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Sep 15, 2020

The Retailer's Guide to Winning Back Lost Customers

Key points and areas of focus for re-engaging lapsed customers

By Dorea Novaez, Contributor @ Endear

The modern consumer is exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day. From Instagram to TV spots, it’s easy to become distracted by what seems to be the latest and greatest. In fact, it’s estimated that we are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day, both online and off. 

In such a vast landscape, your competition can have many faces and forms. So when it comes to how to win back customers, it’s easy to get caught up in questioning: Where did they go? And, perhaps more importantly: How do I get them back? 

In today’s post, we’ll be discussing just that.

7 Ways to Win Back Lost Customers

While it’s important to consider your competition and learn from their successes and failures, don’t spend all your time trudging through the weeds trying to figure out who might have stolen your loyal customers. Sometimes your best strategic approach is to first take a step back and go back to the basics.

1. Be detail-oriented.

The first step in winning back lost customers (and retaining existing customers) is being detail-oriented when it comes to your customer relationship management (CRM). Keeping good records about your customers’ buying habits, preferences, and lifestyle will help you better understand why they may have lapsed or what levers you can pull to re-engage them. Arm yourself with the right customer information and you'll set yourself up for a strong position in a competitive landscape.

2. Identify the right customers.

If you’ve armed yourself with the right information, as outlined in #1, it will be easy for you to identify which lapsed customers represent your most profitable relationships. If you find yourself in the position of winning back lost customers from this segment, you can feel confident it is worth the time, effort, and cost of fighting for them. Being strategic in chasing the right customers is essential to your long-term success and will help your marketing dollars go further.

3. Gather customer feedback.

Whether you think you understand where you went wrong or not, gathering customer feedback not only illuminates weaknesses you might have overlooked, it also allows customers to feel heard. Engaging them in the process of fixing your mistakes or improving some aspect of your large or small business betters your chances of winning them back by establishing a clear and honest channel of communication. 

4. Own up to your mistakes.

If you make a mistake in the eyes of the customer, whether it was truly within your control or not, take ownership and accountability for that mistake. Directly engaging with the customer and apologizing without making excuses can go a long way in forging a meaningful relationship. This is not the time nor place for defending yourself or mitigating blame. Put the customer first, set aside your pride, and express gratitude that the customer pointed out ways for you to improve. The bottom line is — remember the age-old adage: the customer is always right. Period.

5. Make it personal.

Cut through the noise and tailor your message to the individual customer. Yes, this takes time, but we are talking quality over quantity here. And if you’ve been detail-oriented and identified the right customers, you will come armed with the right information to make an impact and can rest easy knowing you are chasing leads that are worth your time and effort. 

Noting personal details about your customer’s lifestyle, career, family, or interests can go a long way towards crafting a compelling marketing message. The more personalized the better. Have your store associates write individually signed emails and text messages. Getting a message from an individual they have engaged with in the past is much less likely to go ignored than a mass marketing email.

6. Give them a good incentive.

Run a special discount offer or sale targeted at lapsed customers to sweeten the deal. If you’ve done a good job of following our advice thus far, you’re much more likely to have these win-back offers targeted at the right customers with the right messaging. Use these types of incentives to nudge old customers you’ve primed with other means of personalized outreach over the past few months, and this win-back strategy will greatly improve your chances of conversion.

7. Work to retain your customers.

The last tip for winning back former customers is a bit of a misnomer: don’t lose them in the first place. I know, it’s easier said than done. But the goal is to engage your new customers in a meaningful and personal manner from the get-go and continue that high-touch customer experience with regular touch points throughout the customer lifecycle.

What are some ways in which you can do this? Reward loyalty, focus on an ongoing human connection, make customer satisfaction a top priority, and surprise and delight your customers with special gifts, events, or even simple custom greetings whenever possible. For more specific tips on customer loyalty and customer retention, check out our dedicated blog post.

In a crowded marketplace that allows customers to shop whenever and wherever they want, it’s almost expected that customers will have wandering eyes. But there are certainly a number of ways you can earn their attention more often than not, and make sure they stay happy customers and keep coming back to you for more amazing shopping experiences.

Find out how Endear can help you track the right customer behavior and details, make personal connections, and re-engage lapsed customers. It’s easier than you think.