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What can you learn from a lost customer?

Talking to lost customers is a little bit like talking to an elderly relative – they have such meaningful stories to tell that you often wish you would have started really listening to them a lot sooner.

I’ve helped several companies with their journey to understand why their customers love them (their loyalty studies) and why they leave them (their lost customer studies).  In this entry, I want to explore the unique learnings you can only get from talking to those customers that you’ve loved… and lost.

A framework for talking to lost customers often looks like this: 

Lost Customer Framework
1. Understand why they left – in their own words. 
2. Understand the full span of their reasons for leaving, often using a pre-populated list. 

3. Identify their main reason for leaving.

4. Dig into as much detail as possible about their main reason for leaving.

5. Gather insights on prevention or remedy steps, essentially: what could we offer to get you back?

Results from a lost customer study are almost guaranteed to be intriguing.  They come pre-packaged with an automatic and clear business impact.   Lost customer data inherently contains very specific reasons for lost revenue, and naturally translates into forecasting models for revenue that could be saved if the right steps are taken.

Of course, you can expect to hear a certain amount of justification around price or the other usual suspects.  But there will also be great stories that would otherwise be left untold; stories of lost customers who had mostly positive interactions with your company, and are willing to come back, if it weren’t for that one nagging barrier.  Find out what barriers you’re been putting up for lost customers.  And as an added bonus, I bet you’ll find a few of the believed-to-be-barriers are already outdated, or were even misguided in the first place.

In my next post, we’ll explore related insights on this same topic, including segmentation and competitive intelligence. 

Krista Roseberry

About the Author

Walker Weekly

Walker is a consulting firm specializing in customer experience. Helping businesses for more than 75 years, Walker’s diverse team of consultants provides tailored, comprehensive solutions to help companies achieve their business objectives and grow shareholder value. Walker specializes in customer retention and growth, using predictive analytics and other innovative approaches. Walker works with some of the world’s most influential businesses as well as emerging organizations of all sizes. For more information, please visit

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