Even good companies lose accounts now and then. What sets apart the best companies is knowing how to get those customers back.
Here are three ways to do that, adapted from the book Clients Forever, by Doug Carter.
1. Ask the customer. No one is in a better position to explain why they left than departing customers. Sometimes the answer is something you can control — like service — and other times it’s not. Finding out this information will determine how you should approach the situation.
2. Review the account history. Check the account records carefully. Maybe there was a change in shipping method or a product was produced in a different manner. Perhaps there was a change in your customer’s decision makers. Try to determine what needs to change to fix the problem.
3. Check with other contacts at your former customer. See if you can get information from other departments to find out more about why the account was lost. Maybe you’ll learn the account was lost by decisions made by others in the company. You can’t win the accounts back until you’re able to identify the decisions.
Note: At the least, let a loss be a learning experience. Make sure the problems that cost you this customer don’t spread to other accounts, too.