Win Back Customers

win back hardwood lumber customersSucceeding in business is hard. Everyone knows that. No matter how responsive a business is, or how much it strives to produce high-quality products or services, some customers will choose to do business with others. Even in the hardwood lumber industry where it is common for a customer to do business with multiple hardwood suppliers, customer churn is inevitable.

We try hard to make sure we are providing our customers with everything they need to be successful. We pride ourselves on being accessible, responsive and relationship driven. However, we still have to earn business from customers. So, when we are in situations where we are trying to re-engage with customers after an extended period of time, we find these tips to be very helpful.

Look at your business through your customers’ eyes. It is likely you have a clear-cut view of how your business is run. But if you see significant customer churn, take time to study how your business looks through a customer’s perspective. Examine a typical customer journey through your business—all the touchpoints at which a customer engages with your company (website, marketing, sales and delivery).

“A disjointed or confusing customer journey can lead to frustration and ultimately result in lost clients,” notes Insights for Professionals. The key is designing a “seamless and user-friendly journey” that encompasses the full range of customer problems and challenges. If you find something that causes pain, address it and improve the customer experience!

Solicit feedback on an ongoing basis. Even businesses with an active customer-centric focus would probably benefit from more regular interaction with their target audience.

As we have noted before, it’s critical to continuously build relationships with trusted customers through surveys, phone calls, emails, etc. The key is gaining a stronger sense of how well your products or services are meeting their needs: “Be open-minded when it comes to making changes based on their input, as this may ultimately improve your overall product or service offering.

Always emphasize value. When your business launches a new product or upgrade, it’s tempting to boast about all the great “bells and whistles” that come with it. But that’s not really what your customers care about. What matters to them—no matter what industry they’re in—is the value of your offering.

Ensure that your product or service “meets or exceeds your customers’ expectations, solves their problems, and helps them achieve their goals,” notes LinkedIn. At the same time, “communicate your value proposition clearly and regularly,” demonstrating how this differentiates you from the competition.

Address any chronic problems causing customer departures. A quick fix on some minor operational issue is probably not enough to win back lost customers. A better approach involves drilling down to addressing significant problems.

For example, look at complaints about poor technical support. “Is this the result of truly sub-par service or is it a case of unmet expectations?” asks WorkWave. Rather than just retraining your technicians, “a better strategy may be to rethink how you brand your services so customer expectations are better aligned with the services you provide.”

It does not matter if we are trying to win back hardwood log or hardwood lumber business. Doesn't even matter if we are trying to earn the rights to a timber log or more green lumber from a supplier. Following these few tips does help us in the long run.

What other thoughts might you have?  Let me know!

Tony Cimorelli
The Baillie Group
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.