Reactivation strategies - how to handle churned accounts?

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Su-Ann Vucko
Su-Ann Vucko Member Posts: 2 Navigator
edited August 2020 in Strategy & Planning

Hello wonderful GGR community! 

I need your help: Any tips on what has proven to be successful in reactivating your churned users? When to reach out to them? I would love to hear your experiences on this. 

Thanks a lot!

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  • matmoody
    matmoody Member Posts: 23 Thought Leader
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited August 2020
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    One idea that we've seen work is sending a survey first... sort of a modified net promoter score ("How likely are you to return?", or something about the problem your product/service solves). Then your first outreach isn't straight to a pitch and you'll find out which customers are worth spending more time on.
  • Natalie Williams
    Natalie Williams Member Posts: 14 Thought Leader
    edited August 2020
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    Matt, Love this idea. Have you found that a rating survey works better than an open ended question? ie Rating: How likely are you to return vs Open Ended: What problem/solution do you need in order to return?
  • matmoody
    matmoody Member Posts: 23 Thought Leader
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited August 2020
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    Yeah, I can't recall the engagement rate improvement but it was significant when we tested out a simple rating (low friction).

    We just piggybacked off of NPS calling it "Net Win-back Score" (super innovative lol), and based on the score then we have triggers setup (e.g. high nws -> notify sales to call asap, midrange -> email offer, low -> nothing, etc). It's also nice as we can track how former customers feel about returning over time.
  • Su-Ann Vucko
    Su-Ann Vucko Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited August 2020
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    Thanks for the input Matt! Having a survey with a simple rating sounds like a good approach for collecting exit data, although the reasons for why they left are not disclosed. Also, love the concept of "Net Win-back Score".

    I am curious, would you argue that sales is better equipped for handling the win-back of churned accounts or the CS team?

  • matmoody
    matmoody Member Posts: 23 Thought Leader
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited August 2020
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    We've found that, as long as you discover their reason for leaving during the exit process/offboarding, then you can connect this reason with the win-back score: "Cancelled because of X and now they are unlikely/likely to return Y months later". 

    The CS vs sales for win-back is probably dependent on your model, but for us it's started via CS and once we identify a "likely win-back" it is moved to sales.
  • Chris Guzek
    Chris Guzek Member Posts: 19 Thought Leader
    First Anniversary
    edited August 2020
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    Su-Ann,
    One of the ways we have done it is to ensure we have a proper exit interview and note any tangible reasons for their non-renewing. From there we bucket those reasons into two categories: Technical and Experience. We also try to ascertain who and for how long have they switch to the other vendor. 
    So for example: Client signed a 3 year deal in 2018. We look over that list and see who may be coming up for that renewal. If we have addressed that set of concerns, we try to engage with how we have changed.
    It has helped bring back some large clients who left for reasons that have been mitigated. It also helps when they are not happy with the new vendor. 
    Hope this helps.
    Chris
  • Amanda Cox
    Amanda Cox Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited August 2020
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    @Su-Ann Vucko We have introduced an option to "pause" in light of the crisis which would still be considered a closed-lost renewal - the idea is that if the timing was off or there was something going on in their business which made this renewal point unsuccessful, they had 12 months where we could pro-rate their contract and bring them back as customers with their previous software instance and all.

    In those cases, I've had success when I introduce periodic check-ins with the customer to genuinely ask how they are doing, how the business is doing and explore opportunities to work together - my cadence has been bimonthly. In terms of outreach, I have been looking at sending content / updates on the off-months from our calls (bimonthly), and in all of those touchpoints I have been offering free help (consulting or otherwise) with no strings attached. 

    I will say - my volume of these is low, thankfully, but it's been effective so far.
  • Parker Chase-Corwin
    Parker Chase-Corwin Member Posts: 9 Contributor
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    edited August 2020
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    IMHO, win-back initiatives are low reward, high effort campaigns that don't typically yield much result.  So, if you are going to spend precious resources on trying to win-back customers after they have churned, I would be very selective about which customers you target - specifically, knowing the reason and circumstances of their departure.  You would need to make a compelling offer to re-gain their attention (a discount which then undervalues your product) and overcome whatever the churn reason was.  I'd start by taking a really hard look at if your company delivered the value that they expected.  Was the churn the result poor experience, perceived lack of value, or did your solution not address their use case?  If so, you are unlikely to convert those back, and as much as you hated to lose them, don't throw more resources at them to convince them they were wrong. If it was a competitive take-away, you'll have to not only defend your solution (keep in mind they already made a pitch internally to move away from you), but also now convince them that their decision to move to the competitor was a bad one. 

    If the churn reason was more circumstantial (M&A, temporary budget cuts, new decision maker), you may have a shot at those when the time is right. I'd recommend a regular passive awareness campaign to stay on their radar and promote new developments with your solution.  If you know that they were missing a key feature and that feature now becomes available (this is hard to track across many customers) that could open a door. 

    For M&A - I would immediately put your BDRs on the acquiring company to get insights into what they already have in place and to see if it is meeting their needs. If there are gaps the new parent company is experiencing with the incumbent, you can help to connect the dots to a (hopefully) success-story with your acquired customer.

    In general, there is no harm in an ongoing "churned customer" campaign that can be run through marketing to keep them warm.  They may raise their hand again. However, I wouldn't recommend dedicating high cost resources at them unless something truly compelling has changed with your offering.