In today’s digitally transformed business world, customers are empowered to shift their subscription loyalties at short notice and without repercussion. As such, there’s seemingly no greater crisis than a lapsed customer. But, as John F. Kennedy once noted, within each crisis there lies opportunity. It’s a chance to reinvigorate and deepen your relationship with your customer through a successful winback campaign.
To thrive within this environment, you must know how to launch successful winback campaigns that re-engage your customer with your product. The process begins with fostering a nurturing, customer-centric culture within your company. This approach gathers and utilizes customer information to keep you informed of at-risk accounts ahead of time, and then helps you win back your customers through proactive, personalized campaigns.
Your chances of a successful winback campaign increase if you understand why the customer lapsed in the first place. The simplest way to find out is to ask. Exit surveys and direct communication can yield results as long as you personalize your message and maintain a respectful tone. By this time, however, your customer could be influenced by competitors.
The most effective time to ask your customers why they’re unhappy is before they cancel. The signs of impending cancellation should be evident before a customer churns. A survey of more than 1 million SaaS customers found that cancellations were almost always preceded by a period of non-use. In fact, over 50% of paying customers weren’t using the service they paid for.
With a comprehensive customer success platform, it’s possible to maintain a highly visible, real-time assessment of each account and individual’s customer engagement. By accessing up-to-date information on metrics such as how often customers are logging in and using key product features, you will be able to spot signs of customer disengagement before things reach a critical point.
Successful Winback Campaigns
Some level of churn is unavoidable. Even Amazon, with its 90% retention rate and 100 million customers, loses around 10 million subscribers a year to churn. What’s important is that your company is prepared to stage a successful winback campaign.
Here are some ways to re-engage customers:
- Incentivize engagement
- Offer upgrade/downgrade options
- Personalize all interventions
- Offer additional resources
- Revisit initial goals
- Implement proactive push notifications
Let’s examine the value of each strategy.
Lapsed customers can be offered incentives for renewing their subscription, maintaining user engagement standards, expanding feature usage, and using social media. For example, you could partner with a referral and rewards program like Perkville. Leveraging such a company’s points and rewards system can improve client retention and loyalty.
Alternatively, you can offer your own in-house incentives, such as a usage-driven points program that promises discounted renewals, premium support, and access to webinars and expert training. Such programs can pique a customer’s interest and enforce the value of your partnership.
Offer Upgrade/Downgrade Options
Be flexible in your negotiations with lapsed or at-risk customers. If your customer success platform is informing you that the customer has little to no engagement with specific product features, offer to downgrade their subscription to a lower standard and price point. Be careful about offering direct discounts, however, as this can undermine your brand.
Alternatively, the customer has exhausted the limits of their subscription, offer to expand their service in scale or complexity. In either case, reassessing your customer’s account provides a fresh opportunity to discuss all the features at their disposal.
Personalize All Interventions
Whether you reach out by phone, email, or social media, make sure your communications are backed by customer specific information. It’s not enough to just apply a name to a mail merge and tag on a generic renewal notice. With access to detailed information generated by a customer success platform, you should be able to impress your customer with your knowledge of their business and actions. Your messaging can be as simple as:
“We’ve noticed you haven’t accessed X feature recently. Did you know it can help you do Y?”
Practical messaging that can be readily implemented means more than any standardized text. Just as your onboarding process should rapidly move the customer to their first value point, so should your winback campaign quickly provide a demonstrable ROI for each unique customer.
Offer Additional Resources
Don’t be afraid to take your customer back to square one. Revisiting fundamental aspects of the onboarding process can reinvigorate a customer’s product engagement or reintroduce value propositions that have been neglected through inactivity.
For instance, you could embellish your renewal call with an offer of a free webinar or training program. Even an on-site product demonstration can provide evidence of a practical link between your service and your customer’s daily operations and goals.
Revisit Initial Goals
If you identify an at-risk customer before they churn, try revisiting the goals you established during your initial post-sales period. Reminding a customer of the achievements they’ve completed can lessen their desire to start over with a competitor.
If usage rates and engagement are down, try to establish new goals that alert the customer to the recurring value of your partnership.
Implement Proactive Push Notifications
Implementing targeted, thoughtful push notifications can stimulate engagement. For example, you may offer to turn off a feature the customer isn’t using as a counterintuitive reminder that they have the service at their disposal. Keep these interventions brief and practical; your customers don’t want to feel like they’re being pushed to take actions they don’t want.
The common element in all these initiatives is a focus on nurturing your customer relationship before it falls into the at-risk category. Successful winback campaigns stem from a detailed understanding of the customer, and to achieve that understanding, you have to build your company around your customer’s needs.
Nurturing the Customer Creates Successful Winback Campaigns
Successful winback campaigns begin with an intimate understanding of the customer. Using the comprehensive data collecting methods of a customer success platform, you can create an early warning system for at-risk accounts. From there, it’s a matter of reaching out through targeted campaigns that reinforce your customer knowledge, demonstrate your understanding of why your customer might be unhappy with your product, and offer practical solutions.
Armed with a solid understanding of your customer, you can turn the potential crisis of a disengaged customer into a reinvigoration of your mutual journey to growth and expansion.
Customer winbacks and renewals are one of the four Totango SuccessBLOCS we use to put the values of customer success into practice. These tools effectively help you build your company around the needs of your customers. Request a demo to explore Spark and start enjoying greater customer winback success.