How to bring the customer back: 4 steps

It happens to even the best companies: One day a customer decides to go—leaving one business behind for another. For business owners and managers, this is like watching your favorite sports player leave for the opponent’s team. A part of you has died… The good news is customer retention doesn’t have to involve this much drama.

Statistics show that in most cases customer churn could have been prevented. Churn management allows you to read the warning signals before a customer decides to leave. However, if a customer has already walked through the door, have you lost them forever?

The straightforward answer is no. Furthermore, successful win-back pays out. In a case study involving 53,000 customers in 2015, the average customer lifecycle value increased by 11%. Moreover, it has been shown that increasing customer retention rates by 5% could boost profits from 25% to 95%.

There are strategies on how to win customers back. We have composed a checklist of measures to try. After all, the business relationship hasn’t completely failed; rather, consider it as being temporarily inactive. The customer journey is basically extended. You still know your (former) partner better than any other of your competitors. So, make use of obtained data and bring the relationship back to life.

win-customer-back-churn-prevent

1. Continue listening to them.

Understanding why a customer decided to buy your product or service in the first place is to your advantage. What was it that convinced them? This is one reason why it is beneficial to access survey data that has been collected at every stage in the customer lifecycle.

Collect details such as satisfaction with product features, price, and customer service. In fact, in 89% of cases, poor customer service has been shown to be one of the top reasons for customers leaving.

This highlights the role of the customer engagement. However, customer service is much more comprehensive than we thought. A closed deal doesn’t mean a company can rest on its accomplishment. After all, it’s just the start of the journey. Appointing a competent team is key for customer engagement. Businesses aware of the importance of customer service is often renamed the “customer success centre”. A single customer request completes the picture we have about a customer and opens up new opportunities.

2. Communicate value.

Much like in any type of relationship, a business partner wants to feel important and valued. It only makes sense that customers need to see the other party regret the loss in order for the customer to consider going back. More than 40% of lost customers are willing to return if they notice increased effort (e.g. such as offering discounts or upgrades).

In order to facilitate the decision-making process, former customers need to be nourished as leads. Use customized messaging that addresses the customer’s individual need. This has been shown to be the most effective way to re-engage former customers (e.g. through marketing automation and remarketing). Regardless, personalized marketing is key to long-term engagements.

3. Make customer win-back more efficient.

Every customer counts. However, as you have learned by now, winning customers back will cost you some effort and money. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize customers who are more likely to return. In general, it has been shown that customers who left due to price are more likely to return than those who left due to poor service. And of course, the more reasons for leaving, the less likely a customer is to return.

4. But when they return…

… make sure they stay—for good. If you have done your homework, by now you know more about your customer, which you can use to further improve your relationship. Even if you already understand the benefits of customer win-back, it may also change the way you think about existing customers.

When executed correctly, a customer lifecycle offers many opportunities to obtain valuable data. Don’t create “just another customer satisfaction survey”. Focus on a long-term relationship with active response loops that address customer needs at all stages. From there, focus on developing engagement. Account management should collaborate with product development and customer service to improve the overall experience. You can even take it one step further and turn customers into advocates. According to some studies, prospects are 83% more likely to trust a brand when referred by someone they know.

If you still have your doubts that a survey tool could increase your return on investment—how much do you think customer churn will cost you?