Rebuilding trust with lost customers is a delicate process that takes time.
These are customers that enjoyed shopping at your store at one point and then stopped. Now you’re left wondering if it was a bad experience, lack of product, local competitor, or other factor that drove them away.
Fortunately, not all hope is lost. Many of these relationships can be re-built with the right attention, communication, timing, and care.
Here’s how to get started:
Find out why and how they became lost customers
Before you put any kind of plan into action, you need to find out why they no longer shop at your store. Were their needs not met (sizes, styles, price ranges, etc.)? Do they prefer to online shop instead? Did they have a bad experience at your store? Did they move? These are all situations that can lead to lost customers – your job is to figure out why yours choose to either no longer shop at your store or shop much less frequently than they used to. Additionally, these customers are lost for the moment as no customer is a lost cause.
For example, you may not have stocked a particular brand or size they were looking for when they were last in your store, but now you do. If you’ve received their permission to email or call, why not reach out and share the exciting news?
If you’re losing customers to online retailers, you may want to consider upgrading your online presence. A functional website with your business’s contact info and product info with a professional design that’s on-brand for your business is the bare minimum in this day and age. Selling online puts you on the map, virtually speaking, but it will take time for you to build a loyal online customer base, email list, and SEO-related traffic before you’re popping up in the same search results as other big retailers.
Additionally, take some time to do an audit of your website. Is it easy to navigate and shop? Are your terms and conditions outlined clearly and easy to find? What webpages are people looking at when they get to your website? How much traffic are you getting each month? The first two questions will require you to be a customer for a moment while the last two can typically be found through Google Analytics.
Send and connect
Now that you’ve determined why your customers left, it’s time to make a plan for getting them back into your store. For customers on your email list, you’ll want to segment your list and create personalized emails for each segment. One segment could include customers that haven’t shopped in six months or more, another could include customers who stopped shopping completely. You’ll want to really dive into your email list and figure out the best way to reach each segment. You know your customers best and what resonates with them.
For customers who got a bra fitting at your store and haven’t been back in six months, how about an email that checks up on them and the current state of their bras and asks if they’d like to reschedule another in-store appointment? (If you don’t have one in place already, it’s a good idea to have a chain of automated emails that are sent out pre-fitting, post-fitting, post-purchase, etc.)
Don’t wait until the holiday season to segment your list and start reaching out. Now is the time to connect and re-build those relationships so you’re at the top of their mind when the holidays roll around.
Stay honest, authentic, and follow through
Depending on their reason for not shopping at your store, lost customers can be delicate. You don’t want to push them too hard, instead, you want to give them the space to come back to your store where they will be treated with kindness, attention, and care. No matter where your customers fall in the buyer’s journey, it’s important to stay honest, authentic, and follow-through on your promises. If there was an error on your part or one of your employee’s parts, recognize and address the error with honesty and integrity. Seek to repair the customer relationship instead of trying to replace it with another. With trust and time, your lost customers can become your best customers and biggest brand advocates.
What is your experience with lost customers? What works for you in re-building customer relationships? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.