How Service Businesses Can Recover Lost Clients | SERTBO

How to Win Back Lost Clients: Tactics for Service Businesses

June 26, 20246 min read

As a service business owner, you know that attracting new clients is only half the battle. Keeping them engaged and coming back for more is where the real magic happens. But what do you do when a promising lead goes silent or a once-loyal client stops booking appointments?

In this article, we're sharing the actual strategies we use here at SERTBO. We've developed these strategies to fit many types of sales funnels, and we're confident this will work with yours, too.

First step: understand why you lost those clients in the first place.

Why Clients Disengage

There are a myriad of reasons why a client might fall off the radar, but some common culprits are:

  • Lack of perceived value - They don't see a clear ROI from your services

  • Poor communication - They feel neglected or uninformed about their project

  • Billing issues - Unexpected costs or confusing invoices sour the relationship

  • Scheduling conflicts - Difficulty booking appointments or inflexible hours

  • Competition - They've found an alternative provider who offers more

By pinpointing the potential hurdles, you can create targeted campaigns to address those specific concerns and rebuild the relationship.

Top of Funnel: Retarget With Tailored Ads

Imagine a potential client visits your website, explores your services page, but then exits without contacting you. They're intrigued, but not quite convinced. This is where retargeting comes in handy.

Retargeting uses browser cookies to identify visitors who have shown interest in your services but haven't converted yet. You can then serve them targeted ads as they browse other sites to keep your business top of mind.

For example, let's say you own a home cleaning service. You could:

  • Install a tracking pixel on your website to identify visitors who viewed your "Deep Cleaning" service page

  • Create an ad campaign highlighting the benefits of your deep cleaning service, like eco-friendly products and a satisfaction guarantee

  • Set the ads to display to those specific visitors as they browse Google, Facebook, or their favorite home decor blogs

  • Include a special offer in the ad, like 20% off their first deep cleaning, to entice them to book

By tailoring your ads to the specific services they were interested in, you increase the chances of turning that lost lead into a new client.

Middle of Funnel: Re-Engagement Emails

For leads who have expressed interest but gone quiet, a well-timed email can reignite the conversation. The trick is to segment your email list so you can send the most relevant message to each group.

For instance, a business coach could segment their list by:

  • Last engagement date (e.g., hasn't opened an email in 60+ days)

  • Lead status (e.g., had a consultation call but didn't sign up for coaching)

  • Interests (e.g., expressed interest in group coaching vs. 1:1 coaching)

Then, craft compelling subject lines and body copy that speak directly to each segment's unique needs and challenges.

For the segment of leads who had a consultation call but didn't sign up, the business coach could send an email with the subject line: "Thinking about our conversation..."

In the body, they could say:

"Hi [Name], I know starting a coaching program can feel overwhelming, especially when you're already juggling so much as a business owner. I wanted to share a quick story about a client who was in your shoes...

[Client name] was hesitant to invest in coaching, but within 6 months of working together, she had doubled her revenue and finally felt in control of her time. I'd love to explore how I can help you achieve similar results.

If you're still interested, I'm offering a special 3-session package to help you gain clarity on your goals and create an action plan. Simply reply to this email and I'll send over the details."

See how that feels more personal and engaging than a generic "Haven't heard from you in a while" email blast? By segmenting your list and speaking to specific pain points, your re-engagement emails are much more likely to get a response.

Bottom of Funnel: Personalized Outreach

When a hot lead is this close to signing on the dotted line but gets cold feet, a personalized outreach can be just the thing to seal the deal.

Let's say you're a web designer who's been talking to a potential client for weeks. You've had several discovery calls, sent over a detailed proposal, but now they've gone radio silent. 

Instead of letting them slip away, you could review your notes from the discovery calls to identify their biggest concerns and goals for the website redesign.

You could also record a personalized video message addressing those specific points and reiterating the unique value you provide. For example:

"Hi [Name], I know you expressed concerns about the tight timeline for launching your new site before the holiday season. I wanted to assure you that we have a tried-and-true process for keeping projects on track, even under a time crunch.

In fact, last year we helped [Client Name] launch their new e-commerce site just in time for Black Friday and they saw a 35% increase in sales compared to the previous year. I'm confident we can achieve similar results for you.

As a next step, I recommend we schedule a call to review the project timeline and milestones so you can feel confident we'll meet your deadline. Let me know a few times that work for you and I'll get it on the calendar."

Follow up the video with a limited-time offer, like a 10% discount if they sign the contract within the next 48 hours.

By showing that you've listened to their concerns, empathizing with their challenges, and providing concrete proof of your ability to deliver results, you'll be much more likely to win back that lost client.

Post-Purchase: Nurture the Relationship

Congrats, you've won back the client! Now, your focus shifts to delivering an exceptional experience that keeps them coming back for more. The onboarding process is a critical time to set expectations and start nurturing a long-term relationship.

For example, a virtual assistant could send a Welcome Packet that includes:

  • A personalized welcome video expressing excitement about working together

  • An overview of their communication and project management processes

  • A detailed Client Intake Form to gather info about the client's business, goals, and tasks they need help with

  • Links to schedule their first strategy call and recurring check-ins

  • A small gift, like a Starbucks gift card, to show appreciation

Throughout the engagement, the virtual assistant should send regular progress updates, proactively ask for feedback, and look for opportunities to go above and beyond.

For instance, if they notice the client mentioned an upcoming launch in passing, they could put together a list of ideas to help support the launch, like social media graphics or email templates.

By consistently demonstrating their value and commitment to the client's success, they'll build the kind of relationship that weathers any temporary disengagement.

Book Your FREE Consultation

We've covered a lot of ground here, but the main thing to remember is that winning back lost clients is all about empathy and personalization.

Put yourself in their shoes, anticipate the reasons they might have disengaged, and tailor your messaging to address those specific concerns. Whether it's a targeted ad, a heartfelt email, or a personalized video, the more you can demonstrate that you understand their unique needs, the better your chances of reigniting the relationship.

Of course, all of this takes time and effort, which is why it helps to have a team of experts in your corner. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the idea of implementing these strategies on your own, the client relations pros at SERTBO are just a click away. 

Send us a message to get the ball rolling – a member of the SERTBO team will be with you ASAP!

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