Bring your “dead” customers back to life
How do you re-establish a connection with customers who have gone dark? Columnist Loretta Jones offers a step-by-step guide for first getting their attention and then bringing them back on board.
It’s no secret that it’s more expensive to try to attract new customers than it is to retain the ones you already have. This can vary among industries, but investing in new customer outreach is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than keeping your current customer base, according to Harvard Business Review.
Now consider research from Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, which shows increasing customer retention rates by five percent can increase profits by more than 25 percent. Further, the book “Marketing Metrics” shows businesses have a:
- 60- to 70-percent chance of successfully selling again to a current customer; and a
- five- to 20-percent chance of turning a prospect into a customer.
So it makes sense that marketers should focus their efforts and resources on keeping current customers happy and satisfied — especially those that are slipping away. Remember, customer success equals company success. When customers are happy and their needs are met, your bottom line is the real winner.
Here is a step-by-step guide to bringing your valuable customers back from the dead:
Step 1: Get their attention
To win back customers who have gone dark, you need to determine what got their attention in the first place and figure out the best activity to re-engage with them. For example, if your customers like to learn about new product features visually, then webinars, video or infographics would be the most effective way to reach them.
But if you haven’t taken the time to learn about these specific preferences, it’s no wonder you’re struggling to retain customers. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to customer success.
Determine which channel will be the most effective, and then deliver personalized, targeted messages to reignite a conversation and remind them of all the benefits your product or service has to offer. Taking into account these personal preferences will set you apart from the noise and allow you to recapture your customers’ original interest level.
Step 2: Create content
Once you identify the best channel, you need to have the content to back it up. Blogs, e-books, case studies and webinars are just a few examples of content that marketers should create and distribute to build customer loyalty. Use these pieces to promote new products and campaigns, while also reiterating how your organization directly addresses the customer’s individual pain points.
Conduct a survey with your customer base, and use the feedback to create content that demonstrates a strong understanding of different industry segments you market to. Customers want to know the company they’re doing business with really understands what they go through on a daily basis and creates products and services that directly address those issues.
Step 3: Be a resource
Every interaction should be purposeful. Take the time to figure out which content will be the most beneficial and valuable before reaching out to your customers. Your opportunities to win back customers are limited, so give yourself the best shot by doing the research and work well in advance.
And sometimes, even the customer doesn’t really know what he or she needs. Listen to their problems to better understand underlying issues so you can better help them address challenges. This will show customers that you’re committed to their success and to retaining your relationship with them.
Step 4: If all else fails, reach out and ask for feedback
So what happens if you follow these three steps, and it still looks like there’s no hope in bringing back a customer? First, understand that it happens.
However, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try to learn from this shortcoming. Ask for feedback so you can make changes based on their experience.
And be sure to share their comments with your staff members. Weekly or monthly internal meetings dedicated to discussing challenges like this will only help improve processes. It also lets customers know that you still care about their opinion, even when it didn’t work out.
Bringing customers back to life isn’t easy — you and your team need to be on the same page and armed with the tools to succeed. Customer retention is a key element of business success.
When customers work with your company, they’re investing not only their money, but also their trust. Using these steps as a starting point, you can begin to re-establish a connection with existing customers, saving the company money and building brand recognition as a business that cares about its existing customers just as much as acquiring new ones.