17 Best Ways to Win Back Lost Customers

Best ways to win back lost customers.

17 Best Ways to Win Back Lost Customers

What is your best strategy for winning back lost customers? 

 To help you win back lost customers, we asked CEOs and marketing leaders this question for their best insights. From maintaining sincere and honest customer feedback to showing that you care through personalization, there are several strategies that you can implement to help foster repeat and loyal consumers in your business. Former customers don't have to stay that way. Even if poor service was to blame, you can save lapsed customers with your win-back efforts. 

 Here are 17 strategies these leaders use to win back lost customers:

  • Maintain Sincere and Honest Customer Contact 
  •  Send Personalized Product Updates 
  •  Shore Up the Relationship With Handwritten Notes 
  •  Send Them a Time-sensitive Discount Code 
  •  Improve Abandon Rates With Split-testing & Remarketing 
  •  There is No One-size-fits-all Answer 
  •  Create a “Fixed It” Campaign 
  •  Offer Discounts On Their Favorites 
  •  Figure Out What The Customer Was Missing  
  •  Offer Outstanding Client Service 
  •  Just Ask 
  •  Provide Incentives to Loyal Customers 
  •  Offer Discounts On New Products and Services 
  •  Keep Churned Customers On Email Lists 
  •  Implement An Auto-running Win-back Program 
  •  Create a Post-purchase Campaign  
  •  Target the Right 'Lost' Customers 
  •  Show that You Care Using the Personal Touch

Maintain Sincere and Honest Customer Contact

To get former clients back, I find this method to be the most effective. Your consumer base could be dwindling if the standard ways you communicate come off as uninteresting or impersonal. Possibly this is the cause of their departure. Be sure that your interactions with customers come off as sincere and honest. All of your online interactions, from emails and website copy to responses to social media posts, fall under this category. 

 Make sure you aren't merely sending out blanket messages to everyone on your email list. Instead, make sure your emails aren't coming across as impersonal by customizing them for each individual customer. Surprisingly, 33% of customers feel they didn't receive enough customization from firms, while 74% would rather have personalized interactions than generic ones. Additionally, avoid using boilerplate text on your website. Customers are more likely to return if they feel like they're being addressed by name. 

 Gerrid Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Joy Organics

Send Personalized Product Updates

In my opinion, a negative encounter with a product or service can cause clients to abandon your company. They could have asked for any taste or feature and not gotten a response they were happy with. Your team can compile consumer feedback, complaints, and support tickets, act on those requests if they're financially beneficial, and update those tickets with information about the new and improved features or flavors available to them. 

 Edward Mellett, Co-Founder, Wikijob

Shore Up the Relationship With Handwritten Notes

A lost customer is just a soured relationship, like any other relationship you've experienced. And what do you do when someone important to you is no longer a part of your life? You fix the relationship. Handwritten notes are a powerful tool for relationship building and repair. That's because nothing is more personal than a note that appears to be written by hand with you specifically in mind. 

 The perceived effort adds extra emotional impact to your "we miss you", "we're sorry we messed up", or "what can we do to get you back" communications. And with Simply Noted, the entire handwritten process is automated. You can create complex digital workflows using your CRM and marketing automation software and include handwritten notes as one of the tactics that get generated automatically. It's a potent way to get back in front of previous patrons. 

 Rick Elmore, Founder, Simply Noted

Win back lost customers with handwritten notes.

Send Them a Time-sensitive Discount Code

Offer lost customers an incentive to come back by sending them a time-sensitive coupon code. We’ve all been there — we stop doing business with a brand and eventually forget about them. That is, until we receive a text or email from them with an enticing offer of a discount. Next thing we know, we find ourselves in that business’ virtual shopping cart eager to complete the checkout process. 

 Jae Pak, MD, Jae Pak MD Medical

Improve Abandon Rates With Split-Testing and Remarketing

We worked with a marketing firm to improve our abandoned cart rate using split-testing methods and remarketing campaigns. By split-testing shopping cart pages and email messaging reminders to customers who had abandoned their carts, we improved abandoned cart rates by 4%. 

 Ultimately, we improved our sales and customer retention rates by tweaking our messaging and strategies to meet customer preferences. Each remarketing email segment used personalized messaging and content and focused on reminding consumers of the potential value our products held for them. 

 After optimizing our Abandon strategy and remarketing efforts, we focused on automating those campaigns to perform when we lost potential customers to cart abandonment. With the right timing and messaging, any brand can improve its sales and win back customers having second thoughts about a purchase. 

 Zach Goldstein, CEO & Founder, Public Rec

A quote from Zach Goldstein.

There is No One-Size-Fits-All Answer

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best strategy for winning back lost customers will vary depending on the individual business and customer. However, some tips for winning back lost customers may include reaching out to them directly to apologize for any issues they experienced and to see if there is anything the business can do to make things right, offering a discount or other incentive for them to come back, or simply staying in touch with them and keeping them updated on what is new with the business. 

 Maksym Zakharko, Head Of Digital Ad Operations, ABi Media

Create a “Fixed It” Campaign

Customers leave for specific reasons, so if you want to win them back, you have to address those reasons directly. You can do this by creating a “Fixed It” campaign. This is where you reach out to customers who have left and let them know that you’ve addressed the issue they had. If your competitors are offering a better price, let them know that you’ve lowered your prices. If there was a problem with your product or service, let them know that you’ve fixed the issue, and if the customer service was poor, let them know that you’ve made changes to improve the quality Such a campaign shows customers that you value their feedback and that you’re taking action to improve your business.

 Peter Lucas, Owner, Relocate to Andorra

Offer Discounts On Their Favorites

Offer discounts on previously purchased products. Oftentimes, customers might be more inclined to return to your business when their favorite items are cheaper than when they first bought them. Perhaps the customer’s job situation changed or they made financial cutbacks for other reasons. However, when they repurchase said items at a reduced rate, return clients will often become loyal customers once again! 

 Michael Van, CEO, Furnishr

Discount codes are always a good option. Remember that customers love to save money!

A shopkeeper talking with her customer.

Figure Out What The Customer Was Missing 

We've won back 27% of our customers simply by asking them why they're leaving. Whenever a customer unsubscribes from our service, we email them saying that we're sad to see them go and ask them why they're leaving. Around 56% leave because they aren't fully satisfied with our service, which gives us a chance to ask for feedback on how to improve. 

 Much of the feedback revolves around missing features. Some of those features already exist, but the customers haven't found them yet, in which case we point them in the right direction. Other features don't exist yet, in which case we tell the customer that we'll write it on our todo-list, so it'll be implemented in the future. Using this technique, we manage to retain 27% overall of the people who unsubscribe from our service. 

 Holger Sindbaek, Founder & CEO, Online Solitaire

Offer Outstanding Client Service

To get former clients back, I find this method to be the most effective. Poor customer service is the primary cause of customer churn for many companies. For instance, one survey found that 33 percent of customers who had a negative customer service experience switched brands altogether. Providing outstanding service to consumers is, thus, a key factor in attracting and retaining repeat business. 

 Even if your product or service is superior, clients won't stick around if they aren't receiving stellar support. Customers may return if you make changes to how you respond to their concerns and complaints. This shows customers you're willing to fix problems. In fact, 88% of consumers said companies who give good service will get their business. This could include promptly responding to customer care emails, fixing problems, and expressing gratitude for their patronage. 

 Max Whiteside, SEO & Content Lead, Breaking Muscle

Just Ask

Our best strategy for winning back lost customers is to simply ask! I joined my husband's established photography business during the pandemic and some of my responsibilities include business growth and client management. When researching our past clients, I noticed that some clients that we had repeat business with had stopped. I made a spreadsheet that indicated who the clients were and what their last correspondence with us was like and then reached out to introduce myself. 

 I kept my email brief and friendly and simply asked that if they have any future projects that they reach out directly to me. In some instances, I found out that our contact no longer worked there and I was able to gain a new contact and build a new relationship. If your clientele ghosts you, it may have nothing to do with you and everything to do with turnover. If you don't ask, you'll never know and potentially miss an opportunity.

 Megan Lowdon, Director of Operations, Robert Lowdon Photography

A quote from Megan Lowdon.

Provide Incentives to Loyal Customers

As far as I'm concerned, this is the most effective method for bringing back defunct clients. Returning clients might be won over by rewarding their loyalty. Consumers can be encouraged to return to your store and even bring in new ones by participating in a loyalty program. Your consumer base will grow and you'll get more repeat business as a result. Free or early delivery, early access, discounts, gift cards, and tailored offers are all examples of loyalty program perks. 

 Example: 68% of consumers said they liked shopping with a company that offered them special deals based on their past purchases. Creative incentive programs help you separate from the competition. If your consumers feel appreciated, reward them for their loyalty. In turn, this will increase their enthusiasm for and devotion to your brand. 

 Mark Valderrama, Founder & CEO, Aquarium Store Depot

Offer Discounts On New Products and Services

Many reasons can make a customer never think about doing business with you again. One of them is that they paid a high price for a product or service that they felt wasn't worth it. 

 If you feel that this may be the case or they hinted in any way (such as leaving online reviews), you can inform them of one of your latest offerings. Mention the improvements and what they could gain from the new product or service and give them a discounted price. 

 If they try your new stuff and find it valuable, it'll propel them to start doing more business with you again. And, they may think about revising the not-so-good review they wrote about you into a more positive one! 

 Mike Stuzzi, Founder, Mike Stuzzi

Keep Churned Patrons On Email Lists

My most effective strategy for winning back lost customers is to continue to keep them informed about new content you're publishing and new offerings you have available. Neither businesses or products are static, and there are many reasons why a customer churns. By keeping them informed about what is happening at your business, they can self-select back into your funnel when they either see you offering what they need or when their business needs change and you're still top of mind as a solution to their problem. 

 John Doherty, CEO & Founder, Credo

A woman checking her email.

Implement an Auto-Running Win-back Program

When you use specialized software, the rewards from your win-back program can be automatically distributed to the appropriate clients at the appropriate times, eliminating the need for manual monitoring. There are many platforms, that for instance can continuously check customer data you have available to see if the client qualifies for the reward specified in your win-back program guidelines. The customer is informed through email that the incentive has been applied to their account balance and is available for use if they match the requirements. 

 The likelihood that a user will take a reward improves if it is made quickly available to them. You can also create urgency by including an expiration date. 

 Guy Sharp, Relocation Advisor, Andorra Guides

Create a Post-Purchase Campaign 

There are two primary reasons why a company loses patrons; a lack of proper communication and poor customer service. As such when considering a strategy to win back lost consumers, you have to take both of these factors into account. The best strategy that does exactly that, is a 'post-purchase campaign' targeted at your ex-customer base. This should encompass three primary components to win 'em back. 

 1) A clear message that shows how your company has improved based on customer feedback

 2) How your company's offerings can add greater value compared to the competition. 

 3) Incentives targeted just for your ex-consumer base, discounts, special offers, coupons etc.

 Alan Carr, Director, Webpop Design

Target the Right 'Lost' Customers

Data is your best friend in this situation to regain a lost consumer if your product is a digital product. For instance, let's compare two situations. One is someone who only used your product a few times, the other is a customer who actively used your product for a period of time and then suddenly stopped using it. Which type of 'lost' customer would be better to approach? You would target the second type of customer as they were actively invested in your product as some point. The next step would be to reach out to that customer in a personalized manner and find out what caused them post-purchase cognitive dissonance. 

 Make assurances that you'll do every effort to solve that problem and then offer a discount or a free trial period for the consumer to try your product again. Be sure to personalize any follow-up efforts and make inquiries as to whether previous issues have now been resolved. 

 Simon Bacher, CEO, Co-founder, Ling App 

 If your customer's prior behavior suggests that they might be amenable to re-engaging with your brand, bump them to the top of the list. It doesn't matter if it's a small business or a massive organization, like a telecom company or some other large corporate interest. Your value proposition will appeal to those that already demonstrated they want what you're offering. 

A quote from Simon Bacher.

Show that You Care Using the Personal Touch

When trying to win back lost customers, it's important to take a holistic approach that considers the various touchpoints that customers have with your brand. First and foremost, it's important to stay top-of-mind for lost customers. Retargeting ads and personalized emails can help to keep your brand front and center. 

 Additionally, phone calls and direct mail can also be effective in reaching out to lost clients and sparking their interest. However, the most important thing is to offer a compelling reason for them to come back - whether it's a discount, exclusive offer, or simply outstanding customer service. By taking a multi-pronged approach and focusing on the customer experience, you can increase your chances of winning back lost customers. 

 Barri Coen, Growth Marketing Consultant, Rise - The Growth Marketing Collective 

 At any point in the customer lifecycle things can go wrong. But if you follow along with their customer journey, keeping your customers engaged and implementing a win-back strategy that follows the recommendations above, you can win customers back from the bring and past customers can go back to being current customers. Also, check out these 13 brands that make effective use of personalization marketing.