Win back canceled customers

As an SaaS, you know that’s it’s important to give equal attention to prospecting as well as retaining. However, what about those customers who’ve canceled? Can you do anything to win back customers who’ve decided to leave your business?

Absolutely. No decision is set in stone, and you have a secret advantage in winning back lost customers before they’re gone for good. Interested?

In this post, we’ll discuss easy steps you can implement right away to rescue canceled customers from oblivion. Let’s get started.

Here’s a sample exit survey that you can customize for your SaaS.

Why Is It Important to Keep Canceled Customers

Before we delve into all of the strategies of winning back canceled customers, let’s discuss why it’s important in the first place.

For some of us, our pride may get in the way. After all, if a customer wants to leave, why should we even waste our time trying to woo them back? They’ve made their choice to leave, so what’s the point?

The point is that customers who’ve initiated a cancellation may not actually want to cancel at all. There are many reasons why customers leave your SaaS and not all of them generate from a dissatisfaction with your service. Here are a few reasons why customers may leave your SaaS:

  • A change in the key users of your product— perhaps your key advocate left the business or switched positions
  • Your customer is unable to pay at the same rate due to a shift in cash flow
  • The irresistible pull of competitor marketing (and lower prices)

Of course, some customers leave because they’re unhappy with your SaaS in some way. Here are the top reasons:

  • You’ve provided poor customer service
  • Your customer onboarding is useless or non-existent because you did not adequately explain how to use your product
  • Your customer slowly disengaged from your product due to poor user experience
  • Your customer doesn’t truly understand your value or see a return on their investment
  • Your product isn’t the right fit for their needs

Whether you’re dealing with good old fashioned buyer’s remorse or a lack of proper communication on your end, the result is the same: Another churned customer and another spot to fill. But just because they’ve hit the cancel button, it doesn’t mean that they’ll actually leave. There’s still a chance to demonstrate your value and convince them to come back.

Let’s look at tried and true win-back strategies.

Pick up the Phone

Win back canceled customers

Email is the go-to line of communication for most SaaS. There’s a very good reason for that: Email works. However, it’s also expected.

If you truly want a canceling customer to sit up and take notice, you need to pick up the phone and call them.

Very, very few SaaS do this, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so effective.

While it’s still a good idea to email (which we’ll explore next), don’t forget to call, too. I can hear your reasons for hesitation now.

You’re saying to yourself, I don’t have the ability to call every canceled customer. That would take forever.

However think about it like this: If you have 60 customers who churn in a month, one person can easily reach out to them within the span of two days. Within one hour, you can make 12 five-minute phone calls. And within 5 hours, you can make 60 of those calls, covering every churned customer for that month.

But keep in mind that number is pretty generous. Not everyone will pick up. Some people will only listen for one minute. Others will engage with you for 10 minutes. But on an average afternoon or two, you can cover a lot of ground.

Isn’t it worth it? Do the math by calculating the canceled customer’s lifetime value. If you hire a dedicated customer support person at $15 to conduct 5 hours of callbacks, you’ll pay $75, but you may gain hundreds more than that by winning back a customer who was sure to churn.

Send Out an Exit Survey

Next up on the win-back agenda is to send out an exit survey to canceling customers.

This is a standard SaaS practice that isn’t always standard. A lot of SaaS simply never think to follow up with canceling customers. They may have initiated the cancellation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t convince them to stay or at least learn something from their time with you.

Exit surveys, though short, can provide a wealth of information that you can use to win back that very customer in the near future.

For example, if a customer canceled because of financial restraints, you can reply with an offer to downgrade their services, or present an a la carte option where they pay less for only the services that they need. Even though your terms of agreement have changed, you’re still keeping that customer and have an opportunity to upgrade them in the future. That’s just one way that an exit survey can help.

To be most effective, exit surveys should be sent out automatically. You should strike while the iron is hot and the reason(s) for canceling are still top of mind. You want an honest and fresh answer from your churning customers, therefore timing is a factor.

Exit surveys should also be short and to the point. Whenever possible offer multiple choice to reduce resistance. Canceled customers don’t want to waste 30 minutes of their lives writing essay questions for you. Keep your survey under 10 questions, and make it answerable in 5 minutes or less. Of course, you can also ask customers to share any additional thoughts, concerns, or suggestions, but make this optional.

Create a Win-Back Campaign

Armed with what you know about your canceled customers, it’s time to mount a win-back campaign. Here’s how to do it:

Segment Your Canceled Customers

As we mentioned above, customers leave for a variety of reasons. You should not try to win every customer back using the same tactics because it simply won’t work.

Instead, group together canceled customers based on their reason for leaving your SaaS (i.e. financial, customer service/ support related, not seeing a return on investment). Then, create a solution to answer each grieved customer’s problem.

  • If they’re leaving for financial reasons, offer to downgrade their account immediately and hassle-free.
  • If they’re leaving because they can’t understand how to use your product (this is often demonstrated by a sharp decline in user activity immediately after signup), offer a personalized tour of your product along with a consultation on how to get the most out of your product.
  • If they’re leaving due to the loss of a key user, offer to provide free training for the new users.

Reach Out to Canceled Customers

There are two ways to reach out to canceled customers on your campaign to win them back. The first option is email. Sending a win-back email is usually the go-to, and definitely recommended. If you do send win-back emails, don’t just stop with one. Send a follow up email in an attempt to re-engage your customer. It may look like this:

  • Email #1: Exit Survey
  • Email #2: We’re Sad to See You Go, Take This Offer (A discount or another incentive based on their reason for churning)
  • Email #3: Can we still be friends? (Ask that they connect with you on social media or continue to subscribe to your email for future offers)

Your second option for reaching out to canceled customers requires Facebook. With Facebook, you can create a remarketing campaign targeted specifically to canceled customers. Entice them with the same offers that you would via email. Offer case studies, extended trials, discounts, coupons, and more.

Final Thoughts

Remember that you’re able to win back customers based on the fact that you won them over in the first place. Out of all of your competition, they choose you. You have the fighting advantage here because they’re already familiar with your brand and your product and they want to work with you. Use the above strategies to convince your customers that they can still find success with your SaaS.

Don’t forget to download this sample exit survey to share with your churning customers.

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