In late 2015, the DC sales team was tasked to identify a list of lost and new customers to work on in order to increase the company’s sales turnover. There was one particular customer who used to purchase parts through a channel partner of Phoenix Contact. However, there were no longer any orders from this customer since 2010. After conducting some research on the customer’s business and what they manufacture, the decision was to win back this customer that was lost for more than 5 years. The big question was, “What caused the loss of this customer? Why did this customer go to our competitor and why choose our competitor over Phoenix Contact?”
Due to the confidentiality of the customer and for the ease of writing, let’s call this company “SCIT.”
As SCIT was not upfront with us in the beginning and had reservations to use Phoenix Contact parts, we had to make a few assumptions.
There were a few possible causes why we lost SCIT:
- Competitor gave better pricing
- Bad service & support from channel partner
- PxC product quality was not up to mark
At that time, one of the members of the sales team was tasked to win this customer back and so many persistent sales calls were made. And yes, you have probably guessed, it was all of the above that caused the customer to walk out the door.
Way back when SCIT stopped purchasing Phoenix Contact parts, it was handled by a distributor and they gave poor support, high pricing and abhorrent service to the customer.
So what formula did we undertake to win this customer back?
- Find out the reason they chose our competitor
The first step is was to understand why the customer left and chose our competitor over us. There can be many reasons and probing with the right questions will allow us to find out the underlying problem, subsequently devising the appropriate solution/strategy to win the customer back.
- Be persistent and genuine
To have the “never-say-die spirit” is another important factor. The customer can be reluctant to provide any information, orders or chances. This is when constant follow-up is necessary to demonstrate to the customer that we are interested in them. And in order to do this, being genuine is the key to unlocking the closed door and allowing them to open up. Customers need to know that we are also genuinely interested and they must know and can feel that we are there to help them achieve their targets and create a win-win situation.
- Delivering over and beyond customer’s expectations
Hai Di Lao is a perfect example of a company that goes beyond the call of duty to provide the best customer experience. With the long waits and queue, Hai Di Lao provides free manicure services, free fruits and drinks and comfortable sitting areas while you wait for your turn to dine in. A case in point, there was an instance when a family happened to walk past the shop and the servers offered ice cream to the kids, even though this family was not patronising the shop! That’s what a memorable experience is all about.
Keeping the “wow factor” in customers constantly and consistently will cause SCIT to keep us in their mind not just in times of troubles but they will also give others in the industry good feedback about us and refer others to us. Something as simple as a speedy quotation, or calling them back when we missed their call will make them feel important and give them the assurance they can count on us to fulfil our promises. When good service is provided, customers come back, referrals are introduced and business grows.
Going all out to help customers resolve their problems and providing a solution for their issue will help to keep them as a valued customer. In this case, MOQ was high and leadtime was long, causing the customer to keep lots of stock in order to reduce leadtime. So we provided a solution of lesser MOQ and shorter leadtime with a fair price, helping to resolve their critical problem with high exposure and inventory cost.
- Building customer’s confidence in us
Offering a wide range of products and support, along with product knowledge, are vital to build the customer’s level of confidence in us. With the vast range of products we offer in Phoenix Contact, they can procure more than just a certain type of products with us, allowing us to upsell more products to SCIT. Starting with just terminal blocks, circular connectors and markers, we moved on to sell even tools. In the future, as they move towards more projects, we will have opportunities to sell industrial electronic products such as surge arrestors and power supply to them as well.
Having the different product managers who champion their own product range helps to clarify doubts and provides information to SCIT when it is needed. Customer service support and timely delivery from logistics are also contributors in rebuilding the branding and SCIT’s confidence in Phoenix Contact.
Without the whole team in place and working together, recapturing the customer would not have been achievable.
In conclusion, there is no one hard and fast formula to winning back a customer but there are certain values that you need to inculcate to win back your customers. From all these, there is only one vital key and that boils down to building a long term RELATIONSHIP with the customer.