There are a number of reasons why a regular customer stops visiting your small business, or visits only once and never comes back. It could be a bad customer service experience, inconsistent quality of food, products, or services, unmet expectations or needs, or they unfortunately switched to a competitor.
We don’t like to think about these things, but they happen, and Fivestars is here to help turn that around. In fact, if you are part of the Fivestars local business network, you have a tool in your Fivestars dashboard that lets you communicate with this specific group of lost or “at risk” customers.
What are “At Risk” Customers?
Before we jump in, let’s clarify: “At risk” customers are customers who may have been somewhat regular customers before, but haven’t returned in 2-6 months, maybe even a year or more. Base the time frame on what type of small business you run.
A coffee shop may consider an “at risk” customer as one who hasn’t visited in 1-2 months, while an auto detailing shop or high end handbag boutique may consider some one “at risk” if they don’t visit in 6-24 months. And obviously, a lost customer is someone who visited a few times, or only once, and never came back after the at-risk range. Fivestars lets you set this “at risk” range in your dashboard. Now, to get the “at risk” customers back, you need a well crafted message.
3 Ways to Get “At Risk” or Lost Customers Back
1. A friendly email with a great incentive to get back in the door.
Email marketing is a great way to re-connect with customers, and it’s cost effective as well. We wrote an in-depth eBook about it not too long ago. But to win back lost customers with email, you want to make sure you give them a good reason to come back, so you will need to make your subject line catchy, and make your incentive within the email worth their while. This email has to make them want to give your small business another shot. Make your email personal and genuine, and add a picture or two.
Here is a real example of a message that J2Games Video Game Trader sent to their “at risk” customers.
2. A text message with a time sensitive incentive.
Text messages should be treated with care. You only have 140 characters to get a message across, text messages are easily read and forgotten about, and on top of that, if you are messaging lost customers, they are more likely to opt out if your message isn’t something good.
Here are a couple of examples to try out:
- We miss you. Come in today with this text for a free appetizer with your meal. Pinkie’s Diner on Folsom.
- We haven’t seen you in a while. Visit today with this text and get a coffee on the house. Sandy’s Cafe, 123 Main St.
- We’d love to see you again! Come in today with this text and get any of our summer dresses for 50% off. Posh, 456 7th St.
Also, make sure your employees know about this time sensitive deal for your lost and “at risk” customers, so they know to treat them with above and beyond customer service. If possible, ask the customer how you can improve to get them to visit you more often. Which brings us to our next example…
3. An email offering an in-store incentive for feedback.
Like we said earlier, some customers may have stopped visiting your store because of a bad experience. Offer a free item or discount in return for their feedback on how you could do better. Use the classic one question NPS survey, “Would you recommend our business to a friend?” or go more in depth with a survey with a couple different answers to choose from. Make it easy for them to respond or reply back to you as well. If you want to be more personal, include your business email for them to contact you directly so you can improve in the future.