Have I Run out of Customers? What to Do When the Phone Stops Ringing

Have I Run out of Customers? What to Do When the Phone Stops Ringing

by Kylie Ora Lobell, February 2020

When you first opened your business, you had many customers. Sometimes, you were overwhelmed, but it was a great feeling. Unfortunately, over time, you've experienced some customer retention issues and haven't been bringing in new customers to make up for the loss. You're panicking and don't know how you'll stay in business.

Have I Run Out of Customers? What to do When the Phone Stops Ringing

Don't worry—you can win back lost customers as well as gain new ones to sustain and grow your business by listening to your customers, investing in advertising, and improving the customer experience.

Here are some tips for increasing your customer retention rate.

Understand Why You're Losing Customers

First, you'll need to figure out where you went wrong with your customers. According to Robert Gauvreau, a CPA and entrepreneur who is a partner in Gauvreau & Associates, businesses lose customers when there is an imbalance between value and price. "Either the company has priced itself out of the market and/or the company is not delivering enough value to its customers to keep them coming back," he says. You'll need to contemplate whether to lower your prices, increase your value—or both—in order to stay in business.

If you have a hard time looking at your business objectively, reach out to customers and ask them why they left. Jimmy Ellis, director of Performance Marketing for Fracture, says you should call your customers or send them surveys to uncover the reasons they were unhappy with your business. "Once you know why, put together a 'win-back' campaign that specifically addresses the reasons they left with a special discount or incentive to come back," he says.

Ask Customers to Leave Reviews

Reviews are a critical component of success for businesses online and offline. According to Qualtrics, 97% of customers read reviews for a local business, and 90% of respondents from one study said that reading a positive online review influenced their buying decision.

Becky Beach, founder of MomBeach.com, recommends reaching out to specific customers, asking if they are happy with their purchase, and seeing if they would be willing to write you a review. On her e-commerce site, she uses a Shopify plugin that automatically emails customers asking for a review, and then gives them a coupon for a future purchase. "I get more repeat customers using this tactic," she says.

Improve the Customer Experience

Customers can now buy products from businesses all around the world, leading to increased competition. One way to stand out is to ensure you are providing excellent customer service. Whenever you're interacting with a customer, do what you can to make them happy.

"Over-deliver on the customer experience in every aspect that you can: product/service quality, post-order communications, post-delivery communications, rewards and appreciation," Ellis says. "When you do that, you'll earn referrals, which are the lowest cost and yield the highest quality of new customers that most companies can hope to gain."

Invest in Advertising

Whether you are seeking new customers or looking to win back some old ones, you can turn to online advertising to get the word out about your business. Beach says you could run a Facebook ad that promotes a free product giveaway plus free shipping in order to collect email addresses. On Facebook, you can be highly specific with your demographics, which will help you target the audience most likely to buy from you.

Always Go Above and Beyond

Your business will only thrive if you dedicate yourself to providing value to your customers. Then, gaining new customers and retaining current ones will be simpler than you ever could have imagined.

"If you deliver beyond expectations and outperform your promise of delivery to your clients, you will create raving fans who will be happy to share their experience with others," Gauvreau says.