When we bring up the idea to leaders that they should call lost or lapsed customers, it is often met with fear and worry.
- Worry that they’ll get really irate customers on the other end of the line.
- Fear that they won’t be able to field the call.
Actually the opposite often occurs. When customers or clients are called and the leader introduces who they are and why they called, people are thunderstruck. One of the most powerful emotions for a customer is to have someone notice that you’ve left the room or stopped returning as often as you once had.
The purpose of these calls is first and foremost to put the voice of the customer into the ear of the executive. To have them hear both the life and the voice. And it’s to listen and understand the “why.”
Leaders get that, but there are still some concerns about how these calls will go. So, pair up leaders with someone in the organization who can tag-team with to take care of the logistics of the calls and to follow-up on action items or next steps. This frees up the leader to personally engage and really listen.
It’s important that leaders do not consider this a sales call. While winning back the customer can be an outcome, this call is to listen, learn, and display empathy and care.
1. Initiate the conversation.
Acknowledge that you know he/she has stopped (or lapsed) interacting with your company, and that you are sorry.
Ask, “What happened?”
Listen and understand.
2. Probe for more details.
Ask, “Would you be willing to tell me more about your experience?”
Repeat back what you heard. Clarify specifics, if possible.
Display care and empathy.
3. Earn the right to help.
Ask, “Would you accept help to resolve any issue?”
Have a variety of personalized options that you can extend.
4. Close the conversation.
Repeat how sorry you are, and thank the customer.
If follow through is promised, reiterate the next steps.
End with humility.