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Why You’re Losing Customers and 7 Ways to Win them Back

Billions of dollars are lost every year from organizations whose clients choose to clear out. The normal procurement cost per client for many midsized to large companies, is a harsh $400. Increase that by the many clients that leave, and you can see the significance of keeping clients happy.

It is important to understand the importance of keeping your customers. Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.

So what do you do to get them back once they’ve cleared out? There are a few strategies that you can execute today to recover your clients, and one system that you can set up to keep them from leaving again.

But first, let’s take a look at why your customers are leaving in the first place.


Why Your Business is Losing Customers

If your business seems to be hemorrhaging customers left and right, there may be several reasons why this could be. Here are a few of the more common reasons why this happens.

1. Poor Customer ServiceCustomer service is one of those things that you should not take for granted or cut corners on. Many consumers will not mind paying more for your competitor’s product or service if they enjoy doing business with them more than they do with you and your team. 

Shauna Geraghty, a clinical psychologist and head of talent at the global customer support innovator TalkDesk, states that over 90% of customers who are dissatisfied with your customer service experience will just not come back, rather than telling you if something is wrong and how you can improve it. NewVoiceMedia’s 2018 “Serial Switchers” report reveals that poor customer service is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year.   

2. Under delivering on what was promised

It is important not to make promises that you cannot keep. Building up customer expectations just to get the sale will inevitably cost you money if you cannot deliver and meet their expectations. It is much better to under promise and over deliver than it is to leave customers disappointed with their purchase.

3. Your business is inconsistent

Consistency in business is more important than you think. In a recent survey conducted by The Drum, 41 percent of consumers indicated that consistency was the most important factor in determining brand loyalty, compared to authenticity (15 percent), relevancy (6 percent), and transparency (2 percent).

4. Make Customers Feel Undervalued

Nothing is worse than a company that works hard to earn your business but once they get it, the effort to keep you happy is non-existent. When you don’t show your customers that you value them, you run the risk of losing them to a competitor that is working hard to win their business.

Losing customers is never a good feeling, and there are dozens of reasons why it happens. Maybe your product isn’t as good as it used to be, maybe your pricing is too high, and perhaps you’re becoming too spammy by trying too hard to upsell.

Whatever the reason, it is important to identify them and work hard to rectify them.  And there is a really good reason why.

5. You’re Not Getting Better

By now, you should have an idea of what your customers think about you.  With Google Reviews, Amazon reviews, Yelp, and other review sites, there is no excuse for not knowing what customers like and dislike about your product or service. The big question is, “what are you doing about it?”

If you have gotten a bad reputation of not delivering as promised or on time, you must focus on making that change. Once you begin to eliminate the stigma of not fulfilling your promises, you must begin to make sure that your reviews reflect the change. Customers are likely to disregard a review from three years ago that says “The product was delivered late” if there are several reviews from this month that say, “The package arrived earlier than expected” or better yet “Super fast delivery!”


There is a REALLY good reason why you want to win back lost customers

If you think that losing customers isn’t that big of a deal because you can always get new ones, you’re wrong. Although there are plenty of customers to go around, going after your lost customers and winning them back can dramatically increase your revenue. 

V. Kumar, a marketing professor at Georgia State University who studies “win back” strategies, may have found a really good reason why you should spend more time focusing on your lost customers.  Kumar and two colleagues studied data on more than 53,000 customers who left a telecom company over a seven-year period. They examined how each lost customer behaved before canceling their service, why each canceled, how each responded to various win-back offers, and how profitable each customer who signed on again subsequently became.

The results of their study should grab the attention of every entrepreneur.  Kumar and his colleagues found that second-time customers had an average lifetime value of $1,410, versus just $1,262 during their initial run with the service.

As business owners, we are always trying to acquire and keep clients and customers. While this is an essential part of running a business, not focusing on winning back lost customers and clients means that we are leaving money on the table. 


How to Win Back Your Lost Customers

1. Show that you care about them as a person

Consumers in the 2020s want more from the companies they do business with than in previous years. They not only want you to care about them as a customer, but they want you to care for them as a person.

According to a Wunderman study, 79% of consumers said that brands have to actually demonstrate that they understand and care about me before they are going to consider purchasing. In addition, 56% said they feel more loyal to brands that “get me” and show a deep understanding of their priorities and preferences. Additionally, 89% are loyal to brands that share their values.

Just having a good product isn’t enough. You have to understand your customer on a deeper level and show them that you understand. Fortunately, having great customer service is an easy way to do this. Personalized marketing is another way to go to the next level of engagement with your customers.


2. Announce Upgrades and Improvements

If your business was lost due to a flaw in your customer service, product or service, those issues need to be corrected first. Once you’ve improved the areas of weakness, it is time to announce it to the world.

You must first acknowledge that you were aware (or made aware) of the problems. Admitting there was a problem is the first step in making things right. From there, announce that your business has worked hard to make changes and improvements.

If you couple these announcements with an enticing offer for past customers, you put yourself and your business in a better position to recapture those customers that fled due to those issues that you acknowledge.


3. Offer exclusives and bonuses

Another way to make your lost customers feel like they are special is to present them with an exclusive offer or bonus.

This can be especially powerful for technology companies and your business’s online presence. Think Google found that 24% of app customers would return if they received a bonus or exclusive offer.

When developing a win-back message or email, the way you approach the customers makes a huge difference according to a Validity report.  Their research found that reactivation emails with the word “miss you” in their subject lines achieved a 13 percent read rate, and messages with the words “come back” in their subject lines achieved a 12.7 percent read rate.

Also according to Return Path data, win-back emails with $ off discounts in their subject lines were nearly twice as successful as emails with % off discounts at getting people to open and read them. This is actually contrary to the practice of many marketers, as it is commonplace to offer a % discount in the subject line.


4. Reinvent Your Business

One of the reasons your business has lost customers may be due to competition and a string of let downs by your product or service.  In both cases, it’s important to reinvent yourself and your brand.

In 2016, Domino’s Pizza’s sales began sagging.  The pizza chain was almost down for the count 5 years ago as it struggled to keep customers.  But after a massive reinvention, a newfound commitment to food quality, and an aggressive PR campaign to match, Dominos is seeing a revival of its pizza delivery business.

Take a look at your business and its model.  Has the business model become stale?  Has your business growth been at the expense of product or customer service quality?  If so, it’s time to reinvent yourself and the business.  The key is to improve your product or service while changing the way your business is viewed by your target market.


5. How to Prepare for the One on One Situations

Set expectations in advance– Let your clients know that you’re there to tune in. You are not there to safeguard the activities of your organization or argue about what could possibly have happened. You’re there to listen and get thoughts on what you could have done to improve the client experience.

Drop your guard-When you ask your clients what made them leave, be prepared for mercilessly genuine answers. Toughen your skin and remember that you’re there to figure out how to enhance your business. On the off chance that they give you only one thought, you can execute that idea immediately. If it helps keep other clients from leaving, it’s worth it.

Be compassionate-Customers can sometimes feel like just a number when dealing with many businesses. They feel that nobody in your organization cares.  You can show that your organization cares by listening and being empathetic.


Personal Approaches

  1. Call your client-This should be done by you, the owner or, in a larger organization, somebody at the senior level. A call from somebody in power sets up believability and offers significance to the call. Relegating this assignment to somebody who doesn’t have the power to change arrangement or strategies is an exercise in futility. Clients need to know that they are conversing with somebody with the ability to change things.

2. Send standard mail– By utilizing post office based mail with an answer card you can reach a larger number of clients than calling alone. The challenge is getting your previous clients to send a reaction. You can expand your reaction rate by including a motivator for responding. Make the motivator something that won’t appear to be self-serving. A sample would be a $5.00 gas card rather than 25% off of something you offer.

3. Offer to take them to lunch– This technique works for little organizations with neighborhood clients. On the off chance that you work together in a smaller town, word of mouth can represent the moment of truth for you. Your notoriety in a little town is your most significant resource. Taking a seat with your previous clients and truly attempting to get answers will do wonders for your notoriety. This is rarely done, and will build you up as a pioneer in your town.

4. Town Hall Meeting– This is a chance to get a great deal of reactions at the same time. Since the tension might get high, the test is in keeping control and not letting clients gather as one and assume control over the meeting.  A town lobby meeting will give you important data and knowledge into the way your clients see your business and its practices. They want to see changes before they will return. You should roll out the improvements and be evident about it to restore your believability.

Organizational Approaches

What happens if you are unable to take a personal approach or your customers are people who had subscriptions or purchased products online?  You will have to change a few things about the way the general public views your business.


Keeping Your Hard Won Customers from Leaving Again

You’ve finished one, a few, or perhaps the greater part of the client recuperation procedures and a few clients have consented to return. Keep in mind, as of right now you must give preferable treatment to those clients that you have won back.  They are just as likely or more to leave again. So what do you do now?

You send them to the ICU – the emergency unit of your business. You don’t have an ICU? It’s an ideal opportunity to make one. Similar to how the ICU in hospitals systematizes the treatment of a patient to get them headed for recuperation, the idea behind having an ICU in your business is to systematize the client recuperation procedure to guarantee a reliable result. Your ICU will have the accompanying mission.

The ICU is a committed group whose sole obligation is to deal with your client’s experience until your clients are prepared to be discharged into standard client care. Your clients will have a devoted individual from the ICU accessible to go to as a contact in the middle of them and your organization.

The ICU is committed to improving your client’s experience. It is also responsible for implementing best practices from client recuperation procedures. Remember that keeping your customers is much more cost effective than acquiring new ones.


Losing customers is just a part of doing business. 100% customer retention is an unrealistic goal. However, when you do lose customers, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship is lost forever. With a little understanding of why your customer left and some effort towards winning them back, you can renew the severed business relationship.

Ralph Paul on Twitter
Ralph Paul
Ralph is the Managing Editor at StartUp Mindset. The StartUp Mindset team consists of dedicated individuals and is designed to help new, seasoned, and aspiring entrepreneurs succeed.

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Ralph is the Managing Editor at StartUp Mindset. The StartUp Mindset team consists of dedicated individuals and is designed to help new, seasoned, and aspiring entrepreneurs succeed.

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