Winning back lost customers is a goal every distributor should aim for. Why grow new revenue, which costs much more to do, when you are losing existing revenue in spades?
In this article, we discuss:
- What makes customers leave and how to find out “what went wrong”
- Fixing problems that led to lost customers
- Which customers are worth winning back
- Ways to get customers back
- Why having a permanent strategy is important
5 Steps to Win Back Lost Customers
Don’t give up on your lost customers.
Distributors should still treat lost customers as customers—even if they’ve moved on. Like any other customer, they need attention, service, and commitment if you want to bring them back to your business.
Here are steps we recommend fluid power distributors take to do exactly that.
Step #1: Learn Why They Left
Figuring out why a customer left is the first step in winning back lost customers.
Look at the customer’s buying history, order requests, feedback and other customer retention data to understand why the customer left.
In addition, ask your lost customer to talk with you about why they left. The customer might reject your offer, but anyone who agrees to talk will have great insights (and may be persuaded to come back).
You can also use surveys to get answers. You can offer multiple choice or open-ended responses to allow customers to tell you if they had concerns about:
- Product availability
- Product quality
- Speed of quote response
- Speed of delivery
- Interactions with CSRs or other team members.
Armed with this data, you can fix problems that cause customers to leave.
Step #2: Fix the Problems
In order to win back a customer, you have to take responsibility for their unhappiness and provide a solution. This often means fixing issues that led to them leaving, such as poor customer service, bad product, or unmet expectations.
Of course, you can’t make every customer happy. Some customers leave for reasons outside of your control.
In most cases, however, they left due to business problems you do have control of.
Once you’ve got enough data about why customers left, analyze it to find your problem areas. Then, develop an action plan to solve the problems that lead to customer loss.
Step #3: Select Your Targets
Not every lost customer is worth getting back.
Don’t use resources on customers likely to leave again, or those who did not buy often from your company.
Selecting good targets – in this case, customers worth winning back – will help your win back strategies be both effective and cost-effective.
One way to identify targets is using a Customer Success Software. This software can find the value of a lost customer. It can tell you if a customer was always a low producer, or complained about your service often.
If you don’t have a Customer Success Software to do the job for you, you can still select the right targets. First, decide on the “traits” of a customer that’s worth winning back. Things like length of relationship and annual sales volume are common traits.
Once these traits are decided, use historic customer data to analyze these traits and identify your targets.
Step #4: Make Contact
Once you have your target customers, the next step is communicating with them and getting their attention.
It’s difficult to win back a customer if you no longer have their interest, so starting a conversation is the first step in rekindling your relationship.
In that conversation, confronting the problem and how you’ve fixed it may inspire a lost customer to give you a second chance to meet their needs.
For fluid power distributors, using email, phone calls, social media, and even website blogs, you can start a conversation about ways your business is improving that are specific to a customer’s concerns.
If you can show them you are a distributor who improves to meet its customers needs, you may rekindle the customer’s interest and rebuild the relationship to one that is stronger than before they left.
Step #5: Create Offers and Incentives to Return
Offer a new deal just for customers you want to bring back into the fold. In addition to solving their problems, motivating your lost customer with an offer can entice them to reconsider.
You could offer preferred pricing, delivery deals like free shipping on their next order, and other creative perks.
With 68% of lost customers leaving because they don’t like how they’ve been treated, giving something extra shows that you value them, are listening to them, and sincerely want to continue meeting their needs.
Why Should You Have a Strategy to Win Back Lost Customers?
As a fluid power distributor, chances are the loss of a single customer is not going to break your business. Losing customers at a steady rate over time, however, can put you in hot water before you know it.
If you decide to use a win back strategy, you’ll regularly work to find and fix problem areas which not only brings customers back – it can help prevent customers from leaving.
The best strategies for winning back a lost customer stem from the same practices that create successful customer relationships:
- Gather and act on detailed customer data
- actively track a customer through their journey
- Personalize customer engagement.
If you acknowledge your role in a customer’s decision to leave and demonstrate your willingness to shape your service to meet their needs, then you stand a good chance of winning back their business and deepening your relationship for the long term.
A seasoned expert in the fluid power industry, Harvey is passionate about providing outstanding service to his customers. His professional goal is to genuinely invest in the customer’s best interest and provide a level of service that is simply unequaled in the market.