Every business organisation, no matter how successful, has lost customers in the past. This could be due to any of a myriad of reasons, from a poor customer service experience that’s left the customer disenchanted, to discovering they’ve been paying more than they should have for the products and/or services they’ve purchased.
However, it isn’t necessarily the experience in question that dictates whether or not there remains a possibility of winning back a disenchanted customer, but rather the actions taken to win them back.
There are no set-in-stone methods that are guaranteed to win back a disappointed customer as each and every customer, like each and every business organisation, is different and success is generally dictated by your ability to adapt and evolve to the situation.
Customer trust, i.e. the degree to which a customer trusts a business organisation, is important and it isn’t something any business organisation, regardless of size and market dominance, can afford to overlook due to what’s at stake.
Customer trust, or more accurately high levels of customer trust, is considered to be the key to repeat business which is naturally what all business organisations should be aiming for.
Before looking at how to win back customers, it’s important to understand how to instil trust in customers as doing so often provides invaluable insights into your customers’ experiences and therefore the areas in which you may have gone wrong.
Here are three ways in which you can instil trust in your customer base.
1. Focus on doing what you do well rather than communicating trust
If your business organisation does what it does well there’s simply no need to communicate trust. By providing excellent products and/or services and by delivering outstanding customer experiences, there’s no need to tell your customer base that they should trust your organisation – they already will.
2. Be open about mistakes you have made
Transparency plays a key role in instilling trust, so if a mistake is made, own up to it and let the customer know what you plan on doing to amend the situation. Concealment and dishonesty undermine customer trust and in a day and age of social media have many negative knock-on effects.
3. Understand that instilling trust requires a sustained effort
Whilst first impressions are important, you must understand that instilling trust in your customer base requires a sustained effort so you must therefore be vigilant about providing excellent products, services and customer experiences throughout the entirety of your relationships with your customer base.
Winning back customers
Winning back a disenchanted customer can be a time consuming process, but if you successfully win them back the effort involved will certainly be worth it.
1. Understand what went wrong
It’s a mistake to instigate communication with an apology if you’re unsure as to what the problem is. Contact the customer via their preferred contact method and enquire as to what’s wrong.
When you understand the problem you’re in a better position to work towards a solution and opening a dialogue with a lost customer is the best way to gain an understanding.
2. Understand the importance of language and tone
The language and tone of your efforts to understand the problem in question and work towards a resolution are incredibly important and will dictate how successful your efforts to persuade them to return are.
You’ve surely been in a situation in which you’ve encountered insincere or half-hearted efforts of reconciliation and chances are you haven’t been impressed.
3. Offer them something
Whether or not you can make headway into the problem in question and work towards a solution, offering them something is a great way to show, in very real terms, that you’re sorry your relationship has soured and that you’d like to resolve the situation.
Offer them a free product or service accompanied with an apology, or if the relationship is a B2B relationship, look for ways to send business their way, perhaps introducing an associate or client to them.
4. Make the effort to understand your customers before you lose them
One of the many reasons business organisations lose customers is because they’ve made little effort to understand them, their needs and wants and their experiences.
This is a prominent reason for business organisations finding their customers disenchanted and disillusioned, though when one takes into account that often all that’s required is social media interaction and the occasional customer satisfaction survey, the fact that this is unforgiveable becomes instantly obvious.
Winning back customers you’ve lost can be time consuming, frustrating and a source of concern. However, by dedicating just a short period of time every day whilst working in your comfortable office space to get to know your customers better, you’ll mitigate the likelihood of losing them and consequently avoid having to win them back.
Lauren Downey is from Regus is a multinational corporation catering to the needs of those who are looking for meeting rooms and serviced offices. They also have virtual solutions clients can book.