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Recapturing former customers; some not gone for good

FormerCustomersThink about the customers you’ve had and lost over the past five years. Then think about what it would mean to your business to recapture just a small percentage of them.

That’s often the result of a good customer reacquisition program. It’s generally faster, less expensive and more efficient to reacquire an old customer than develop a new one.

Here are some approaches we’ve found:

Review five years of your customer lists; determine which are the best former customers to target, those with the most potential to win back

Give preference to those with which you had a good relationship.

Don’t forget about the rest, but focus first on those which you have the best prospects of reacquiring.

You also have to ask yourself a hard question: do you want this customer back?

We all want to win as many customers as possible, but some are very difficult to work with, and can even disrupt the morale of your staff. Others demand more work than the budget justifies, sometimes, it’s just a bad fit.

Find out why they stopped buying your products or services

“Stop studies” among former customers can determine why they really quit (not what they say top-of-mind) and how to get them back. Often the reasons have nothing to do with quality and service, or even price.

Competitors may have been more persistent at staying in contact, or the customer doesn’t sense you considered it important to your company. Very often you simply haven’t differentiated yourself from competitors:

If there was a problem with your products or services, fix it, visit the former client, apologize and explain how you have corrected the problem. Ask for another opportunity.

If possible, think of something you did or shared…” What was the name of that restaurant we…” or, “I was talking to…and your name came up.” Or, simply say you haven’t worked together for a while and you want to see how to get back together.

You may have to take a few small projects or orders to start rebuilding your relationship.

Regardless, targeting former customers may be one of your best strategies for attracting new ones.

Anthony Casale
CEO, Integrated Marketing Services