A woman named Gwen recently sent me an email with the subject line “Give me another chance.”

The plea caught my eye so I opened the email which was an appeal to renew a magazine subscription I’d let lapse. The email described new features in the magazine, reminded me of why I might benefit from a subscription and offered a former-subscriber discount:

“Subscribe today and, as a former subscriber, you will receive up to 15% off of the standard yearly rate,” the email said.

This is a great example of how businesses can use email to market to former customers. Reacquiring lost customers usually costs less than attracting and converting new ones. If you don’t have strategies and tactics to reacquire lost customers you are probably missing a great opportunity to improve your bottom line.

Customers leave us for countless reasons. In many cases it has nothing to do with dissatisfaction. I liked the magazine I let lapse. I simply forgot to renew the subscription. When reminded what I was missing, I gladly renewed. It was an easy sale for Gwen.

Some customers leave us for budgetary reasons. Offering discounts and other incentives might bring back such a customer. And since the cost of sales is usually lower to reacquire the lost customer, you still profit — even with the discounted price.

Of course, some customers leave you because they are dissatisfied with your products and services. In such cases, you can reacquire them if you promote areas of improvement. Gwen told me about new features in the magazine — just in case I was not satisfied with the magazine’s previous content.

You can do the same when you contact lost customers. Of course, it helps to know the factors that drove customers to leave. When we lose a customer, we always request feedback. Why did you leave? What could we have done better? If we improve in the areas you cited, would you consider doing business with us again.

We record this information and contact lost customers as we address their concerns.

We lost a customer a few years ago because our email marketing system did not integrate with his customer relationship management (CRM) software. Last year, we built the integration he desired. We sent him a “give-us-another-chance” email in which we described the integration. He returned to us one month later.

Here are a few tips for maximizing reacquisitions:

  1. Always ask for feedback when a customer leaves you.
  2. Treat lost customers like prospects. Track them in your CRM, and develop a plan to contact them.
  3. Make sure lost customers are on your email list and following you on social media. Remind them that you will continue to send informative content that they can use even if they are not our customer.
  4. Contact them directly with a “come back” appeal if and when you address those concerns.

Customer reacquisitions will not constitute the bulk of your revenue, but if you focus on bringing back lost customers, you can boost your bottom line significantly.


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