Craft a better win-back campaign with customer exit surveys

Despite all of your efforts to prevent churn, some customers will ultimately cancel their subscriptions.

The good news is you can reacquire customers through strong win-back campaigns. A win-back campaign is a sequence of targeted messages that attempts to reactivate past customers, and using the information gathered from customer exit surveys will improve the efficacy of your efforts.

Tailor your message

Sending a generic message to all your past customers is not as effective as dividing your messaging into segments based on customer attributes. If you’ve been collecting the reasons your customers cancel with an exit survey, you can use this information to create more personalized messages that will better resonate.

For example, if a customer canceled because of a lack of features, you’ll want to tailor your messaging to feature improvements, not a discount or changes to customer service.

Example email offering a trial extension

Start your campaign at the right moment

Timing can be everything when trying to win back customers. The moment you choose to reach out will vary depending on a variety of factors, including why the customer canceled. Here are a handful of examples:

  • Price. Customers leaving because of price sensitivity should be immediately retargeted. Assuming they are otherwise happy with your service, offering discounts can entice them to come back.
  • Features. In this case, patience is required. You should postpone your messaging until your product fills specific feature gaps and then make an effort to win these customers back.
  • Temporary. All you need to do is keep your brand in these customers’ minds through quality content, starting immediately.
  • Competitor. By the time someone leaves for another competitor, it’s usually too late to do anything about it. Give them 3-6 months before checking in to find out if they are satisfied with their new direction. As they say, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side!
  • No longer needed. This isn’t necessarily negative feedback. It could mean their needs changed or that your customer accomplished what they were trying to do with your product and are leaving satisfied. But the need may arise again. Keep sending your former customers quality content to stay in their minds.

Ultimately, your ideal timing will show itself over time. Experiment with different intervals and reasons and measure the win-back rate to know what works best for you.

Follow these best practices when crafting your campaign

Email is the most common means for a win-back campaign because it can be automated and personalized at an incredibly low cost. Your campaign should consist of multiple messages sent over a period of time, which greatly increases the success rate.

Win-back campaign diagram

Follow these best practices when designing your win-back emails:

  • Let your customers know you’re still here. Sometimes a nudge is all it takes. Showing up again in your customer’s inbox can remind them of your value.
  • Reiterate your value. A high level overview of your product’s value can work–and hopefully that value proposition is even stronger than when the customers last used it–but even more effective is to include past usage points specific to each customer.
  • Offer incentives to return. A special offer–whether a new free trial period, service upgrade or coupon–will further incentivize your customers to give you another try.
  • Test variations in content and subject line. Nothing is ever perfect at the start. Experiment with changes to your subject line and message content, being sure to compare results against previous campaigns to the same segment of customers.
  • Know when to stop. Sending too many messages can backfire. At some point, it’s time to say goodbye (for now). Your win-back campaign should be about three or four emails. Your final email should offer one last incentive to win your customer back while letting them know you won’t be bothering them anymore.

In summary

According to Adobe’s Digital Index Report, existing customers are up to nine times more likely to purchase again versus a new prospect.

When done correctly and in an automated way, win-back campaigns are an effective and low-cost method of increasing revenue.

Targeting past customers based on the reasons they canceled combined with incentives to return is a powerful strategy.

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Prevent churn, grow revenue and gather actionable feedback, all from your cancellation flow.