It’s the worst, right? Losing a loyal client can drive you nuts, and all you can think about is how to win your customer back.
You thought your customer was good and that things were in solid shape. It seemed to come out of nowhere when you got the call. You can’t believe it; you did not even know anything was wrong. And then your customer lets you know – they have made the decision you never thought they would make – they are leaving you and going to your competitor.
You’re devastated, unsure of what you did wrong and how the relationship went sideways. You think about it, lament over it, and even get a little depressed. Then you make the FATAL mistake we all make in this situation; you let it go. You assume that the relationship is over and your customer is no longer your customer, and they have moved on.
That mistake is fatal because you’ve ended a relationship that is not over.
Your relationships with customers, really good customers, are never over. And your work winning back a lost customer is far from finished; in fact, you need to put your ego on the shelf, dust off the cobwebs, and get back to work.
Why is the relationship not over?
Because in all the years I have been working in customer service, sales, and business growth, the one thing I have learned is that my competitor, the one who just got lucky enough to win my best customer, is guaranteed to screw up. And when they do, if I am there, if I am ready, I will not only win back the customer I lost, I just may pick up a few new ones.
So how does it work?
Here are three strategies you need to win back a lost customer.
1. Understand Why
The first step in winning back a lost customer is to swallow your ego and understand why you lost the customer in the first place. Now I will admit, this is not an easy thing to do; I mean, who wants to take a long hard look in the mirror and admit what they did wrong? But it is critical if you ever want to win your customer back.
Like it or not, your customer left for a reason, and you need to know why? Maybe you missed something important your customer needs, or maybe they don’t understand the value you bring to the table, or maybe you did not realize what their top priorities were. Whatever it is, at this point, you just need to know so you can start down the path to fix it.
2. The 11th Hour Letter
Now that you know where the relationship went wrong, you can start down the path to fix it. And that begins with the 11th-hour letter. Oh, the customer may think the relationship is over, but you are not letting them go that easy.
The 11th-hour letter is the letter you send when the customer lets you know that they have chosen your competitor over you. It goes something like this:
You start by telling them how sorry you are to lose them, but you understand, and you are sure they have made a good decision. However, if at any time they are unhappy, feel underserved, or need anything, then you would welcome them back. All they have to do is call.
Why is this letter important?
Because it accomplishes some very important steps in your journey to win your customer back. One, it lets the customer know that you value them. Two that you understand, you listened to why they are leaving. Three, and this is so good; you are letting them know that if they ever want to come back, they are welcome. You are making it easy for them to come back.
3. Come In Second
Now that you have done your homework and laid the foundation, you are ready to go back to square one, how you won them over in the first place. You are going to start the calling strategy and nurturing process all over again. Because when your competitor drops the ball, and you know they are going to drop the ball, you want to be there, second in line and ready to step in.
Listen, no one wants to lose a customer, but it happens. It happens to all of us. But the only mistake you can’t live with when it comes to losing a customer is thinking they are gone forever.
Put these strategies into place, and you will not only win your customer back, but you will turn all of this uncertainty into your greatest competitive advantage.