How to Win Back Lost Customers?

How to Prevent Churn and Drive Customer Growth?

Five (5) ways for Customer Success Managers to keep and grow their customers.

According to the study Why Return: Using Behavioural Research to Win Back Lost Customers, 80% of companies reported that winning customers back is as challenging- if not more difficult- as acquiring new customers. This shows that the role of a Customer Success Manager to retain customers and prevent the worst-case scenario- losing customers, is an essential part of the company to continue growing. 

However, there are times that we weren’t able to mitigate the issue that drove the customers away, and now, we’re left asking: how can we win the customers back? 

To understand how we can bring the customers back to availing our products and services, it is necessary to understand why they even left in the first place. Customers leave for three primary reasons: 

1. Pushed away; wherein the customer and the company weren’t able to foster a good relationship. It’s also possible that your company failed to provide what they needed or there was a service failure that you failed to resolve ultimately leading to loyalty loss.  

But let’s say you were able to help them achieve their goals, as the customers continue to achieve their goals with you, their needs gradually change. Once you fail to fulfill the customers’ growing needs, this can also drive them on choosing another provider and leaving you. 

You can learn more about Change Management on our Certified Customer Success Management Basic Practitioner Course here: (link to CCSMBP) 

2. Pulled away; your company may be able to achieve the customers’ expectations and growing needs. You are also providing the best support and even proactively meet the client to identify room for improvements. However, it is important to keep in mind that satisfied customers are always on the lookout for something better. Once these customers were able to find a better option somewhere else or found a better relationship with the competitors’ sales representatives, they may choose to trust the other provider. 

3. Priced away; herein, the customers have found a provider of products or services that offers them exactly or more than what they needed. As customers are naturally drawn to something more affordable that provides them with their expected value, it is not a surprise that they will leave a company to choose what they think offers them something better at a cheaper price. 

Customers that are pushed and priced away had better chances than those who have pulled away where a customer established a good relationship with another provider, according to the study Why Return: Using Behavioural Research to Win Back Lost Customers. This shows how important fostering a healthy and right relationship between clients and the company’s representatives is in retaining customers. Depending on the reason why customers chose to leave, the response to effectively bring them back also varies. 

Before we proceed to answer how we can win back lost customers, please note that bringing back customers isn’t part of the main responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager. Nevertheless, understanding what drives customers to leave and the ways to bring them back can help you in formulating strategies that keep the customers from leaving. Now that we addressed that, let’s continue and talk about the three ways to bring back lost customers. 

1. Communicate Change 

The reason customers chose to leave your company is due to a mistake or unmet needs. Hence, to win back pushed away customers, it is necessary to have a conversation with them discussing of “what changed” since they left. Always, move forward and show to the customers that you and your company, despite making mistakes, are moving towards the problem’s resolution. Customers aren’t motivated by an apology, they are driven to act by the company’s and the representatives’ accountability to solving the identified issue.  

2. Highlight hidden costs 

When customers leave your company for another provider, it is essential to remember that people naturally view change as risky. If these risks outweigh the benefits, they will resist taking action. Hence, letting customers understand “why change” back to you is essential. Win the customers back by showing actual data on the new and previously unconsidered risks and cost related to their decision to change vendors. Help the customers realize that the “grass isn’t greener” on the competitor’s side. 

3. Show them how you’ve changed 

You have successfully talked with them and let them realize that you understand the problem, solved them, and minimized the risks compared to when they are on the competitor’s side. Now, you have an opportunity to show that you are not all talk, that you truly have changed. 

Let the customers realize with each interaction that you value their feedback and are taking measures to resolve and prevent it from happening again in the future. If possible, when the customers start showing “red flags” in their health scores, quickly handle the service-failure which could even improve your previous relationship (it’s called the “service recovery paradox” wherein, a customer thinks highly of your company when you were able to resolve an issue). 

To sum it up, 

With all the reasons customers had to leave, still giving up and thinking that there’s no opportunity for you and your company to win back these customers is entirely wrong. It’s important to understand the Status Quo Bias, where customers prefer what they’ve already been using- something that they are already comfortable with and built expertise. Since lost customers have once worked with you, it’s not wrong to think that they may still have an affinity with your company and your products or services. Hence, one way to bring them back is to let them realize the cost and risks they are having by choosing another company than yours. Remember that previous customers can still be willing to work with you as long as you persuade them to. 

What’s next? 

Now that you have identified the reasons why customers leave and how to win back, a good next step is to handle change effectively, use it as an opportunity, and retain customers. Check out our certification programs for Individuals or Organizations to learn more. 

Click here to read the study Why Return: Using Behavioural Research to Win Back Lost Customers.