There are two types of non-customers. First, there is someone who was a customer at one time, but they ceased doing business with you. Second, there is someone who has never been your customer.
Previously, I said that when you lose a customer (and we all do), you should send them your thank you for their business and tell them how sorry you are that you will not have the pleasure of serving them in the future. If you do not know why they have ended their relationship with you, ask them if there was something that you did that resulted in their decision to stop doing business with you. Also ask if there was something that you did not do that you should have done. Sometimes someone ceases doing business with you for no reason that you can rectify. You literally did nothing wrong; the situation just changed. You should always attempt to discover why you lose a customer’s business. Even if you did not do anything wrong or there was not anything else that you could have done to please them, you still need to know.
If you did something wrong, fix it, tell the former customer how sorry that you are, and assure them that the problem is fixed. If you omitted doing something that you should have done, assure them that the situation is now changed for the better. Then, thank them for their business and indicate that you plan to contact them in the future for a possible resurrection of their business. In both of these cases, contact the former customer in the future and ask them to reconsider their relationship with you.
Let us say that the former customer refuses to tell you why they cancelled their relationship with you. Again, thank them for their business and reassure them that you still would like to know what the problem was so that you can attempt to address it. If they do not let you know, move on to future follow up.
In either situation, don’t fail to include both these former customers in your future “appreciation” networking efforts. Keep sending them greetings on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions. Keep referring business to these former customers, just like you did prior to their first order with you. Do not fail to have faith in this theory of networking; it shows that you are interested in relationships that last, no matter what the basis. It is not that we make mistakes, or not (everyone does sometimes), that defines us; it is how we deal with our mistakes that lets others know what type of business people we are.
Finally, what about those non-customers who have never ordered from you? They are prospects, and we will discuss them next time. Just remember that all types of non-customers are possible sources of referrals, assuming that they consider you professional, passionate about your business, and personable in your dealing with others, even the ones who ceased being your direct customers. You do want referrals from all of them don’t you?
Appreciation Marketing is an important aspect to your business dealings. While it may not always save a customer, it will help you retain most of them. Use it to restore a relationship with those that you do lose.
Again, if you have questions or comments, please email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691, so we can discuss them. I will honor your information as I honor all my networking partners’ comments and questions. As always, thank you for your interest and input.