. If someone’s happy where he is, he’ll need considerable incentive to jump ship. Review your client list periodically and identify which clients you haven’t heard from. Make contact as soon as you can so they know you’re serious about winning them back.

Show Value

  • Demonstrate how coming back will benefit the customer. For example, offer customers a deep discount on their next purchase if they come back. However, you might not be able to afford to offer every lost customer an incentive, so focus on the ones who spend the most or have the longest history with you. Reach out via a personalized email or letter. Set a deadline for the special deal or discount to encourage them to act quickly. If a customer left because she was unhappy, explain what changes you’ve made because of her negative experience. Tell her, for example, that as a result of your conversation with her you’ve made changes in how customer service reps handle complaints about defective products.

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  • Photo Credit ColorBlind Images/Blend Images/Getty Images
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