Want to Win Back Customers Who Cancel? Get Personal.

The key to successful winback campaigns is personalization and timing.

Want to Win Back Customers Who Cancel? Get Personal.

There are plenty of strategies you can use to reduce or stop churn before it ever happens. You can switch customers to different pricing tiers, use good cancel flows, identify the most valuable parts in your customer’s lifecycle, etc.

But customers cancel. That's life.

This is where personalized customer winback campaigns come in. Let’s talk about how you can craft a customer winback campaign, make it personal, and traits of successful winback campaigns.

What is a winback campaign?

Winback campaigns are simple to explain but not always so simple to execute. A customer winback campaign is a series of personalized, targeted, and tuned emails that you send to customers who cancelled their subscription.

The key to successful winback campaigns is personalization and timing.

Effective winback campaigns can be the difference between re-engaging a previous customer and losing any chance of them purchasing from your company again. In fact, research has shown that 45% of customers who receive a win-back email will open subsequent emails from your company.

Send your winback campaign at the right time

In order for a winback campaign to be effective, you have to wait until the time is right. Sending an email begging a customer to come back right after they canceled is a sure-fire way to chase them away for good. It just feels a bit desperate and unappealing.

Whie you should test a few different time windows, optimal timing will vary with your customer's typical behavior, your industry, and seasonality. In general, though, here's what we recommend:

  • If you have a exit flow set up and your customer doesn't accept an offer, consider automating a campaign that increases your initial offer by up to 100%. This can show customers how much you value their business and help you determine optimal price points for various cohorts.
  • As a starting point, many businesses choose to send win-back emails after customers have been inactive for 30, 60, or 90 days. However, the right timing for your business may be different, so it's crucial to analyze your customer data and test different strategies to find the most effective approach.
  • Identify the churn reason. Analyze your customer data to determine when most of your customers tend to cancel. Tune your win-back campaign to preempt or address the common reasons for cancellation. For example, if a customer indicates they're leaving because of a missing feature—and you ship that feature—this is the best opportunity you have to highlight this new information.
  • Consider seasonality! If your business has seasonal fluctuations, it might be beneficial to align your win-back campaign with periods of high demand or interest in your services.
  • Test and optimize: Run A/B tests to determine the optimal timing for your win-back campaign. Test different time intervals (e.g., 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc.) and analyze the results to find the best approach for your business.
  • In certain cases, the grace period between when a customer cancels and when their service ends can be an opportunity. An active subscription with a planned cancellation is a chance for your Customer Success or Marketing teams to engage with high-value accounts who can be recovered.

Understand churn reasons

In order to create a truly personalized and effective customer winback campaign, you need to know why you lost these subscribers in the first place. That’s why it’s so important to pinpoint the cause of churn as you’re crafting your winback campaign strategy.

When you use a churn prevention platform like Churnkey, you can easily gather quantitative data that reveals cancellation patterns and allows you to analyze cancellation feedback. You can then use these insights to segment your customers and customize your winback campaigns for each segment to address their specific concerns or needs.

Personalized incentives win back customers

With a more detailed understanding of why lapsed customers chose to cancel their subscriptions, you can also craft targeted, personalized discounts that could incentivize them to re-subscribe. Again, make sure you segment your users so that you can send the most personalized incentives possible.

Generic messaging will not work. You will be wasting your time. So make sure to address the customer's pain points, remind them of the value your service provides, and offer an enticing incentive to return.

Finally, create offers that have a temporary shelf life. Your customers are busy. So create urgency with offers that expire after a set period of time—say, 48 or 72 hours from the time of delivery.

Choose the right subject line

Be blunt, straightforward, and talk in your brand's unique voice. This is your first opportunity to re-engage and captivate your customer. Be creative, be personal, and strike the right balance of urgency.

While it needs to fit your brand, companies often find success with subject lines using verbiage like “We miss you” or “It’s been a while," coupled with a "come back and enjoy [offer] on us."

It's obvious, but including the discount or offer in the subject line is essential. Even if a lapsed customer wouldn’t open any other email from you, it’s more likely they’ll open an email that’s offering a dollar or percentage off right there in the subject line. For example, the email below used “We miss you. Here’s $20.” as the subject line.

Even more powerful can be the combination of an offer and evidence that you listened to their feedback. Imagine you received "We shipped [feature] for you. Come back for 50% off" from a subscription you cancelled.

Heck, I'd be compelled.

Ask for feedback

A winback campaign is another chance to gather feedback and ask your customer why they left, especially if you didn’t take any kind of cancellation survey when they cancelled.

The purpose of including a request for feedback in your customer winback campaign is two-fold. First, it can show your customer that you care about their needs and concerns, making your campaign that much more personal and, potentially, effective. A feedback email might be just what it takes to start a conversation, re-engage your customer, and earn back their business.

Second, a feedback email gives you important and qualitative data directly from your lapsed customers. At the very worst, even if you don’t win them back, you’ve collected invaluable feedback that you can use in product updates and to reduce churn with your current customer base moving forward.

Using personal customer winback campaigns for maximum effect

By creating personalized, effective customer winback campaigns, you can reduce your churn rates even after you’ve already lost customers.

And if you want to address overall churn and reduce cancellations up to 58%, we’re ready to help. Sign up for a free trial and see firsthand how Churnkey is helping SaaS businesses reduce churn and retain more users.