Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Winning Back Customers

Customer attrition strikes all businesses, large and small. The reasons are many: a weak economy, poor customer service or a product that doesn’t measure up on a particular day. The impact: this attrition affects profits and a firm’s ability to grow.
Some of this attrition can be prevented or corrected after the fact. How? By developing a plan to go after these lost customers.
Retrieving these lost souls can be a strategic advantage to your company, and it can lead to future success. Try following these four suggestions:
1. Develop a “Most Wanted” list. Before you can figure out how to win customers back, you need to find out who they are. Rely on your database software to kick out former customers who have strayed.
2. Determine why they left. Ideally, a personal visit or a call is the best way to find out why a customer strayed. If you can’t accomplish this yourself, train an employee to make the call.
3. Try to get them back. Apologize for the poor product or poor service and throw out an offer to gain their business back. When trying to win back a customer, it may take lowering your prices or offering an added bonus.
4. Service, service, service. Winning them back is only half the battle. Once they are back, you have to concentrate on keeping them. This takes the commitment of building long-lasting relationships with clients. It also takes a commitment to superior customer service.

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