You lost a customer. You've probably lost lots of customers. You don't want to think about them. It's painful. In fact, you're reading this and have already had a few instant thoughts about this one or that one.
Makes you mad, doesn't it?
They're dead and buried in that great customer graveyard in the sky. A graveyard full of unfulfilled promises, screwed up deliveries, missed deadlines, wrong billing, crappy service... want me to keep going?
Two more thoughts: lost revenues and lost profits. More?
One more thought: lost commissions. That one hurts.
Especially the ones "you were counting on." The ones you "already spent."
Makes you madder, doesn't it?
Well I have great news. Keep thinking about them.
They're gone, but not forgotten. Dead, but not buried. I challenge you to re–connect with them as soon as possible. They have money waiting for you.
TRUE STORY: A newly hired sales regional manager for a fortune 100 company noticed two file drawers marked Code 99. When she inquired as to the meaning, a rep told her, "Those are the customers who hate our guts. They have sued us, left our machines on the curb, bad mouthed us, and said they never wanted to see us again." She emptied the drawers, and divided the files among the sales team with the directive to visit each customer, meet with the decision maker and find out what happened. That's all. No sales pitch.
RESULT: The results were staggering. More sales–per–lead than any program they had run in the past five years. Many of the old (angry) people were not there any more, making the initial conversation much less painful, and the bad memories dim or lost. From there they discovered that there were opportunities. Sales opportunities. And the customers appreciated the straight–forward courage.
NOTE WELL: All customers are not lost from screw–ups. Often someone came in and stole them. Either by lower price, or just by a better salesperson.
NOTE REAL WELL: I am NOT recommending that you go in with price concessions. Bad precedent for a new beginning. Bring something to the table besides "low price" and you'll walk away with profit. There's a thought.
Want a customer–zombie approach process that will wake up the dead?
Here's the plan:
- Start now. It takes courage, it takes planning, it's a grim dose of reality, but let me assure you, it works. Get out the files and make a list of EVERY ONE OF THEM.
- Adopt a fun approach: Have a lost and found (customer) day. Have a lost and still fond of (customer) day. Have a lost customer appreciation day. Have a we screwed up day. IDEA: Send a dart board with your company logo in the center and a few darts and ask them to "get it out of their system" and to please let you back in their office on the condition that they keep the darts in the drawer while you're there. Fun. Uncomfortable with fun? OK, OK...
- Adopt a professional approach: Send a letter with a peace offering. Send a card. Whether you use a fun or professional approach, you must also do the following:
- The game plan: Arrange a meeting to find out why. Find out what happened as a result of your screw up, lack of attention, or lost order. Ask for another chance with conditions that you both set and agree to (sometimes in writing).
- Golden Lessons: Document the "whys" and you will be amazed to find that every reason is fixable. In fact, some have already been fixed. If corrected properly, these are the most valuable resources you have for making your business better.
- Pay for victories: Offer ultra rewards to salespeople, ransoms and bounties. Pay double commission or some kind of bonus for a resurrected customer.
The Goal: You will win sales, profits, and a new understanding of how to improve your business from a customer's perspective – the only one that matters.
The Bonus: Good will lost, and recovered. If you win the customer back, you will have re-created a story, eliminated the bad one, and replaced it with new-found testimony. Huge value.
You know the old saying "every obstacle presents an opportunity." Well, some salespeople may see this idea as "uncomfortable" or too much of an obstacle. But I promise if you can get beyond the reluctance or skepticism, you will win.
You get to steal back the business and learn the "why you lost them" lessons.
You get answers and sales.
You get a win while the competition gets a loss.
You regain lost pride while they get a shot in the wallet.
You get a commission while they get jack squat. What could be better?
If you want the 14.5 step personal touch method of recovery when you get a complaint, just go to www.gitomer.com – register if you're a first time user, and enter the words PERSONAL TOUCH in the GitBit box.