Customer relationships, much like romantic ones, can be messy. Like our favorite on-again-off-again couples, customer retention isn’t always linear.
While losing a customer isn’t the end of the road, it takes work to convince them you’re worth a second chance.
Luckily we’ve got the customer makeup for every kind of breakup. We call it a customer win-back series.
If the relationship between you and your customer seemed to end on good terms, there’s always potential to earn their business back. You just need to remember the three R’s of reengagement:
The very first step in winning back a lost customer is to figure out why they left in the first place. A simple survey or personalized message asking for their feedback is the easiest way to get clarity.
According to a synthesis of several studies on customer retention, some of the most common reasons a business loses customers include:
If you decide to go the survey route instead of reaching out and asking a customer directly why they left, these are good jumping-off points to help form your questions.
Genuine customer feedback in this context is worth its weight in gold. It’s important to take in what you’re hearing and analyze the trends. Over time, if you notice a theme to what caused previous customers to leave, you may consider making changes to your business.
But in the meantime, it’s important to react to the feedback and respond immediately with a temporary solution.
Based on the common customer complaints above, here are some reactions you can take right away as a first swing at winning back their business.
|Pricing concerns||Explain the reason behind your pricing structure to help the customer understand what they’re paying for. Follow up by offering a discount to welcome them back if they should so choose.|
|Diminished value||Offer to send replacement items or services and follow up with a look back at their purchasing history so you can share a report on what, if anything, has changed.|
|Poor reviews||Respond with examples of positive reviews as well as recent customer testimony/case studies.|
|Outdated sales/communication strategy||Ask them how they would prefer to be reached, and offer an alternative.|
|The business stopped anticipating customer needs||Offer to set them up on an automated schedule for orders and store information on product preferences to help better tailor your marketing materials.|
|Poor customer service||Apologize for the unsavory experience and collect details of what happened. Investigate the situation, then report back to the customer to let them know you’ve followed through with the issue fully.|
The three R’s mentioned above are the anatomy of something called a customer win-back series. Also known as an e-commerce win-back campaign.
The goal of win-back marketing is to connect lapsed customers with content made specifically for them.
This could include phone calls, emails, or text messages (depending on their preference) all focused on earning their business back. Primarily, you’ll aim to solve the pain point that drove them away in the first place.
If your business has a CRM system, you should be able to pull data on customers who are slipping away or have gone cold. If that’s the case, you can use digital communication tools to automate your win-back series saving you valuable time and effort.
With mobile marketing being our specialty, we find that text message win-back campaigns can be highly effective.
We favor a mobile customer win-back series with five or more text messages scheduled out or sent manually to inactive customers. The content of your messages should be written in-line with your brand’s voice and communication style. However, the goal of every message remains the same.
Sending an out of the blue offer to a customer who hasn’t engaged with you in a while is like trying to cook a turkey in a non-preheated oven. Instead, the first message in your campaign should be a simple greeting. You’ll want to acknowledge it’s been a while and let them know you’re thinking about them.
The purpose of a message like this is to put your business back on your customer’s radar before you ask anything of them. Their inactivity could be a result of just forgetting about you. In that case, all it may take is a little hello to bring them back.
Just as we touched on earlier, your next message should put feelers out as to why a customer has been absent. Not only does this step give you a better idea of how to proceed, but it can also help you remove customers from your database who aren’t worth your resources. For example, if you ran an online glasses store and a customer recently got LASIK, they may no longer be in need of contact lenses. In that case, they can most likely be removed from your list.
Once you have a better idea of what’s keeping people away from you, you can offer one of the tailored solutions we laid out above. If you find a customer doesn’t provide you with anything specific, a financial incentive is always a good default. For 89% of consumers, price is the main factor affecting purchasing decisions.
If your rewards and surveys aren’t making a difference you still have a few shots at getting a customer’s attention. For text message marketing specifically, all a customer has to do to stop receiving your messages is reply with STOP. So when a customer doesn’t unsubscribe, it’s usually an indication they don’t want to shut you out completely.
You can take advantage of that by sending a message saying “if you no longer wish to hear from us, we can remove you from our list.” This creates a sense of urgency and curiosity that could be the push your customers need to revisit your brand.
In a last-ditch effort to recapture customer attention, the last text in your win-back series may feel counterintuitive—but it’s a goodbye message. Following through with your promise from the previous message, the key element to your farewell text is to include instructions on re-enrolling.
You’ll want to let customers know it’s only goodbye for now. Should they ever want to rejoin your marketing list, they’re welcome to do so. All they have to do is “x,y,z.” This is one last opportunity to remind them why they joined in the first place.
Just remember. If Jay-Z can cheat on Beyoncé without their marriage ending, you can win back those wayward customers.
Now get out there and start winning back some customers!