How To Win Back Customers For Your Small Business

Taylor Swift might not have been right about customers who take their patronage to a different business. Sometimes we can get back together. But that initial break in the business-customer relationship can leave a business owner scratching their head, wondering what or where things went wrong and what they could do to change things.

Sometimes it’s nothing, in particular, you’ve done that causes a customer to take their business elsewhere. Many studies have shown it costs much less in the short and long term to keep a customer than earn a new one. But once a customer has left, there are factors to consider when you embark on trying to earn back their patronage.

Former customers have already shown they have a need for a service or product you provide. With that in mind, these same customers will already know your company and brand, cutting the time and energy you would otherwise need to create awareness and education of your business. As technology and software have evolved, customer databases have become customized. With these customizations, a business can see how a prior customer used your service or business, allowing you to tailor any win-back campaign to them.



One Customer At A Time, Or Everyone At Once?

Trying to regain every customer who goes elsewhere can quickly drain marketing budgets. Focus on gaining back the customers whose behavior before their departure showed that they will likely return.

A key focus in marketing has switched from customer acquisition to the retention of current customers and re-engaging former customers. The reasons customers have for leaving a business goes into two categories of problems: specific and systemic. Specific problems are ones that are easy to fix with little financial ramification. Systemic are more difficult to correct and carry more of a financial impact. Having a higher priced product than your competitors or lackluster customer support based on a low-cost business model are examples of systemic problems businesses run into.

So a customer you once heard from a time or two a month has gone off the grid for six months now, maybe longer as you realize the calendar has slipped further by. Then after thinking a little longer, you realize more than that one customer has gone elsewhere. Is there anything you can do? Absolutely.

Winning Back Customers, A Step At A Time

One of the first things you can do to start finding the issue is to go back to a tenant of business classes. A strength-weakness-opportunity-threat (SWOT) analysis may give you a personal insight to your business you before hadn’t realized. This assessment will help you determine why the customers have lowered their perception of your service or business. Other questions you can ask yourself during the SWOT analysis may include:

Has the market for your business or product or are there changes to the market looming on the horizon that others have already adapted for?
How do your current levels of pricing and service compare to your closest competitors?
What is your honest relationship with your customers?

That last question may take an outside but trusted opinion to find an answer to, but will be much worth asking yourself and others.

Create a written plan for earning back customers. Why a written plan? Because it will act as a guide throughout this ongoing process. Many businesses wait too long to touch base with a former customer again, usually waiting more than a year after the last interaction. With that in mind, exit interviews aren’t just for outgoing employees at companies. If you are able to touch base with a former customer, ask them why they are no longer doing business with you. Remember the follow-up question of what it would take to keep them as a customer. The best case scenario at this point is they will stay a customer. But, even the worst case scenario isn’t without crucial information – hearing information and details needed to make a change or several within your company.

Still asking what is a SWOT Analysis? The YouTube channel Bplans have a great visual explanation.


Tap Into Your Email

Adding a layer to your email marketing campaigns is a common way to re-engage customers. Through your metrics, you’ll be able to see what email subscribers have fallen into the area of dormancy. Though you’ll lose engagement with people via email over time, it doesn’t always mean they’ve left you as a customer. This is an excellent way to quickly boost sales and traffic to your website and increase business.

Offering an incentive may give a dormant subscriber reason to come back to your business, but we recommend giving it a sense of urgency, such as expiring in 30 days. Other times a customer needs a friendly nudge and reminder of the benefits they receive with your business or service. Also, people’s email preferences change over time, and by offering a subscriber the chance to change how often or what emails they receive from you can bring them back to active status.



Does Your Business Need a Jumpstart?

If you’ve run out of ideas on how to give your business a little marketing boost, don’t fret! Elevare can help you put together that shot of energy you’re looking for, plus a long-term sustainable marketing strategy. Through email marketing and social media management, our team will work with you and yours to ensure you aren’t looking for your marketing jumper cables again! Contact us and let’s get started.


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