"I won't complain. I just won't come back." — Brown & Williamson Tobacco Ad
Today's consumers are smart. Not only will they desert a brand, but they will also voice their grievances to friends, relatives and acquaintances, costing more patrons than a brand will ever know. Whether it's due to failed customer service or simply a case of "normal is boring," when customers leave a brand, it is worth every penny to try and win them back. Here are five strategies for doing just that:
1. Do a Reality Check: Have They Really Deserted?
Before embarking on a strategy to entice customers back, stop and ask: Have they really said goodbye? Or are they simply lying dormant in between purchases? Loyal customers in a "no-shopping" phase require very different reactivation strategies, while win-back campaigns should reach only customers who have truly abandoned the brand.
A robust CRM process that studies customer purchase histories can help to distinguish between dormant customers and brand walkouts.
2. Get Up-Close and Personal
Bulk email or text campaigns will be wasted on brand walkouts. They leave for a reason and winning their hearts (and wallets) back requires extra effort in creating opportunities that are both personalized and highly relevant to individual—often opinionated—shoppers. Good strategies include custom product recommendations or exclusive new product previews based on prior purchase choices and indicated preferences.
Leverage geographic, demographic and historic purchase behavioral data to provide lost customers with relevant and timely information on new product launches, discount offers and seasonal sales.
3. Look Beyond Cookie-Cutter Marketing
Consumers do not come shop for products alone. It is the total shopping experience coupled with love for your brand that makes or breaks sales. More importantly, customers' moods change with each passing day and shopping trip. Reach out with innovative multichannel communications and programs that will get you noticed. Whether you send email, texts or snail mail; tag customers in posts on Facebook or have call center associates contact them personally—the goal is to stay on customers' radar screens without driving them crazy.