Winning back lost or lapsed business

The key to winning back business is in service recovery and rebuilding trust and faith.

It’s rare that you can just pick up the phone and resell to a customer that no longer uses you.  There will be reasons they no longer buy and they may not welcome a sales call from you.

Taking decisive service recovery steps are a must and even if your efforts don’t result in winning a lost customer back, they may help recover your reputation.

If they left you they were probably unhappy with something you did (or didn’t do) and unhappy people tell others. At one time I think the stats were that happy customers told 3 in 10 people and unhappy told 7 in 10. With social media you can add several zeros to that figure!

Try my 5 step service and reputation recovery method! 

1) Find out why they stopped buying in the first place (check your records or ask them, don’t guess or assume) DO NOT try to sell at this stage though this is just a fact find to establish what you need to fix.

2) Take the feedback on board, don’t just defend it (remember you have asked for this feedback) and explain what you have done to change the situation.

Something made them stop buying from you and they will need a good reason to start buying again. For example if the issue was late delivery then you will need to prove how this has been improved and what measures you have put in place to prevent it reoccurring. If it was down to price then check your price against your nearest competitor to check that its realistic, if you charge more then you will need to justify the difference and show the added value or they won’t even consider re-buying.

3) Send evidence and proof to re-build faith and trust such as testimonials from satisfied customers, improvements you have made, systems you have invested in or training you have undertaken to improve service. It may take several emails/letters/calls to build trust and desire back up so you may need to be patient.

4) Ask this simple question – ‘We really valued your custom, what would it take to win you back?’

They will either –

a) Say they will never use you again – if so then try to find out what you did to cause this

b) Tell you something you can do to win them back, so do it!

c) Ask for something you can’t provide – explain why, then leave them alone!

5) Use ANY information or feedback you get to improve your offering and publicize the improvements so lapsed, existing and even potential customers can see you are all about continuous improvement.

Some companies send ‘You Said We Did’ updates to customers to show how they have implemented improvements. Could you?

Good luck!