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How to Keep Customers Forever

Posted by Jeff Clement on 11/16/15 10:29 AM

happy customers

 “Cancel my order!”

Three little words. How you respond can make or break your business.

On one hand, fighting your customers can put them on the fast track to calling their credit card company or leaving scathing comments online. On the other hand, giving up on your customers immediately isn’t good for your bottom line or actually… your brand.

In direct response advertising, you speak to a prospect’s pressing problem. You present your product or service as the solution. If that customer has a great experience, it can change their life. They can become your customer evangelists that tell your story to everyone they know.

When a customer calls or goes online to cancel, that’s usually a clear sign that you have yet to solve their problem. For some, nothing you can say or do will ever change their mind. However, for far more customers than you may think, you may find that a few choice words is all it takes to get that person back on track to becoming a compelling success story.

If you throw in the towel without making an effort, they’ll see you as just another company trying to make as much money as possible before people call it quits. By folding, you’re giving your customers what they ask for, but not what they really want.

Steve Jobs famously said, “It isn’t the customer’s job to know what they want.” As an agency, we moved away from focus groups because we’ve proven that there’s a difference between what customers say they’ll do and what they actually do. A customer will never ask you to talk them out of cancelling. They’ll never tell you what they need to hear to convince them to keep going.

It’s your job to give them a reason to stay. Here are a four secrets to giving your customers what they really want:

  1. Identify Why They’re Cancelling

    Before you launch into how your customer is making a huge mistake by cancelling, make sure to pick any low-hanging fruit. Your customer’s objections may be remarkably easy to solve.

    It may sound silly, but if you sent them a physical product, make sure they actually opened the package. If your service is online, make sure they actually logged in to use it. They may need tips, advice, or motivation to get the most out of your product. For some customers, getting them started properly (and extending their trial period if applicable) is enough to turn them into your best customers.

    Audible, an Amazon company that offers a subscription for monthly audio books, requires that you enter the specific reason why you wish to cancel. Then, they respond accordingly with unique offers based on the reason you provide.
  1. Go Back to the Problem

    If any easy fix isn’t the answer, gently shift the conversation (or web content) back to the reason they ordered in the first place. Your product or service solves a problem that you know the customer has. The more specific you can be in addressing their unique situation, the better. Remind them of the pain the problem is causing and encourage them to weigh it against the reasonable cost of your service.

    Talking about the benefits of your product again in the context of their situation will help crystalize why they should continue. Hone in again with your tips, advice and motivation. Round out the conversation with a compelling offer and they could be back on track to having a great experience.
  1. Remind them What They Have to Lose

    Fear of loss is a proven principle of influence. People are quicker to act to preserve what they have than they are to pursue a new opportunity.

    Amazon’s Prime membership uses this principle to their advantage when people go online to cancel. On their cancel page, the headline reads: Are you willing to give all of this up?

    Displayed below are all of the benefits of the program. Free two-day shipping, instant streaming of movies and TV shows, access to the kindle lending library, music and more. When presented with the full host of services that the customer probably uses regularly (and takes for granted) it makes cancelling a lot harder.

    Take credit for all of the things you provide for your customers. Always be mindful of new ways to expand your offering to make cancelling harder.
  1. Proactively Keep Them Engaged

    Keeping with the Amazon example, if you have a Prime membership, Amazon will notify you if you’re not taking advantage of all the benefits you’re paying for.

    Reminding your customers to actually engage with your product or service makes them more invested in the experience. The more they get out of it, the harder it’ll be to give up when it comes time to revisit their budget.

    Email is a powerful, inexpensive way to encourage your customers to stay engaged. If you primarily use email to add value to what your customer already has, it builds your credibility. Then, when it comes time to offer them something new, they’re more likely to pay attention to you.

If you want to keep more customers (and bring in a whole lot of new ones) we should talk. At Marketing Architects, we’ve developed the infrastructure to allow you to launch ad campaigns in print, radio and TV with the online optimization required to get all of your marketing efforts working together. Before you lose another customer, give us a call.

Topics: Direct Response Marketing

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