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How Losing a Customer Can Help
You in the Long Run
What do the following activities have in common: Golfing, fishing,
vacationing, and contacting lost or unhappy customers. Give-up? They're all
ideal ways to spend your free time.
Typically, dealing with an unsatisfied customer isn't the most pleasant
thing to do during your off-hours, however, in a business where referrals can
make or break your business, an unhappy customer can do a lot of damage.
Contacting an ex-customer can help you determine if the problem is widespread
and affecting others customers. If so, you can ask them for ways to help you fix
whatever is broken within your organization. Here are four things to keep in
mind when contacting lost customers.
- Before you do anything, ask yourself some simple questions. Do you want
the customer back? How profitable was the customer? Did the customer conform
to your company's ideal customer profile? What percentage of your total
business did this customer represent and what percentage of your time was
required to service their business? If you come back with positive answers
to these questions, it indicates that this customer is worth pursuing. But
if you're having a hard time convincing yourself that the customer was
worth the hassle – then think twice before losing sleep over the
- Schedule a meeting. Once you've made the decision to try and bring a
customer back, you'll want to schedule a meeting to discuss the future of
the account. It's necessary to remember that convincing your customer to
reverse their decision is not your ultimate goal for the meeting. Instead,
you should view it as a fact-finding mission. Why did they leave – price?
Quality? Was it something that can easily be corrected? The most important
thing you can take away from this Q&A is finding out the likelihood of
your other customers experiencing the same problem.
- Even if you decide it's best for both you and the customer to part ways,
it's imperative to still schedule a follow-up meeting. This will help you
bring closure to the account and part on more professional terms. You don't
want your former customers giving negative reviews to potential customers.
- Stay in touch Some salespeople call the staying-in-touch approach “drip
irrigation.” Stay close, but not so close that the customer feels
pressured. You want the customer to feel missed (by continuing to include
them on your direct mail campaigns, special promotions and friendly “thinking
of you” letters), but avoid a full court press. You can do this by being
patient, dropping the customer short notes from time to time, or even by
doing unexpected small favors for the customer.
- Always be honest. It's also vital to remember that as a contractor, you
shouldn't just limit yourself to thinking only about the logistics of your
business. While it's important to explain tangibles such as “price per
gallon”, remember the intangibles of the job or the “human-interest”
aspects of the job. Explain your charges might be more expensive than those
of the competitor's. For example, if you're using a high-quality product
like Flood's Tropitech Spa-N-Deck® Exterior Wood Finish, the price per
gallon will be slightly higher, but the customer saves money on labor.
Spa-N-Deck is a 100 percent acrylic premium quality wood coating that can be
used to finish a deck in one day – saving you labor and giving your
customer a beautiful deck in just half the time of most competitor's.
Ultimately, being honest and upfront with your customer is the best policy.
Losing a customer can be a devastating blow to any organization, but don't
exert all of your energy toward reselling a lost customer. Sometimes it's
better to move on. “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more
intelligently,” said Henry Ford – a man who failed and went broke five times
before finally succeeding.
This article provided courtesy of THE FLOOD
COMPANY, serving the painting
industry for over 150 years.
They are manufacturers of high
quality wood finishing products, preservatives, paint additives and
For more information on their products and
informative articles, visit
their website at http://www.flood.com.
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