If your customer attrition rate is higher than normal, you need to ask yourself some hard questions. You’ll discover that price, by itself, is rarely the problem. Customers leave when they feel that their expectations are not being met. For online shoppers, these expectations may relate to product quality or convenience in terms of easy returns at no extra cost. More often than not, it is because customers feel that they are not being heard that they choose to leave. Another common reason is when customer service does not deliver on what was promised to them.
Bad experiences do add up and sometimes manifest in negative reviews and word-of-mouth publicity which even makes its way into the mainstream media. Case in point: in April 2020, many online retailers were forced to extend their return windows after a public outcry over the non-availability of drop-off points at stores and post offices which made returning items within the original timeframe impossible.
The good news is that it does not mean the end of the road for you as far as a lost customer is concerned. It does, however, require taking an objective, even critical, look at the customer experience you provide. This exercise can do more for the long term growth of your business than almost anything else. There is one thing you should be careful about, though. Despite your best attempts, you may be unable to see things from a customer’s perspective. It could easily be that you were too focussed on bringing in new customers than keeping existing ones happy. That may make business sense to you but customers certainly do not see it that way.
However, you are not alone. Research by User Experience (UX) specialist, Yieldify suggests that more than 50% of businesses surveyed spent more money on customer acquisition than on retention in 2018. This is despite the fact that it costs up to 5 times more to acquire new customers. To reverse the trend of customer attrition, businesses need to ask for feedback, acknowledge customer concerns, offer concrete resolutions, and show greater accountability.
Surefire Strategies to Win Back Lost Customers
Here are 5 strategies that can help you reassure and win back lost customers:
1. Do a root-cause analysis of the problem
Customer attrition is often a symptom of dysfunctional business processes If you look closely enough, you will find the exact reason why a customer chose to take his/her business somewhere else. This may be in the form of an online review or by making a complaint with a customer support supervisor. It could also be the result of an abrupt change to your returns/warranty terms and conditions.
To understand the underlying reason for customer churn and bring leaving customers back into the tribe, analyze customer data such as changes in order size or frequency, unresolved tickets, and escalations. Check online review sites for feedback and try to correlate it to your existing business processes.
Use analytics to identify patterns in customer behavior based on call log data. Ask customer support agents for first-hand feedback about what customers are complaining about. They are often the first point of contact for customers reporting a problem and should be able to fill you in on the latest issues being faced by customers. The immediate benefit is that what you find can serve as the basis for updating and improving your business’s processes and systems.
2. Identify the solution
If the problem is product related, you can iterate its design and develop a new user-friendly variant. If it is a process that needs to change, find better alternatives that are both cost-effective and customer-centric. Dropping your prices is almost certainly not the answer to regain lost customers. You need a solution that is sustainable and customer-oriented.
Start with defining a goal for retention, share it with your team, and plot a strategy for reaching out to past customers.
3. Let the customers know
To attract lost customers back to your brand, you need to reach out to them first. Leverage your website and social media channels to announce the improvements you have made to your product or service. Give credit to customers for being candid with their feedback and let them know how much you value it. By being open about your shortcomings, you communicate that you are willing to learn from past mistakes and grow. Tell them how you plan to improve.
Make use of segmentation techniques to come with customized offers to suit various customer demographics. This will help you save money that can be better spent elsewhere.
4. Take full responsibility
Acknowledging the inconvenience caused to a customer and taking responsibility for it is key to rebuilding trust with them. Failing businesses like Dominos have recovered from near bankruptcy by openly accepting their mistakes and promising customers that they would change for the better. Most customers are usually very forgiving and will consider coming back to your brand if you honestly acknowledge a mistake and make efforts to improve.
A handwritten note owning up to past mistakes can help you strike a chord with old customers and improve the odds of them returning to your brand.
5. Follow up
The onus is on to you to ensure that the same problem does not occur, once a customer returns to your brand. Whether you need to change the culture at your company or invest in outsourced customer support, customers will likely not put up with the same error again. The credibility of your brand could be severely affected if that happened.
Leverage reporting and analytics tools to track unresolved tickets, update policies and procedures, and build a culture of accountability.
Customer loyalty is the biggest proof that your product or service works. However, as an online business owner, this may only be one among many different priorities that you may have. As a preferred customer support outsourcing partner to hundreds of small businesses, Helplama can help you prioritize, plan and execute a responsive customer support operation while keeping operating costs in check. Contact us today for more information!