Postcards

3 Big Reasons Why Customers Churn

November 21, 2017
Autor
Abram Isola

Customers are quirky. It doesn’t matter how well you know your customer base. It doesn’t matter how well your company suits their needs. Some of them are still going to leave you.

Maybe for a perfectly valid reason. Or maybe because they hate your new logo, or your customer service rep pronounced their name wrong one time.
It may take years of AI development before customer churn becomes totally predictable. But until then, you can still assess the most common reasons people leave—and then launch targeted customer retention campaigns to keep them.

Here are three of the biggest reasons why customers become ex-customers, plus a few high-impact campaign ideas to win each group back.

Reason #1: It’s a Money Thing

Somehow, your pricing and their budget got out of sync. Maybe they simply tightened their belts, or maybe your rates went up. Still, losing this group of customers is far from inevitable.

Some warning signs

  • A previously full-price shopper starts exclusively using discounts.
  • A regular customer starts buying less and less frequently.
  • Someone downgrades to your lowest pricing tier.

Campaign ideas to keep them

If someone’s going through a lean period, they may just need a month or two of discounts. One of the easiest retention tricks for this group is to set up a postcard drip campaign, sending out a discount offer once every few weeks. You can reinforce the offer with a simultaneous email campaign, or maybe even a phone call.

Here’s a simple but effective discount postcard from JetBlue that might well prompt a passenger to remain a loyal customer even as their travel budget shrinks:

jetBlue
Source: Peter Chase

Reason #2: They’re Feeling Disappointed

No company is perfect—and even one strike can take you out of the game. The 2017 Five9 Customer Service Index reported that 45% of customers consider themselves “very unlikely” to keep doing business with a company after just one poor customer service experience.
It’s not just customer service that can break up a customer relationship. Unexpected closures, tech problems, and other one-off disruptions can prompt customers to look elsewhere.

Some warning signs

  • Poor customer-service survey ratings
  • Multiple refund requests
  • An uptick in support tickets
  • Disappearing after an event that affected a whole group of customers

Campaign ideas to keep them

Bayside (front)
bayside (back)

When you’re certain you’ve disappointed someone, honesty can be the best policy.


If you’re asking for customer-service feedback or tracking support tickets by a customer, you can easily create a segment of obviously unhappy customers in your marketing automation solution.


Then, you can send those customers to a direct mail platform like Inkit and automatically trigger a postcard that gives them an extra discount, freebie, or special invitation to connect.


That’s a good idea even if the problem wasn’t your fault. Here’s a charming postcard Bayside Delicatessen sent its customers after a truck crash closed its doors:

It acknowledges the disruption with candor and humor, then gives customers a discount to bring them back in after months away.
Check out the full campaign here, courtesy of Renee Christensen.

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Reason #3: Their Attention Wandered

Some people are going to play the field, no matter how happy they’ve been with past interactions. Take this representative story from a commenter on Ramit Sethi’s blog:

“I followed a new workout routine consistently for 17 weeks (a first for me) and got decent results. Soon after, I ended up talking to a major online influencer about a new program he was starting and immediately decided to switch to his plan for the next 6 months. I had no clue about the effectiveness of his program, but I did know that this was someone with whom I wanted to start a working relationship based on my other goals.”

Again—customers are quirky. They’re distractible. For this group, effective retention marketing means making your business so engaging and appealing they never think to wander away.

Some warning signs

  • They stop opening your emails.
  • They stop logging into your app.
  • They stop making purchases for no obvious reason.

Campaign ideas to keep them

As with disappointed customers, you can segment and target restless customers using your marketing automation platform. (Check out our intro to automated winback campaigns to get started.)
You have many tactics available to retain novelty-seeking customers, from creative merchandising to awesome content. I’d argue that direct mail is especially effective in this type of retention campaign: it’s unexpected, it’s eye-catching, and it’s something many of your competitors aren’t doing.
Sometimes, it’s enough to shine a light on cool but lesser-known things you offer, like this postcard from Zupan’s Markets. (Possible reaction: Wait, they make their own sausages? They have beer stewards onsite?!)

Zupan’s Markets
Source: Mel L. Gutierrez

Or, if your company really only does one thing, you can retain interest by creating offbeat offers like this one from The Diamond Broker:

The Diamond Broker
Source: Shari Finch

Why would a diamond store be giving away cheese spreaders? To bring in the kind of curiosity-driven customers who’d ask that question, of course.
You can’t keep every customer, but with retention campaigns like these, you can definitely keep more of them—quirks and all.
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