It doesn’t take a fancy degree from Harvard Business School to understand your customer acquisition and retention rates are important. Just about any episode of TV’s Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den shells out this business tip to entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs (to use a phrase coined by shark Mark Cuban) alike.
This is because as expensive as initially acquiring a new customer is, it’s even more expensive to reacquire a scorned one. Adding to the problem, the extra cost is incurred when the company has lower revenue due to drawing less business.
Reasons a customer leaves your business or migrates to a competitor can vary, but there are simple tips that can help bring them back. Learn how to bring customers back with the ten tips below. (They are simple and FREE!)
In the beginning, there’s Google. You can’t know what customers and the general public thinks about you unless you Google yourself, preferably from a public computer that isn’t already personalized to your browsing habits (which likely include a lot of company sites).
Google the company, brand, and key industry terms to learn what customers are saying.
Do the Right Thing
A common retort to big data and mass government monitoring detractors is if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t mind being monitored. While the argument falls flat for individual people, businesses and organizations both large and small can benefit from transparency.
Always treat everyone with respect and dignity and provide world-class customer service and quality to ensure you don’t lose your next customer.
Own Customer Complaints
If confronted with a customer complaint, whether in person, online, over the phone, or through the mail, don’t get offended or defensive. Do, however, confront the complaint head on by taking responsibility, regardless of what happened.
Even if the customer broke the product, it’s your fault for not explaining to them how to properly care for the product. Whatever the problem, approach the conversation from the perspective of the person at fault. If you can’t find a reason it’s your fault, you’re not trying hard enough.
Maybe a customer isn’t truly lost – maybe she’s just exploring other options or not really interested in a relationship right now. Perhaps your products and services are so good, people are finding ways to extend the usage and value. It’s the economy; blame whoever the President is by the time you read this instant-classic evergreen blog content.
Connecting on social media is important. There’s always a conversation going on throughout Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Quora, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, and every other social media site out there these days.
Some companies have been made or broken online. Sony, Target, and many others face scrutiny for lax security while Oreo, Samsung, and Whataburger lit up Twitter at key moments in pop culture to catapult their brands to the forefront. A well placed social media post can turn your entire business around.
Compliment the Competition
Just like you shouldn’t disparage an ex on a first date or a former company in a job interview, it’s important not to engage in mudslinging. Politicians consistently participate in this practice, but small businesses have no reason. It’s not votes you want – it’s dollars.
Engage with Customers
With so many platforms available to connect with past, present, and potentially future customers, the Internet quickly becomes a valuable tool to monitor and engage with customers.
A customer may not currently need any products or services you provide, but you can still be the first number they keep on hand to recommend to anyone in their social circle who does.
Hold a Customer Appreciation Day
Instead of just offering a discount or free product to an individual dissatisfied customer, be sure to show every customer he or she is appreciated. Random on-site celebrations give employees a chance to unwind and show another side while customers are inspired to come see what’s going on.
Update Your Databases
Be sure all customer databases are kept up to date so you know who’s currently a customer or has been in the past. Saving customer preferences ensures you don’t accidentally bother someone who’s really upset with your business, which could violate federal regulations.
Connectivity’s platform automates many of these database-related tasks (as well as much of the above) and allows for a streamlined communication experience.
Send an Email Blast
With all your ducks in an order, you can utilize data analysis to determine why customers left. All it takes from there is a notification when the problem is resolved, whether it’s pricing, service, or quality. They may not come back immediately, but when they’re ready, your exes will return, ready to see how you’ve changed.
Customer acquisition and retention is important, but every business is bound to lose customers over time, for a multitude of reasons. Reacquiring lost customers can be an expensive endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little work (and the help of some automated tools), it’s possible to bring those lost sheep back into the fold.
Brian Penny is a contributor to the Connectivity blog.