Insights | Customer Experience

Goodbye Isn’t Forever: Building Effective Customer Re-engagement Programs

Creating a customer re-engagement program isn't easy, but it is critical

Creating a customer re-engagement program isn

Are you losing customers? The relationship doesn’t have to end with a client exit.  

One of the most easily tapped sources for new customers is the pool of lapsed customers—and winning them back could be as simple as giving them a good reason to return. A lost customer is not a lost cause. That’s why customer re-engagement is such an important piece of the customer experience process. 

As mentioned in Mend Your Leaky Bucket: Ten Best Practices to Higher Customer Retention, a proactive, anticipatory customer retention effort is crucial. Yet the reality is that some customers will lapse or just outright quit our companies for a variety of reasons. Either we’ve disappointed them, they found a better deal, their budget changed, or our products weren’t the best fit in the first place. Now, the best bet is to make amends and re-create value for them. Not every customer can be won back, but many can, and the effort to do so is extremely worthwhile. 

Key questions to ask: 

  • What is being done—if anything—to win back lost customers? 
  • If nothing, what might be done for the customers who remain? 
  • Which customers do we want to return? 

There’s a compelling case for creating a strong winback strategy. First, it positions a business ahead of their competition. When tightly-aligned customer acquisition, retention, and re-engagement programs are fully deployed, customers won’t even think about the competition. And it’s a shortcut to better revenues. Consider: 

  • It costs 60-70% more to acquire a new customer than to keep those you have 
  • A 5% increase in retention can result in up to a 90% increase in bottom line profits 
  • There is a 20-40% probability of successfully selling to lost customers

Building an efficient customer re-engagement program starts with an understanding of business priorities as well as the unique needs of the customers to be resold. Then, a data-driven, customer-centric program is used to directly target former customers, recreating the client relationship in a way that supports the business’ specific goals and driving that all important revenue stream. 

There are several ways to design a winback program, but all of them follow this basic pattern: 

Recognize customer loss, evaluate the problem holistically, and measure lost revenues

First, we must determine who left the company and why, and the value of that loss. To do this, we need to create an exit process, whether that’s an interview with a client upon their departure or an automated tracking process that surveys customers on why they leave. Understanding the loss problem provides the necessary details to resolve the issue that drove them away in the first place or to create new, intriguing offers for former customers.  

It’s also important to determine whether lost accounts were profitable, neutral, or not profitable, because not all customers should be re-engaged.  

Build a systemic customer re-engagement process and use it consistently

Here, data-driven insights can define individual customers’ needs and entice them back in ways they will find specifically valuable. Data can also determine how long customers have been gone, and whether contracts with new vendors are about to expire. This allows us to find out if our competition is meeting their needs and positions us to have a renewed conversation with lapsed customers about changes to the business and offers that will better serve them this time around. 

Data and health monitoring also allows us to develop an “at-risk” profile to help prevent future loss. All of this can be then integrated into the retention management system—upstream—so we don’t keep losing customers for the same reasons in the future. 

Create targeted conversations and offers to win lost customers back

Once the customer profiles, priorities, and pain points have been identified, it’s time to leverage outbound call campaigns and digital marketing to reengage former customers. Whether by phone or email, let those customers know how much they’re valued and that it will be worth their while to talk about a return. Rebuilding the relationship during this process creates trust, which is as valuable as the sale. Where appropriate, special service level agreements or personal involvement can demonstrate just how committed the company is to the cause.  

Regardless of how it’s done, the most important thing is proving that the issues that drove them away the first time have been resolved on a systemic level. 

Once these steps have been developed and implemented, it’s all about measuring progress, adjusting where needed, and recasting efforts to drive more re-engagement and thereby accelerate company growth. 

A deliberate, proactive focus on reselling to former customers is a key component of the integrated customer experience that your company—any company—must commit to if they are serious about attaining brand excellence and customer trust.  

High retention is not a default; it’s best achieved by design. And that means having a well thought-out and carefully executed strategy. 

A continuous investment in ongoing conversations with customers differentiates your company from your competitors and firmly establishes a strong link to customers’ long-term loyalty. If designed correctly, a customer re-engagement program is a low-risk, high-reward customer-centric acquisition strategy. 

Interested in more specific tips on following those three steps? Sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay up to date with the latest CX insights as we continue this series. 

Not sure where to start with your winback program? Let RevGen Partners help. Contact us to set up a quick chat about customer re-engagement. 




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