How to Reactivate Customers on the Verge of Churning

Oliver Bridge

We all know that sinking feeling when a customer breaks up with your brand. Whether it's an automated cancel request or an email that breaks the news in a more personal manner, customer churn is pretty much the worst.

Beyond bruised egos and hurt feelings, churn is bad news for your bottom line.

But fear not, there's a lot that you can do to reduce churn and make your customers feel valued at critical stages in the customer journey. 

Here, we'll go over some of the signs to watch out for, a few different strategies you might use to deliver value when it matters most, and a step-by-step funnel to reactivate "at risk" customers.

Learn to Read Churn Warning Signs

According to Brightback's 2020 State of Industry report, 35% of B2Bs say identifying at-risk customers has been an effective way to prevent customers from leaving and reduce churn.

Start by looking for signs of inactivity, including:

  • Decreased engagement with your platform
  • Feature specific attrition
  • Failure to interact with your brand after signup

A few other things you may want to look out for:

  • Have you dropped the ball when it comes to following up on questions?
  • Are there support tickets that haven't been answered?
  • Are they engaging with your platform?
  • If you're using website tracking tools, you might be able to see how often customers review cancellation pages or a lower-priced plan—which could be another sign that users are getting ready to leave you for another solution.

Uncovering these common threads will help you form a prevention strategy built around setting new customers up for success and a reactivation plan for getting inactive customers back on track.

Over time, you'll become aware of the factors that suggest a customer isn’t happy in the relationship and can jump into action.

Segment Your Customers

Before you can prevent customers from abandoning ship, you'll need to identify your most profitable customers and dig into your interaction records. 

The reason you'll want to focus on this group is, these folks drive the most revenue, and thereby are worth the time and effort it takes to keep them happy long-term. 

  • How do they interact with your brand at the various stages in the sales funnel? 
  • What questions do they typically ask?
  • What circumstances cause them to complain?
  • Have profitable customers submitted any recent support tickets?

From there, divide your customers into groups such as profitability, risk of churning, and painful as it may be, those who have already jumped ship. 

You'll then want to identify a common thread between those who ultimately churn. What were their reasons for leaving? What do they have in common with the at-risk group and your most valuable customers? 

SaaS company, Groove offers up a great example of finding opportunities in behavioral patterns. The brand noticed that while they were attracting a lot of new subscribers, a 4.5% churn rate was keeping them from achieving sustainable growth.

When they dug into the data, they found that customers who spent an average of 35 seconds on the platform during their first session were more likely to cancel their subscription. 

In response, the company offered to help these customers set up their accounts (as you can see in the email below). 26% of those customers responded while 40% stuck around for at least 30 days.


Gain an Understanding of What Customers Want

Collect voice of the customer, or VoC data from at-risk groups, loyal customers, high-value customers, and if possible, former customers. 

The goal here is to find out what makes a customer buy, and more importantly, what makes a customer stick around. Use the following methods to learn more about product issues, content gaps, or problems with your customer support:

  • Social listening
  • Surveys
  • Net Promoter Scores
  • Support tickets
  • Interviews

Keep in mind, you'll need to be prepared to implement changes if you're truly after increased retention rates. One of our clients, Matt Ragland of ConvertKit used Bonjoro to reduce churn by 14.7% by incorporating personalized video into their reactivation strategy. 

However, as Matt writes in this Medium post, they also focused on making improvements to a few core areas, including:

  • Ticket response time
  • App performance and stability
  • Adding valuable new content
  • Focusing on creating targeted content and partnerships

How to Build a Funnel to Reactivate Customers and Reduce Churn 

After you've gathered up that intel, then you can focus on building a funnel to reactivate dormant customers before it's too late. 

Here's a quick rundown of how you might approach this using our tool Bonjoro.

The simple tactic here is to send personalised videos to your "at risk" customers with just the right info, at just the right moment, to get them back engaged and using your product. Here's how it's done:

Create a Campaign Around Your Goal

As you may have gathered, this funnel strategy aims to help you bring customers back from the edge by offering some love and support during critical moments in the journey. After all, 68% of customers leave when they perceive indifference on your end.

By adding value when customers need it most, you'll increase the chances that they'll remain active and loyal. 

To start the process, log into your Bonjoro account and click "+Create a campaign" from the dropdown menu. (If you don't have a Bonjoro account, get yourself a FREE 14 day trial to try out this funnel)

Follow the prompts to select a campaign type, name your campaign and define a goal. 

In this case, your goal is to reactivate customers

A quick note: do make sure that campaigns focus on one goal at a time. Lumping multiple efforts into one campaign makes it difficult to track your results and form an understanding of which tactics work best for reactivation.

Build Workflows Around Your Churn Triggers (aka Your Customer Churn Red Flags)

Once you have campaigns set up, you'll then want to set up a workflow to determine which triggers to use based on the churn risk factors you’ve identified. 

Of course, those triggers will look different based on the type of business you're in. 

For SaaS providers, you might look for customers that haven't logged into their account for X number of days, didn't complete the onboarding, or like Groove, have super short sessions.

Consultants might look for clients that have stopped responding—or perhaps, have already sent a breakup email. 

Here's how you can set up your reactivation Workflow.

  • From there you can connect to your CRM or ESP and choose your Trigger event
  • Then select your Action. In this case your action is adding your customer contact to your Bonjoro account so you can send them a video
  • Then select "Configuration options" from the menu to pull through any custom attributes from your CRM that will give extra context about that customer
  • Finally, choose your reactivation campaign from the list to ensure that all tasks created from this workflow will only apply to this particular campaign.
  • Once the campaign goes live, for any time a customer activates a trigger, it automatically creates a task in your Bonjoro account and sends you a notification to record your video. 
  • When you log in to create your video message, all of your custom attributes are visible at the time of recording, making it easy to personalize your video.

Describe What You’re Offering 

You might follow a template like the one we've included below—which aims to reactivate customers by enticing them back with a new feature. 

The text keeps things casual and friendly—providing enough context so that the recipient knows what the video is about.

Source: Bonjoro Video Funnel Playbook

What to Include in Your Personalized Video

According to research from Econsultancy, using purchase history, CRM data, personal preferences, and behavioural data can increase ROI. Use that information to inform your video content so that your offer speaks to a specific pain point. 

Here's a few great examples you could deploy in your own strategy:

  • If you’re addressing low engagement, offer a personalized training session.
  • If the customer complained about a buggy feature, fix it, and reach out with a personalised explanation after you’ve made changes.
  • Or if your "at risk" customer has visited your downgrade or pricing page a lot in recent days, create a personalised offer just for them, like 25% off their next 3 months.

The key here is to be on the front foot; reducing churn is all about being proactive and not reactive.

Hey, and even if you have left it too late, and your customer cancels it's not too late to win them back! One of our clients, GoCampPro, a consulting company for summer camps, uses personalized video to drive registration among past customers, an effort that led to a 25% increase in registrations in 2019.

“I saw a 25% jump in course registration after a slough of Bonjoro's to past customers. The bar is so low that any personal contact is a big hit.” Travis Allison, Go CampPro

Want even more proven video funnels?

As you can see, video funnels are an excellent way to engage and reactivate customers. But it doesn't stop there.

Download our Video Funnel Playbook (un-gated: NO email required) to get over 30 tried & tested, high-converting video funnels for sales, marketing, and customer success teams.

BONUS TIPS: Long-term Retention Strategies 

  • Make it Easy to Get Help. While people appreciate knowing they can talk to another human if needed, providing a blend of self-service options across multiple channels can help you cover all of your bases. Knowledge-base content, live chat, blogs, tutorials, and a reliable way to get in touch go a long way.
  • Improve Onboarding Processes. For SaaS products especially, onboarding is enormous. By some estimates, between 40 - 60% of users will sign up for an account, log in once, and never come back. One of the main reasons this happens is that users can't identify the value during that first session. Consider embracing a custom onboarding process—or if that's not doable, an industry, or use case-specific series. We cover this in more detail here, but you'll want to guide new customers toward their first "win" as soon as possible, and slowly build up their knowledge.
  • Get Better at Targeting. In the end, no matter how great your products are, how attentive your service, or how irresistible your offer, it's all for naught when you're chasing the wrong audience. You want to find people who immediately understand the value of your product and see it as a worthwhile investment. Overly hard sells or customers focused more on getting something for free likely won't stick around for the long haul.

Wrapping Up

Here's the thing—it pays to retain customers. While it's exciting to focus on attracting shiny new leads and diving into new markets, your existing customers are the secret to sustainable growth.

To sum up, reactivating customers depends on identifying the signs a customer is about to churn and making a personal case for coming back for a second chance. Still, you’ll need to make sure you implement feedback and provide great service if you want your relationships to last.

Growth tips
About the author
Oliver Bridge
Growth Grizzly
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