Customer Experience News & Trends

Baby come back! Practices that win back lost customers

Lost customers don’t have to be lost forever. Companies who take the right steps are able to win back a large percentage of customers who claim they’re gone for good.

The first step in trying to regain lost customers is to find out why they left in the first place.

Here are the leading reasons:

  • They were lured away by a competitor promising better prices, better service or some other benefit
  • Their organization changed and new management was not aware of the strengths of your services or products because the information was not passed on to them by their predecessors
  • Your salesperson failed to deliver as promised, and
  • There was some hidden reason, such as your customer lost buying authority or left their organization for another position.

Regaining the business

Here are five steps that will help your salespeople get the business back:

  • Learn the real reason the customer left. Was it a pricing issue, a service issue, a quality issue? Did you show a lack of interest in keeping the business?
  • Be willing to start selling again as if the customer is now a new prospect
  • Put as much effort into regaining the business as you did to get it
  • Stay in touch with previous customers by placing them in your active file, and
  • Have a specific strategy for dealing with lost business.

Preventing customers from leaving

Proper after-sales support is the No. 1 way to keep customers from walking away to begin with.

The problem is: Some salespeople do a great job of selling until the prospect buys, and then everything changes. After the prospect takes ownership of the product or service, some salespeople become scarce or even disappear.

Once a sale is complete and customers begin to use a product or service, they’re going to be anxious to see positive results. They may also have challenges and problems, and nowhere to get the answers, if their salesperson has become scarce and less attentive.

And if they do hear from the salesperson, it may be a casual, “Hey, how’s it going?” Then the customer, not wanting to cause conflict may say, “Pretty good,” but inside he or she may be steaming.

There are usually four reasons why salespeople don’t focus on the after-sale process:

  1. They’re focused on getting to the next sale. Once they’ve made the sale, they’re on to the next one with no time to turn around and make sure the customer is maximizing the investment.
  2. They’re afraid to hear the results. What if they do a follow-up and the customer is upset because it’s not working? It’s easier to just keep quiet and hope for the best.
  3. They’re not really sure how to help the customer maximize a purchase. They know a lot about the features and benefits of a product or service, but very little on the various ways this product should be used to solve problems for customers.
  4. They forget that no product or service is excellent by itself. It’s excellent only if it fulfills a customer’s need. Needs change, and that’s why an effective after-sale approach is essential.

There are four positive results from an effective post-buy process:

  • You ensure that customers are maximizing their initial buy
  • You keep the competition away, because customers usually remain loyal once you develop a long-term relationship
  • You take the customer’s temperature on a regular basis to head off small fever spikes before they turn into deadly infections, and
  • You lock customers into a perpetual business relationship that will only expand and may lead to an ongoing stream of referrals.

Scheduling after-sale ‘check-ups’

It’s always a good idea to schedule “check-ups” after a sale is made. These meetings can be formal or informal, and can take place face-to-face or over the phone. Not only are these post-sale check-ups effective for providing service after the sale, they should be talked about in the pre-sale stages to help in the closing.

Scheduling “post-buy meetings” before the closing sends a clear signal to prospects that you’re not going to run away and that a “partnership” is actually beginning. You’ll separate yourself from the competition by developing better strategies and processes for the after-sale process.

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