You spend time and effort making sure your customers are happy and thriving. You are constantly brainstorming new products and ideas to keep them satisfied and to keep those retention rates high.
And yet, inevitably, no matter how much you put into your customer care, sometimes you will lose a customer, and it hurts.
So what do you do?
There are a few things you can do to soften the blow of losing a customer, and even to turn it into a positive learning experience. Here are seven tips to make the most of it when a customer walks away.
1 — Don’t try to sell to them
If a customer is gone, they are gone. Something happened to make them not want to use your product anymore, so pushing a sale is just going to make your relationship worse in the long run. Once a customer decides to leave, your concern should be 100% about maintaining a good image with this ex-customer, not about trying to make any sort of profit from them. It becomes a customer relations issue immediately, and an urgent one. Don’t send them any more information about your products, though there is something you can do instead, which brings us to number 2.
2 — Do ask them why they left
Though you’ve lost the opportunity to earn money from these customers, you can still benefit from them by sending out a survey asking why they left. Angry or dissatisfied customers are a great customer knowledge tool if you make sure to take advantage of the information they have to offer you. Keep your surveys short, polite, and as easy to fill out as possible. You want your customers to view it as an honest attempt to make your product better, not as a last ditch sales pitch or an annoying email asking more from them.
3 — Do listen honestly to their feedback
Once you send out a survey, be receptive to the answers you get. This feedback is essentially an opportunity to get a free and honest overview of your practice. Of course there will always be customers whose reasons for leaving are biased, overly emotional, or irrational. This is not an excuse to not listen to what they have to say. A customer is someone who chose to trust your product and invest in you. What they have to say is important and relevant no matter what.
4 — Do alert the old customer if you made a change based on their feedback
If you got a specific piece of advice from a customer when they left, and that piece of advice sparked a change in your company, send out an update when it’s appropriate and let that customer know that you changed your company for the better because of their feedback and say thank you. Again, this is a great thing to do in order to maintain a good image and make the customer feel heard, it is not an opportunity to try and win them back or sell to them. Make it clear that you appreciate their feedback and that your efforts to improve your company or genuine. Don’t put in any CTA’s or promotional offers.
5 — Do make it easy for them to leave
Whether it’s making sure to take them off of all email lists, or reimbursing them for anything they paid for that they are unsatisfied with, make sure that leaving your company is as painless for your customer as possible. Don’t be like Comcast, a company that is notorious for making customers feel like they are held hostage when they decide to switch providers. If your customer wasn’t already out there spreading bad word of mouth about you before the cancellation process, they certainly will be after you make it hard, expensive, and inconvenient for them to leave.
7 — Do go back and give your current customers a little extra
If anything, losing a customer is a great reminder of how much your current customers mean to your business. Make it a ritual that anytime your churn percentage goes up that you go back to the drawing board and implement one new strategy for making your current customers feel appreciated and loved. You will never regret investing in the customers who have already decided to invest in you.
8 — And get their feedback, too
Lastly, don’t let anymore customers have a chance to slip away. Send out a customer satisfaction survey to your current customers to resolve any concerns before they decide to leave.
Much like breaking up with a person, losing a customer is all about staying classy and respectful, and avoiding looking desperate. You want to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and avoid losing any more customers for the same reason, but you don’t want to bother your old customer with any complicated procedures.