How to Retain Lost Customers

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Everyone says the customer is important, but only a few companies invest the time, effort and financial resources to do what needs to be done to build a more loyal customer base.
Executing a clear strategy takes a true understanding of  the measures to be taken to bring back the customers and their friends. Companies usually lose from 15% to 20% of their customers annually. Customers leave for many reasons. Some move, some die, some go out of business and some are seduced by the competition. The majority of customers leave because they simply feel company doesn’t care about them or their business. Sounds immature and childish but it’s true. You may care, but if they perceive you don’t, then, in their minds—you don’t
Lost Customers-An ignored opportunity
Most companies today don’t know how many customers they have lost, much less attempt to bring them back. It is common for a company to lose 15 to 20 percent customers every year.  A 5% change in the rate of retention can make a huge difference to the top line and bottom line of the company.
No one wants to hear a complaint
Most companies won’t  try to win back former customers because there may be some pain involved in the process. The process of winning back customers begins with finding out why they left the company.  Customer relationships break up for  many reasons mostly to do with lack of communication.
Set up a Revival Programme
Companies can create a group of the most proficient employees. They should be assigned the job of contacting the lost customers with the objective of persuading them to give the company another chance. The plan to counter a low rate of customer retention should include a review of the problem on the lines suggested below:
•           Cost of acquiring new loyal customer
•           Annual Marketing  and advertising budget
•           Number of customer complaints each year
•           System for measuring and tracking problems                                 
Call them and ask them why they left
It is the best way to find out why they left and attempt to bring them back. Majority of former customers will tell why they left and what can be done to earn their business again.  If not at least they will tell what made them so unhappy and company will have an opportunity to correct the problem within the organization.
The customers where the possibility of winning back is higher are the ones who were unintentionally pushed away because of issues in the process such as delivery, billing or service problems and those who are pulled away by the competitors who offered them better value.
According to the research, the chance of successfully selling to a former customer is higher than the chance of selling to a new prospect. The former customer already knows the company and  product or services  and the company knows them. There is huge advantage over a competitor as the company have access to their past buying habits.
Listen Carefully, ask for their business
With attention to detail, to building trust, expressing appreciation, being competent as well as courteous can make the lost customers to come back and thereby bring profit to the company. Communicate with customers and discuss the issues that made them leave. Sometimes it is simple and other times there are real problems that need to be addressed.
Never let another customer walk out the door or hang up the phone vowing never to return to our place for business         
Mrs. Vijayalakshmi M.S
AGM, Customer Service
September 2015

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