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The peak-end rule, introduced by academics in the 1990s, suggested that people are much more likely to remember a highlight of an event that occurs at either the beginning or the end of a journey.
The peak-end rule, introduced by academics in the 1990s, suggested that people are much more likely to remember a highlight of an event that occurs at either the beginning or the end of a journey.

How do you treat your customers after they leave?

Customers may come and go. JEANNIE WALTERS says that the impression your business leaves on a customer can live forever.

Customers appreciate having their loyalty highlighted during the shopping experience.

In fact, businesses that invest in successful customer loyalty programs increase revenue up to 2.5 times faster than their competitors, according to Harvard Business Review.

With that said, this raises an interesting question: how much should businesses care about customers who are no longer loyal?

Customers leave a business or brand and stop purchasing for many reasons. And yet, you must remember they still might be an advocate for your business. They may invertedly provide positive word-of-mouth marketing, referrals, and encouragement to future prospects considering becoming a customer.

Consider the following reasons why someone may stop shopping loyally with your business.

Life gets in the way

As a mother of two, I remember being bombarded with samples, coupons, and free merchandise from formula brands.

"Former customers don’t have amnesia about your business. They remember how they were treated during their time as a customer."

They kept bombarding me with the same coupons, which don’t feel as relevant when the child is an independent little person who doesn’t have those same needs. Yet those coupons and emails and promises for dry cribs showed up for a long time!

There is potential here for family and health brands to help families navigate the ongoing journey of childhood. Some brands have done this, but many miss the mark!

Financial services businesses understand this, and successful ones see the potential in keeping former customers engaged for the long term.

A customer who starts as a university student with a minimum balance checking account might leave as a customer because they’re moving to a new area, for example.

By engaging this customer with ongoing, valuable, relevant content or tools, that customer will consider that business if they move back to the area or if their priorities change.

Different needs

During the pandemic, the needs of consumers changed significantly. Some businesses quickly pivoted, offering new services to meet new demands .

Businesses that were creative and communicative maintained relationships with customers by offering what they could.

With that said, sometimes a customer moves on because they simply don’t have a need for the product anymore.

Don’t treat them like strangers!

Former customers don’t have amnesia about your business. They remember how they were treated during their time as a customer. They recall the last time they visited a store, how the exit was handled, and how they were treated afterwards.

"Businesses that were creative and communicative maintained relationships with customers by offering what they could."

Have you ever tried to cancel an arrangement and found the process infuriating as a customer? What do you talk about after that happens? You probably don’t mention the wonderful onboarding experience you had as a first-time customer. You neglect to remember the time the staff really went above and beyond for you.

No, you just talk about the frustrating and ridiculous cancellation policies and how you felt at the end of that relationship.

The peak-end rule, introduced by academics in the 1990s, suggested that people are much more likely to remember a highlight of an event that occurs at either the beginning or the end of a journey. 

With that said, you can see how a poor experience as a customer will remain a lasting impression of the entire business relationship.

What can you do for former customers?

In an ideal world, customer experience leaders need to connect with past customers as appropriate.  Of course, we can’t invest too much energy and effort into these former customers. They may simply be done!

Instead, think of these former customers as potential ambassadors and advocates. Then you can get creative about how you communicate, categorise, and connect with them. When it comes to digital marketing, make sure the language you use reminds the customer that while they haven’t shopped with your business in some time, they’re always welcome back.

These former customers may comment on social media or look for ways to refer others. Recognise their relationship so they can be acknowledged as a valued past customer.

Life cycles

Develop communication campaigns and tools to assist customers as they move through various stages of life. This could include simple steps like recognising milestones like birthdays and anniversaries, which are particularly valuable occasions for the jewellery industry.

This is a significant topic, and it’s easy to move on from past customers. There are enough things on our to-do list, right?

With that said, these relationships can be valuable in their own right. Focus on how to build on what’s there, and don’t forget to show appreciation for the customers they once were.

More reading:
Three golden rules for investing in relationships with customers
Simple and effective ways to boost your word-of-mouth referrals
Five questions your marketing plan should be able to answer
Looking for – and finding – a business’ ‘lost customers’
Quality customer service always beats out pricing
 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeannie Walters

Contributor • Experience Investigators


Jeannie Walters is founder and CEO of Experience Investigators. Learn more: experienceinvestigators.com

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