Churn Win-Back Strategies to Boost Your SaaS Retention

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SaaS customers will say goodbye to a product for a lot of reasons.

Maybe it's too expensive. Maybe they think they can find something better suited to their needs elsewhere—or maybe they already have.

Whatever the case, there’s a reason, and that reason usually isn’t personal. Churned customers simply want to find the product that’s best for them. And while they may have come to the conclusion that you aren’t it, that doesn’t mean the conclusion has to be permanent.

With the right churn win-back strategies, you can prove to former customers that your product offers exactly what they need.

1. Make your churning customer an offer they can’t refuse

Cue The Godfather music.

Depending on the reason why a customer is leaving, it may be possible to bring them back simply by making the right offer.

Imagine your team subscribed to a SaaS product but never got the opportunity to really use it and derive value. Maybe your workload increased and the product fell off the radar, or perhaps you started using it but found it a little too complicated.

Naturally, when your subscription lapses, you don’t renew. But what if you were given a discount to renew or a couple more months with the product, for free? And more importantly, what if you were given the support you need to realize quick wins and see real value?

Of course, you want to be very careful how often you extend free offers. After all, you don’t want to become known as the business that gives its product away to anyone who threatens to leave.

If you can see a customer has used your product extensively and still decided not to continue with your product, this probably isn’t an appropriate retention strategy for them.

However, for customers that never had the chance to really use your product in the first place, the right offer and the right support could turn things around. 

Remember: this strategy only works if the customer derives value during that extended period, so do whatever it takes to make them fall back in love with your product.

2. Offer to pause your customer’s subscription

There are many reasons why a customer might have to step away from your product. If their reason has to do with budget, they might not actually want to leave at all.

In 2020, personal income declined by about 1.1% on average, and business income was even more severely impacted. Companies that had to close experienced profit declines of up to 87%.

Naturally, these figures aren’t really reflective of the average year. However, they do indicate a broader truth: pandemic or not, many customers will experience times when a SaaS subscription just doesn’t fit their finances.

If you end a subscription for a customer that can no longer pay, you’re probably severing the relationship forever. There’s another way.

By offering exiting customers that can’t pay the opportunity to pause their account, you make it much easier for budget-related churn to sort itself out in due time. And with adaptive recurring billing software, pausing accounts can be accomplished with a few clicks, making this an easy solution.

Pause-Service-Churn-Win-Back-1By pausing the account rather than ending it, you make the barrier to re-entry much smaller. The easier it is for a customer to return, the more likely they will.

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3. Give them a glimpse into the feature-functionality future

Churn isn’t always due to budget or inactivity. Sometimes customers leave because your product just doesn't quite deliver the features and functionality they were expecting.

Unfortunately, these customers may be the hardest to win back. They know what they’re looking for and maybe you just don’t have it.

Not yet anyways.

The average software experiences a major update every 1-2 years. And many solutions feature shorter developmental cycles in which smaller features and functionality are added and augmented an ongoing basis. In fact, one of the SaaS industry's hallmarks is that products are in a constant state of improvement.

You may be able to bring some customers back simply by telling them what comes next.

By showing what features and functionality enhancements are part of your SaaS business’s development roadmap and how these will meet their needs, you make it easier for churning customers to stick around or come back later.

4. Transform a churn into a subscription migration

Rather than simply canceling out customers that no longer wish to pay for your product, consider offering to migrate them down to a “freemium” account.

Let your customers know that by selecting this option, their information remains in the system and they retain access to some features.

Even though the customer is no longer paying, you’re keeping them engaged. And they’ll always have the option to upgrade again with ease.

5. Send a ‘we've missed you’ email:

‘We've missed you’ emails walk the knife's edge between annoyance and success. However, for companies like Skillshare, these types of communication have served as a dependable way to bring customers back.

churn win back strategy we miss you email

A blanket email campaign targeting former customers may or may not yield the results you’re looking for. However, you may find success by taking a more targeted approach.

  • Take exit surveys: As customers are on their way out, try to collect exit surveys. Not only will this help you understand why they left, but it will also provide broader insights into the overall customer experience you provide. You might also be able to use this information to decide which win-back strategies should be used with the customer in question.
  • Make a churn database: Use your exit survey data to categorize churned customers based on why they left. This will make it easier to address the specific causes behind churn for more preventative action going forward.
  • Provide custom offers in your email: If your ‘We've missed you’ email doesn’t address the specific reason the customer left, it won’t do much good. A coupon may be nice for the customer that left due to price, but that’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution.

Email campaigns do have a proven track record, offering an average ROI of 122%. By addressing the actual reason a customer left, you vastly increase your chances of finding success.

6. Maintain their data, maintain the relationship

SaaS systems create and maintain a lot of data. Depending on the type of SaaS business you run, even customers that ultimately decide to leave might not like the idea of having that information disappear.

You may be able to maintain your relationship with some customers by offering to store their data. By charging a small fee to keep their info on hand, you do two things:

  • Establish new recurring revenue: It won’t be nearly as much as the cost of the subscription, but some revenue is better than no revenue.
  • Motivate the customer to return: Customers paying you to maintain their data have a clear motive to return. After all, they don’t want their fee to be for naught, right?

Customers that choose this option likely have a true interest in coming back eventually. You further increase your chances of success by maintaining the lines of communication. Feature-functionality updates and even special offers may lower the barrier to re-entry for these customers.

Keep the door open, even after a customer churns

Churn win-back strategies won’t work for some customers. In fact, don’t be surprised if you see these campaigns fail in many cases.

But at the end of the day, by keeping customer exits friendly, you open the door to continuing that relationship somewhere down the line.

Simply by implementing these strategies, you show customers they’re deeply valued and worth trying to hold onto. While that might not have an immediate impact on retention, it could matter eventually.

The world of SaaS changes quickly and frequently. One year from now, your business will be a lot different than it is today. If you make the exit experience pleasant and pain-free it will be easier and more appealing for churned-out customers to make their way back.

Tags: SaaS SaaS Strategy Churn

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