Small Business Advice: Reach Out to Former Customers

by Dawn Fotopulos on June 14, 2012

Small Business Advice

Pretty basic, right? You’d be surprised at how FEW small business owners actually do this. Case in point.

My hair color is enhanced by the genius of a gal who’s been giving me sun-kissed hair for years.

But I’ve been traveling quite a bit and the few times I needed to squeeze into her schedule, there were no accommodations.

So I left. She lost a multi-thousand dollar revenue stream when I did. (Great hair doesn’t come cheap in the big-bad-Apple.) Here’s what she could have done to save me as a client. It’s been two years since I’ve seen her. After having one hair nightmare after another and finally settling back in town, I made an appointment.

It was like a reunion. My hair now looks great, but I really left with some questions.

Why didn’t anyone ever call me to ask if everything was alright? Truth is, I left because I didn’t have the support as my life was picking up speed.

I needed the salon to be there for me when I had a shoot or an event and they weren’t available.  Knowing that would have been very important information for them to know.

Based on my feedback, they could have done something to make amends. Had they done this, I probably would have made an appointment a lot sooner. They would have made more revenues in the process.

Here are three bits of no-cost small business advice to get you off the mark:

Small Business Tip #1-Reach out to former customers. Make sure you understand why they left you. It’s RARELY just because of price. Get to the bottom of it, even if it hurts your feelings. You can only address a problem if you know the truth.

Small Business Tip #2-Do you have a new product or service to offer? Have you hired a crackerjack IT person who your current clients can’t do without? Call your old clients to ask them why they left but also to inform them of all the great changes.

Small Business Tip #3-A week later, write a thank you note to appreciate the former client’s time. Capture their feedback so they know you heard them. It’s the most flattering thing anyone can do for another human being. Demonstrate that you truly listened to them.

Small Business Tip #4- Follow up. Remind them that you’ll be checking in periodically to see if you can help them become more successful. Hand write it. Send it snail mail, not email. When your letter arrives, it will be in with the bills and stand out like a welcomed friend.

Not all the old clients will come back, but those who do will be golden.


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