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How to Set up a Customer Winback Campaign

There are a lot of different strategies to win back lost customers. We'll show you how to set up one of the most successful, a customer winback campaign.

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Customer relationships, much like romantic ones, can be messy. Like our favorite on-again-off-again couples, customer retention isn’t always linear. 

While losing a customer isn’t the end of the road, it takes work to convince them you’re worth a second chance. 

Luckily we’ve got the customer makeup for every kind of breakup. We call it a customer winback campaign.

How to Set up a Customer Winback Campaign

Customer Winback Strategies 

If the relationship between you and your customer seemed to end on good terms, there’s always potential to earn their business back. When asking yourself how to get customers back, you just need to remember the three R’s of reengagement: 

  • Research
  • React
  • Respond

Research Lost Customers

The very first step in winning back an inactive text or email subscriber is to figure out why they left in the first place. A simple survey or personalized message asking for their feedback is the easiest way to get clarity. 

According to a synthesis of several studies on customer retention, some of the most common reasons a business loses customers include:

  • Pricing concerns
  • Poor customer experience/service
  • Diminished value
  • Poor reviews
  • Outdated sales/communication strategy 
  • The business stopped anticipating customer needs

If you decide to go the survey route instead of reaching out and asking a customer directly why they left, these are good jumping-off points to help form your questions.  

We miss you here at Parks Project. We’d love to know what’s kept you from shopping with us?
A. Prices too high
B. Not happy with product selection
C. Unhappy with customer service
D. Other

💡SimpleTexting Tip: SMS has a response rate 8x higher than email marketing. When it comes to collecting feedback, a text message survey is one of the most effective ways to do it.

React and Respond to Customer Feedback

Genuine customer feedback in this context is worth its weight in gold. It’s important to take in what you’re hearing and analyze the trends. Over time, if you notice a theme to what caused previously engaged customers to leave, you may consider making changes to your business. 

But in the meantime, it’s important to react to the feedback and respond immediately with a temporary solution. 

Based on the common customer complaints above, here are some reactions you can take right away as a first swing at winning back their business. 

Pricing concernsExplain the reason behind your pricing structure to help the customer understand what they’re paying for. Follow up by offering a discount to welcome them back if they should so choose. 
Diminished valueOffer to send replacement items or services and follow up with a look back at their purchasing history so you can share a report on what, if anything, has changed.
Poor reviewsRespond with examples of positive reviews as well as recent customer testimony/case studies. 
Outdated sales/communication strategyAsk them how they would prefer to be reached, and offer an alternative. 
The business stopped anticipating customer needsOffer to set them up on an automated schedule for orders and store information on product preferences to help better tailor your marketing materials. 
Poor customer serviceApologize for the unsavory experience and collect details of what happened. Investigate the situation, then report back to the customer to let them know you’ve followed through with the issue fully.

What Is a Customer Winback Campaign?

The three R’s mentioned above are the anatomy of something called a customer winback strategy or campaign. Also known as an e-commerce winback campaign

The goal of winback marketing is to connect lapsed customers with content made specifically for them. 

This could include phone calls, emails, or text messages (depending on their preference) all focused on earning their business back. Primarily, you’ll aim to solve the pain point that drove them away in the first place. 

If your business has a CRM system, you should be able to pull data on customers who are slipping away or have gone cold. If that’s the case, you can use digital communication tools to automate your win-back series saving you valuable time and effort.

How to Set up a Mobile Customer Winback Campaign

With mobile marketing being our specialty, we find that text message winback campaigns can be highly effective. 

We favor a mobile customer winback campaign with five or more text messages scheduled out or sent manually to inactive customers. The content of your messages should be written in-line with your brand’s voice and communication style. However, the goal of every message remains the same. 

1. Soft-Touch

Sending an out of the blue offer to a customer who hasn’t engaged with you in a while is like trying to cook a turkey in a non-preheated oven. Instead, the first message in your campaign should be a simple greeting. You’ll want to acknowledge it’s been a while in your subject line and let them know you’re thinking about them. 

The purpose of a message like this is to put your business back on your customer’s radar before you ask anything of them. Their inactivity could be a result of just forgetting about you. In that case, all it may take is a little hello to reduce your churn rate. 

Hi Molly! It’s been a while since we’ve seen you at Wayfare. Just a reminder we’re dropping our holiday decor collection this week. Happy shopping! 🎄

2. Research

Just as we touched on earlier, your next message should put feelers out as to why a customer has been absent. Not only does this step give you a better idea of how to proceed, but it can also help you remove customers from your database who aren’t worth your resources. For example, if you ran an online glasses store and a customer recently got LASIK, they may no longer be in need of your product or services. In that case, they can most likely be removed from your list.

We miss you at Wayfare! We’d love to know what’s kept you from shopping with us?
A. Quality of furniture
B. Poor selection
C. Too expensive
D. Other

3. Reward

Once you have a better idea of what’s keeping people away from you, you can offer one of the tailored solutions we laid out above. If you find a customer doesn’t provide you with anything specific, a financial incentive is always a good default. For 89% of consumers, price is the main factor affecting purchasing decisions.

We know how much you love a room brightening print. Enter code BOGOPRINT at checkout before 11/15 for a BOGO 8”x10” print on us!

4. Create Urgency

If your rewards and surveys aren’t making a difference and your open rates are still low, you still have a few shots at getting a customer’s attention. For text message marketing specifically, all a customer has to do to stop receiving your messages is reply with STOP. So when a customer doesn’t unsubscribe, it’s usually an indication they don’t want to shut you out completely. 

You can take advantage of that by sending a message saying “if you no longer wish to hear from us, we can remove you from our text/email list.” This creates a sense of urgency and curiosity that could be the push your customers need to revisit your brand. 

Image for sending MMS
Molly, we’d hate to be a bother. So if you’d no longer like to receive messages from Wayfare we can remove you from our list. We’ll miss you, but we understand!

5. Goodbye…for Now

In a last-ditch effort to recapture customer attention, the last text in your winback campaign may feel counterintuitive—but it’s a goodbye message. Following through with your promise from the previous message, the key element to your farewell text is to include instructions on re-enrolling. 

You’ll want to let customers know it’s only goodbye for now. Should they ever want to rejoin your marketing list, they’re welcome to do so. All they have to do is “x,y,z.” This call to action is one last opportunity to remind them why they joined in the first place.

Hi Molly! This will be our last message for now. But if you ever want to receive texts from Wayfare again just text “UNSTOP” to 900900. The coupons and couch pics will be waiting for you!

Just remember. If Jay-Z can cheat on Beyoncé without their marriage ending, you can get inactive subscribers to open your emails and text messages.

Now get out there and start winning back some customers!

Meghan Tocci
Meghan Tocci

Meghan Tocci is a content strategist at SimpleTexting. When she’s not writing about SaaS, she’s trying to teach her puppy Lou how to code. So far, not so good.

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