What is a silent customer?
As its name indicates, a silent customer is a user or client who does not reveal much information about his or her experience with your brand, product, or service.
These are people who consume your products or register in one of your sales processes online, but they never offer their opinion and, over time, they may disappear without any type of explanation.
For example, a silent customer is someone who buys shoes on your online store and never again buys anything else there. Or a subscriber to your service or supply that suddenly unsubscribes without explaining why.
Silent customers are harmful for your business because the hide the most valuable thing: information. If you don’t know your customers, it is hard to know what to improve in terms of your product and buying experience. Even an unsatisfied customer is more constructive than a silent customer, because at least you know why he or she is unhappy.
A silent customer doesn’t have to have had a bad experience with your product or service. You simply do not know what they think and, therefore, what it will take to get them to participate more or consume your brand again.
It is estimated that up to 96% of users that have had a bad experience prefer not to say anything to the brand or company; however, they do make comments to the people they know. That’s why a silent customer can be so damaging: he or she may speak poorly of your brand without you ever knowing about it.
In addition, getting a new customer is up to 7 times more difficult than keeping one that you already have.
While you may not be able to get them all to talk, it is possible to try to understand them and get something out of them for your company.
How to identify your silent customers
Your sales team can identify if there are silent customers in your current customer database.
One technique is to analyze the loss of customers over a period of time and to study if there is any information about those customers. If a lot are disappearing without leaving any traces, they were probably silent customers.
The same team can assess if there is a point in the process where there is greater loss of customers. This makes it possible to figure out what could be making silent customers go away, as they aren’t going to tel you themselves.
Getting a new customer is up to 25 times more expensive than keeping one you already have.
For example, if many customers don’t buy your products again from your brand or online store after a first experience but they also do not return those products, the problem is probably not in the shopping experience or in the product quality but instead in the delivery conditions (if deliveries are late or hard to track).
Did you know that a lack of quality product information is one of the most common reasons why a customer is not satisfied with a brand or shop? A PIM system (Product Information Management) will help you to centralize and improve your product content, and to reduce that friction with silent customers.
Ways to recover a silent customer
With this type of customer, as with an angry or unsatisfied customer, it is important to act quickly. As you don’t know much about these customers, it will also be useful to combine several strategies until you hit on the one that works best in general.
Ask for feedback
People like to feel heard. Many silent customers disappear because they feel as though their experience doesn’t matter to the brand or shop where they purchased something.
After any problem or lack of communication, try to contact these customers to ask them to explain their impressions and experiences.
This makes them feel relevant and it allows you to get the information that you need about what they thought of the use or shopping experience and what you can improve.
Offer an incentive
Sometimes the ties that a customer has with a brand or business are quite weak and any special offer from the competition can make them change their loyalty.
To try to retain these customers and regain their attention, you can offer them an incentive that keeps them with your service or incites them to make a new purchase. It could be a personalized discount coupon, a service upgrade, or any extra complement that you can afford without having great losses and which could be attractive to your customers.
Keep your customers in the communication loop
First and foremost, the key is for the silent customer to not feel as though you are only looking for a way to get sales. To build any solid relationship, you need to offer something more of value.
In this sense, the content is usually a tool that offers good results. By using a programmed and segmented email chain, you can send emails that awaken the curiosity of the silent customer and invite him or her to interact again with your brand or shop.
These can be emails with marketing content like ebooks, new features, tutorials, or invitations to webinars. Try to keep explaining why your brand is relevant and how it can help your customers to stay on their radar and even get their participation.
You can also apply remarketing strategies on social media, creating an ad campaign that will only be shown to silent customers.
Traditional channels like the telephone and text messages are used less and les these days, although that is precisely why some companies get more attention by using them than email. Nevertheless, before making calls, take into account the profile of your customers because calls can be overwhelming for them.
Lastly, a basic method for keeping in touch with your silent customers and to get them to participate is by using surveys – and it’s better if they can be filled out anonymously and quickly so that you get the participation of the more hesitant.
Make it easy to return
Imagine that you are returning to a place that you didn’t really have that good of an impression of... and you find it just as unorganized as ever.
If you are going to try to attract silent customers back, you must prepare their return scenario. For example, make it easy for them to recover their password and access data on your website or platform. Have their shipping and payment information saved on their account so that they don’t have to fill it out again (provided that you have their consent to store this data).
And if they haven’t visited your site, shop, or app for a long time, they will find it useful to receive recommendations and summaries of the new additions to get them on track.
Many companies think that everything is fine because nobody is complaining.
The problem is that surely those complaints exist, but nobody is saying them out loud. It is better to know why your customers are unsatisfied than to have users that share nothing and disappear.
To understand your silent customers, the key is for all the moments of abandonment to be analyzed in the sales process, and for contact and good communication to be kept up through the customer service and marketing team. This will help you to gather their impressions and maintain your brand relevance.