Direct Mail We Want You Back! Winning Back Customers That Have Left You

Published on October 10th, 2008 | by Janine Popick

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We Want You Back! Winning Back Customers That Have Left You

I got an interesting piece of direct mail the other day from a company we used to do business with. It was in a rather large box that had “Perishable” printed on it. Was I curious? You bet. I dug in. It was from a company we used to outsource our HR, payroll and benefits. So granted it was a very expensive idea but we did pay a lot to this company.

At first blush I said “Wow, didn’t they look at their list of companies that left them?” Because we left them a few years ago so I was sort of surprised to even get a mailing from them let alone this big box.

I was shocked at the answer: they actually did look at the companies that left them. It was a “We want you back” campaign and under the top of the box was a “We want you back” CD, a “We want you back” offer note and a letter saying that they’d pretty much do anything to get us back.

When I lifted the hood of this box I saw a “We want you back” coffee mug with a pound of really good coffee. If we weren’t so entrenched with our own in-house systems, I may have even given them a call. They definitely got my attention.

Great targeted mailing. It made me think of the customers that we have lost over the course of many years (I’m sad) and what we could do to get them back or raise their eyebrows. It also could be as simple as a great offer in an email marketing campaign.

Do you have any customers you’d like to get back? Do you have any experience with customer win-back campaigns? Love to hear from you!

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.



5 Responses to We Want You Back! Winning Back Customers That Have Left You

  1. Kevin Donlin says:

    Tammi, I found this blog just the way you did — searching for info on wining back lost customers. That’s something I for my customers.
    I have a letter in my files written for a dentist that did a superb job of winning back patients who had been wronged by another dentist; perhaps similar to your situation?
    What worked was a simple, heartfelt explanation and a very attractive offer to get people buying again.
    In short: Confront the elephant in the room and make them an offer they can’t refuse.
    You might try the same idea!

  2. Tammi S. says:

    Found your blog by obviously searching for ideas on getting back lost customers. My situation is a little unique, which is why I’m seeking help / input on how to proceed. Over the course of about a year (thru 5/10) an employee in a supervisory position basically destroyed a good part of our business buy sabotaging work, purposefully doing what he could to slowly ruin our relationships with many of our customers as well as a few vendors. No suspicions on our part…because he had become like family…he left us in 5/10 for “awesome job opportunity”…or so we thought. He opened up his own company and took a lot of our customers with him, basically promising them ‘the moon’, yada yada. His business didn’t even make it 1 year. (Carma)
    Now, my question is how to get them back. I would love to clear our name/repair our reputation, with them, but what would be the most appropriate manner to accomplish this? What should be included in this “We Want You Back” letter? I compiled a list of each customer that cancelled service during the year in question…30 or so! I could sure use the business right now (poor economy)…Any Ideas?

  3. Morton Smiler says:

    Great idea. It can really work but one has to decide what the costs would be and is it worth the cost to woo the customer back.

  4. Mark C. Gerton says:

    Re: Sending out emails to former customers….I, for one, am annoyed when emails from companies with whom I no longer transact business, appear in my inbox. I have unsubscribed from some of these years ago. I am a small business owner, and I do not have the time to be reading emails from these companies. I can barely keep up with what I have now, and that doesn’t include the junk I get from spammers!
    I know how much I value my privacy, and I’m sure that there a lot of people with similar views. That is why NO ONE is automatically joining a list when they shop at my store. Unless they opt in to join my list,I only keep their e-mail address on my computer for 30 days, and this is only to communicate with them about an order they have submitted. After that period, all of their information is deleted from my computer.
    I don’t want to be bothered, so I don’t bother other people by sending out emails that they have not requested. Many will say to me that I am losing business this way. So be it. Former customers can always find my store via search engines, or they can keep my website in their favorites list. I’d rather do it this way, than risk getting a bad reputation by sending things out to former customers when they have not asked for it. This includes gifts like the coffee and mug mentioned above.

  5. Great Idea but what do you do when your price points are too small to justify a “WOW” gift? You mention e-mail campaigns, does discounts, even in this economy still work? Great blog by the way.
    Michael

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