4 Steps to Win Back Customers When Your Company Has Blown It

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Johnny Russo,  Director of Ecommerce & Diital Marketing at Bentley Leathers on winning back customers
Johnny Russo, Director of Ecommerce & Diital Marketing at Bentley Leathers

Imagine walking into a new job, leading the e-commerce operation of a retailer that hasn’t been doing a great job with its online customers, right before Christmas. Yikes!

That’s the situation Johnny Russo found himself in last Christmas. Johnny Russo is the Director, Ecommerce & Digital Marketing at Bentley Leathers and he started his job at the peak of the Christmas shopping frenzy.

We chatted a few weeks later about how he stayed calm and set to work in order to handle the situation.

1. Diagnose the Problem

Looking into the data, Johnny realized that response times to customer requests had been bad; slow and erratic. Job One had to be figuring out a way to win them back.

So how do you do that? As Johnny put it, everyone would love 50% off, but you can’t give away so much that you bankrupt your company. So what else can you do?

To start with, reach out to those who were not treated right. Even just acknowledging that you are aware of the problem will get them listening. In Johnny’s case, because he was new in the role, that gave him a great opportunity for a fresh start.

2. Personalize the Compensation Offer

Then make special offers, tailored to the customer if possible. High value customers will typically get a higher compensation offer than those who had only bought once.

Although the offer has to be significant enough to show that you are sincerely sorry for what happened in the past, personalizing the communication is the most important part. If the numbers are manageable, hand-written notes will signal sincerity.

3. Track Results

Johnny didn’t mention this in our interview, but, as with any marketing campaign, track the results so you will know which offers and approaches are the most successful. This is especially important if you have a lot of customers to win back. Start with a subset, and see what they respond to best. It might be a less expensive offer with a hand-written note.

4. Develop Processes

Make sure you don’t get into the same mess again by documenting all your desired processes. What is the way customer interactions should be handled? What process do we need to set up internally to make sure that is always the way it is done? What staffing do we need to make that happen? Are there ways we can make the system foolproof, with automated checks?

This is a version of an article that first appeared on the Frank Reactions website. To hear the interview with Johnny Russo or download a transcript of it, visit http://frankreactions.com/19 or find the Frank Reactions podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

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