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Analysis, Retention Tips

How to Create A Reactivation Plan of Value

Getting a lapsed customer back on board is the first step toward considering them “reactivated.” The question is: Where do you go from there?

Matt Duczeminski
December 26 2019

No matter the industry, we can all agree that winning back churned customers is good for business.

But there’s more to the equation than bringing a churned customer back to the fold. Winning over your lapsed customers isn’t the ultimate goal: keeping them engaged and providing continuous value is. You’ll likely have invested a good amount of time, resources, and capital into re-engaging these lapsed customers—and you’ll want to make sure this investment pays off. In this article, we’ll look at how you can reactivate lapsed customers while providing maximum value to your audience.

Redefining Reactivated Customers

After going through the process of re-engaging and reactivating a customer who’s checked out, you’ll know a lot more about them. You’ll understand why they churned in the first place, helping you to further understand their needs and expectations when engaging with your brand. You can then use this information to develop your customer personas and create more specific audience segments.

You’ll also be able to specifically identify what brought them back—a huge step in helping them succeed.

As Optimove’s VP Revenue explains, you’ll want to compare their pre- and post-reactivation engagement rates and LTV. This can help determine whether your targeting efforts have been on point, or if your personas and audience segments need some tweaking. Knowing what caused your customer to leave, what caused them to return, and what gets them most engaged will enable you to better meet their needs moving forward.

Redefining Your Customer-Facing Definition of Success

Part of redefining your reactivated customers’ personas is redefining their goals for doing business with your brand.

This involves connecting all of the above information to better understand their goals.

A few examples:

  • Customer A churns after fulfilling their initial goals through a company’s basic services. A few months later, they return with additional goals that the company’s higher-tiered services can assist with.
  • Customer B churns because they couldn’t achieve their goals via the company’s services. But after trying out your competitors’ services, they’ve decided to give you another chance.
  • Customer C abandons their initial goal and churns through no fault of the company’s. They return months later, intent on achieving their original goals.

In each of these cases, the customer’s goals have shifted. It wouldn’t make sense to engage with them as if they’re still striving for their initial goals under those original circumstances.

Guide to reengaging churned customers

Revamping Your Internal Definition of Success

Customers can easily re-churn after only a short time back on board. Defining “success” as scoring one or two additional sales out of a reactivated customer is shortsighted, and leaves potential business on the table. This step involves setting goals and expectations for your reactivation initiatives. The idea is to get an idea of what your re-engaged customers’ journeys look like—then to determine how you can improve those trajectories. This will enable you to set clear milestones and KPIs for your team.

A few examples:

  • When reactivating high value, highly engaged customers, spend time increasing their order values by providing upsell or cross-sell offers
  • When reactivating high value but hesitant customers, focus on increasing their engagement intensity and/or frequency
  • When reactivating low value, hesitant customers, your goal might be to keep them providing a steady stream of minimal value to your business

Once you’ve set these broad internal goals, you’ll want to get more specific to the individual circumstance.

  • Instead of aiming to “increase the customer’s AOV,” strive to reach a specific order amount
  • Instead of just aiming for a reactivated customer to engage more frequently, nail down a realistic average purchase frequency based on their needs and history
  • Focus on maintaining your low-value customers’ AOV, purchase frequency, and overall LTV on a level appropriate to them

Your reactivated customers will provide some additional value to your business. But they won’t all provide the same value—and they shouldn’t be expected to. Stay realistic with your expectations of reactivated customers, and you’ll have a better chance of keeping them on board well into the future.

Customer Reactivation: Starting Over From Where You Left Off

Everything we’ve said thus far has been based on two key ideas:

  • Your reactivated customers are at least somewhat familiar with your services
  • You already know a lot about them from the very start of this second (or third…) go-round

After any amount of time away, you and your reactivated customer will need to become reacquainted with one another. As we discussed earlier, the customer’s goals will have likely evolved. Ensure that all the information you have on your returning customers is accurate and up to date.

You may have improved, enhanced, or tweaked your services since last engagement. So you’ll need to provide the updated instructions and correct support as returning customers re-engage with your services. If this all sounds like customer onboarding, well…that’s because it kind of is.

You can’t just assume your reactivated customers will be able (or willing) to get up to speed without any assistance on your end. And you can’t assume they’ll become engaged to the level you’d like them to on their own accord.

In focusing on “re-onboarding” returning customers, you’ll ensure they know how to get the most value from your services. And by reacquainting with your customers throughout this process, you’ll have a much more accurate idea of the value they can provide your business. You’ll then be able to set realistic, attainable goals for your reactivation initiatives—and stay laser-focused on doing what needs to be done to accomplish them.

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Matt Duczeminski

Matt is a professional writer specializing in helping entrepreneurs improve relationships with their customers. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Sarah, and he'd probably get a lot more work done if his cat would stop bothering him.

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