Recently I switched banks for all of my business needs. It was simply due to convenience and how easy my new bank made it for me to bank with them. Their mobile app made it easy to say “yes, I want to do business with you!” I can not tell you how hard my current bank made it for me to leave them.
I won’t belabor the details, but suffice it to say, that if I had considered leaving the door open to do business again with my former bank, they slammed the door, nailed it shut and propped an antique 4,000lb dresser up against it. So I started pondering how my customers and potential customers (I forgive you for not calling yet) deal with lost customers. What is your process? Do you have one? You should, or you leave it up to chance and your current “policies” and employees to decide the potential for getting that business back right now, if not in the future.
Your policy should include (but not be limited to):
- Making it easy to break up. Don’t put road blocks, require signatures (unless legally obligated to do so,) or impose penalties not clearly spelled out when you obtained their business. Also, consider giving up penalties if the customer’s situation warrants it.
- Make sure there is contact from someone with authority. Your front-line employees should be apologetic and have the authority to try to save the account, every account. But there should be a follow-up from someone that guides strategy to get the story directly from the source. (Recently, I cancelled an order from a vendor due to disrespect from the sales rep and lack of concern for my business or getting the order completed. I felt compelled to write the President of that company to let them know they have an employee initiating his own customer punishment plan, and didn’t even hear back…wow.)
- Is there a formal gift certificate/coupon/letter that comes from someone “higher up” expressing concern over losing their business and offering a deep discount to “give us another shot…we’re better than this and we know it?”
- Do you keep track of business you’re losing, who’s losing it, and why? You may find you have employees or policies that need re-working before you move forward.
I encourage you to consider this deeply and get your leadership/strategy group together today to ask these questions and more to ensure you’re doing all you can to make breaking up easy to do, and a plan to say, “Ok we understand, but we’d like another shot someday, if you feel up to it.”
Don’t be the boyfriend that can’t let go, it’s just not sexy or confident and makes you seem weak and pathetic. In the words of one of the famous Despair Inc. posters I have always remembered, “It’s over man, let her go.”