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Reactivating Churned Customers: How to Win Back Subscription-Based Customers

Discover effective strategies to win back churned customers and boost your subscription-based business's revenue and growth.

Cayden Meyer
Cayden Meyer
Founder & CEO
Reactivating Churned Customers: How to Win Back Subscription-Based Customers

Churn is a pervasive issue in subscription-based businesses, with between 5% and 20% of customers leaving each month depending on the industry. This attrition can significantly impact revenue and growth prospects, making churn prevention and management crucial strategies. 

While the best approach to churn is to prevent it before it happens, by predicting it and then acting up on it, there are users who you weren’t able to stop from churning or had churned before prevention was in place or the product was less mature. 

When compiling Upollo’s subscription benchmarks, we found on average only 14% of churned customers ever return. While this is a relatively small fraction, they do represent a unique opportunity for re-engagement as they have found your solution valuable enough to pay for in the past. From the benchmark data we saw that customers who had a strong playbook for re-activating customers could significantly increase the recovery rate and increase their ARR significantly. 

This article will walk you through the parts of building a strong playbook for reactivating churned customers, specifically how to pick the right message and which channels you have open to you to reach these churned customers. 

Choosing the right message

The right messaging is critical to reactivating churned customers. It needs to resonate with the specific reasons they left to be effective. 

If you don’t have user specific insights from an exit survey, you can target users based on their behaviour in the product or simply pick the most common reason/s for churn and target your message to that. 

These are the general types of messages by primary reason for churn.

Cost or lack of value realization/activation

Special Offers:

  • Entice former customers back with exclusive offers that may include discounts or upgraded features at a lower cost.

Invitation to Re-Trial:

  • Offer a free trial period so they can experience the improvements first-hand without any commitment. They may have already completed a trial of the product, but allowing them to try it again after a reasonable period can be an effective strategy. 

Revised Pricing Structures:

  • If pricing was a barrier, inform them of any new pricing options that might be more aligned with their expectations or budget. This can include annual plans, lower price points, localized pricing or revisions to the structure as a whole.

Product improvement and increased value

Product Improvements:

  • Clearly communicate any enhancements, bug fixes, or new features that have been introduced since they left. Show that you’re actively improving based on user feedback and that your product provides even more value than ever.

Resolution of Past Issues:

  • If specific issues led to their departure, highlight these fixes directly to show that their concerns were addressed. This can also be done for existing users as a way to prevent churn.

Remind them of the value it provided them in the past

Value Recap:

  • Remind them of the benefits they previously enjoyed and how they can continue to achieve or exceed these with your upgraded service.
  • This should include metrics such as hours saved, documents created, messages sent or similar.

Unfinished Business:

  • Point out any projects or usage they left incomplete, which might reignite their interest to finish what they started.
  • This can be seasons of content that were partially completed, projects that exist, documents or other artifacts that have been created.

Seasonality or event driven

Seasonal or Event-Driven Promotions:

  • Connect your re-engagement efforts to a current event or season that makes the return more relevant and timely.
  • This is particularly useful for seasonal businesses such as sports, education or travel whose users may not use it when there isn’t a match being played, they aren’t currently at school or they only use it during certain times of the year.

How do you reach your churned customers?

You have a message now you need the right channel to reach your churned customers. 

Email and SMS Outreach:

  • Direct communication channels like email and SMS are powerful tools for personalized messages. Use these if the customer has opt-ed in to marketing communications via these methods.

In-App notifications:

  • If the user still has your application installed and has allowed notifications, you can use push notifications as a way to reach them directly even in case where they may have opt-ed out of communication via other channels such as email

CSM/Sales Outreach:

  • Have your customer success or sales team reach out personally to high-value customers. This direct interaction can address specific concerns and tailor offers to individual needs.
  • It is likely you would have had a conversation with high value customers when they churned, but often these customers aren’t followed up to see if they can be bought back, if leadership has changed or other opportunities to win them back are present.

Encourage Team Influence:

  • Prompt contacts within the customer’s organization who are still active users to use sharing or other collaborative features to bring churned users back. Peer recommendations can be a strong motivator to reconsider a churned service.

Retargeting Through Ads:

  • Utilize online advertising platforms to specifically target former customers. Ads should be designed to capture attention and drive action.
  • This is especially effective when a churned customer has opted out of marketing emails. It is also the most costly, so you may wish to not target all users but only the ones which have a high likelihood of returning

Now you have them back, keep them!

You have a strong playbook for reactivating churn customers, you will want to keep them and prevent them from churning again. 

Having a system that predicts churn and highlights users who are most likely to churn can allow you to be proactive rather than reactive to churn. This will address the 86% of people who churn and don’t come back and enables customer success to reach out to high risk customers or the right re-engagement or support can be sent as part of lifecycle marketing. 

We at Upollo predict more than 90% of our customer’s churn before it happens, allowing them to decrease their churn and increase their revenue. You can try Upollo for free and find out who is going to churn in as little as 5 minutes. 

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About the Author
Cayden Meyer
Cayden Meyer
Founder & CEO

On a mission to help millions of businesses understand their users and grow faster!

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