5 strategies to win back small business clients

March 21, 2014

Entrepreneur and Internet business strategist Chris Curtis, shares tips on getting back into the good graces of former clients.

I’ve helped many small business owners and entrepreneurs make a profitable impact online through my business. Through my work, I’ve learned that growing a business isn't easy and sometimes we make mistakes that can drive customers away. While "To err is human," to win them back is divine! Here are a few strategies that I’ve learned to help you win your customers back and keep then interested in doing business with you:

1. Acknowledge that there is, or was, a problem...and FIX IT!

Admitting a mistake in your small business process and then fixing it, shows that you care about your customers. People who do business with you want to know that their satisfaction is important to you. In fixing the problem, you also gain an excellent opportunity to send an email blast to your mailing list (or press release) and create a draw to the information that addresses the issue.

. Ask Customers Their Opinions.

Even if you already have ideas, asking your customer's opinions helps to build rapport and demonstrate your concern for the customer's needs. After receiving customer input, put your ideas into motion. Customers will feel inclusive in your decision-making process and you'll win their business!

3. Create an unbeatable offer.

Not many people can resist an unbeatable offer. By dropping prices for a day, giving away something free or creating some other promotion that has value to your customers, you can recapture their attention and hopefully reclaim your relationship. Exclusive discounts give customers that warm and fuzzy feeling.

4. Go "One-to-One".

Customer relationship repair is a process and each individual may have their own reasons for leaving you. By initiating a one-to-one communication strategy (i.e., calling the customer, writing a letter or inviting them to join a focus group) you open the floor for a level of discussion that might not happen otherwise. Inclusion is key!

5. A simple "Thank You" still works.

In doing business, it's important to say "Thank You for Your Business." Some crafty business owners choose pens, calendars, t-shirts and other creative memoirs that spark a customer to reconnect with you. Even the sorest of customers will soften their hearts when you reach out to them and thank them for their business. In employing these strategies, there are a few rules to follow to ensure that you get the maximum gain from your efforts. First, don't apologize and sell at the same time. Apologize first, sell later. You have to give people a chance to warm up to the relationship again before you start pushing your products or services. Secondly, don't belittle or ignore your customer feedback. Negative feedback should be welcomed and not disregarded. Without the customer complaints, you wouldn't know what areas need improvement - or how to fix them. Next, don't stress yourself about the numbers. Progress can sometimes be slow when reviving a relationship. Focus on the task at hand and give yourself enough time to see results before you take another avenue. Quality, not quantity, is important. And finally, don't skimp on the value. If you know that a problem has three or four areas that need improvement, don't address two and think that people will come running. Your customers will see through your supposed efforts and you'll alienate them even further. Positive results are on the way when these tactics are employed with the expectation that the magic doesn't happen overnight. Be consistent with your efforts and people will be attracted to your dedication to customer engagement and delivering a great product or service.

Chris Curtis is an Internet Business Strategist and Web Marketing Consultant with over 17 years experience in working with Internet projects for small business owners and entrepreneurs. A business and technology radio personality, Chris has been featured in Black Enterprise and quoted in articles at Forbes, MSN Money, and on web sites around the globe. Follow Chris on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/WebBusiness