Even if your business is securing new customers constantly, losing customers at the same time will not help the company to grow. Rather than assuming nothing can be done to regain the trust of that lost customer, it pays to get in gear and do what is necessary to rebuild the relationship. Here are some tips that will help with the process.
Identifying the Reasons That the Customer Left
As the supplier or vendor, you are in the position to understand what happened on your end. Unfortunately, too many people stop at that point and never consider the perspective of the lost client. While using a zendesk integration to gather information from different databases is a good start, your job is to look beyond what you know to be fact and take a good look at what the customer perceives as the reason for the end of the relationship.
This is going to require more than an internal investigation. As important as it is to check your own procedures and the actions of your employees, you must be able to see those events from the point of view of the customer. Never dismiss them out of hand. That is true even if what the customer perceives occurred was actually something else. If you have any hope of winning back that customer, you must get a good idea of what he or she thinks.
Own the Situation
No matter what actions took place on each side of the events, you take ownership of the breakdown in the relationship. That means you assume responsibility for what happened. It doesn’t matter if the issue got rolling due to the failure of one of your suppliers to provide goods or services on time, or it the matter is because the client did not quite grasp how a certain service works.
Avoid backhanded apologies that leave room for some of the blame to be placed on the customer. The worst thing you can do is tell a former client that you are sorry he or she didn’t understand how to place an order for rush delivery. Instead, you take the responsibility and state that you should have made it clearer on what was needed to produce the desired result.
What Are You Going to Do About It?
Lost customers may appreciate a sincere apology, but the only way to really capture their interest is to offer a workable resolution. This will likely mean tweaking some of your internal processes before you begin the effort to rebuild the lost relationship. Even if you think the current setup is perfect, the fact that you lost a customer for any reason indicates there is room for improvement.
A twofold approach is likely to generate some interest. First, explain to the lost customer what you’ve done to help prevent the same set of circumstances occur a second time. Make sure each step is presented in a positive light, and call attention to how this will make things easier for the client. Depending on how well those changes resonate with the customer, you could be on your way to getting that second chance.
For the second step, offer some type of incentive. While money may not be the first priority of the client, you can bet it figures into the mix somehow. After explaining how things will be different going forward, offer some type of discount for any orders or usage of services that will remain in place for a limited time. For example, if you run a teleconferencing company, that discount could apply to all conference calls placed over the next thirty days. Be clear about the amount and how the discount will be applied to the invoices, and be prepared to back up that verbal offer in writing.
Just as there is a sales funnel for cultivating and signing up new customers, there is also a customer service funnel designed to aid in customer service and support. In order to manage that funnel effectively, your team must be able to retrieve relevant information with ease. Since that data will not necessarily reside in a single database, it helps to structure the network so data can be downloaded and sorted in a common source.
One way to easily collect relevant data into one easy to use database is with the aid of an overlay that can grab the data and organize it for quick access. The right integration program helps to provide the connection between different contact databases, manages the scheduling of follow-up calls, and even triggers the generation of email and hard copies sent by post. The integrative software can pull from sales databases, the accounting database, and even grab information about the status of shipments.
Using this tool effectively will mean there is a constantly updating record of what actions have occurred with the client, what actions are pending, and even some ideas of what should be planned once those pending items are completed. The right software makes it easy to generate reports arranging in any manner the user needs, or create charts that help to show the progress (or lack thereof) with winning back the lost customer. The ability to collate the data and actually look at it up close will often yield new and more creative ways of what to do next.
The choice is yours. Do you want to write off the customer as a lost cost, or do you want the relationship back? Show the client you can provide them with excellent service and support, and the odds of healing the broken relationship are very high.