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Want to reduce churn? Host a breakup party.

Dear Ex,

I’ve really enjoyed our time together, but we both know that not everything has a fairytale ending. Let’s part ways in style: You’re invited to our breakup party! We’ll dance the night away, reminisce about the past over drinks and appetizers.

RSVP here.

-Formerly yours.

P.S. I’ve invited my other exes too.

Want to get the ones who got away into a room together to learn about what went wrong? The thought of attending a breakup party with previous romantic partners may cause you to wrinkle your nose. But hosting a breakup party for your customers is actually a great idea.

 

Why Host a Breakup Party?

Whether you’re a marketer or a community manager, you probably use the dirty ‘f’ word a lot: “Funnel.” Speaking directly to your customers, especially customers who have churned, teaches you about every part of your marketing funnel and where room exists for improvement. Maybe you are targeting the wrong demographic, or not communicating with them enough or too much. There may be a need for product improvements to generate customer referrals or make a secondary purchase easier. You may discover an unexpected competitor used as an alternative to you by your past customers. Discovering more information about their experiences will only keep you ahead of the game.  

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should be talking to “the ones that got away”:

1. Customer Retention Costs Less than Acquisition:

Customer retention and reactivation is far less costly than acquisition–one fifth of the price. If you focus on opportunities to reactivate and retain your customers–everyone wins.

2. Feedback Results in Loyalty:

When customers have opportunities to directly deliver user feedback to your team, they tend to use your product more and spend more as a result. Brainshark found that user groups participants renewed their product subscriptions at a 15% higher rate.

3. Insight into Where Your Value Proposition Wanes:

When you better understand why customers leave, then you can also better understand why customers come back. This insight should result in improved reactivation and retention campaigns.

4. Your Team Will Build a Better Product:

When your team is in touch with your customers and their needs, then they build better products. Often the people building a product are not the typical end-user. Opportunities to interact with customers keeps everyone from engineering to sales in tune with the customers who use the products they create.

5. Stand out from the Competition:

Customer engagement (or former customer engagement) offers a lot of room for creativity. Meaningful customer engagement really stands out in the current landscape of endless email requests for customer satisfaction surveys and robotic customer support. Make these conversations unique experiences with a low barrier to entry.

How to Host a Breakup Party

Where do you start? First, decide who you will invite i.e. customers who have churned over the past year.  Since these customers are no longer “in touch” with you, expect that you need to put more effort into this outreach. Plan a special event that will interest your customer demographic overall, and make it feel exclusive. For example, if you provide photo editing software for professional photographers, you may want to do a gallery showing at your office for a well-known local photographer and give him or her the opportunity to share tips with the audience.

Once you’ve found the right concept, email these customers at least 8 weeks in advance with a save the date and follow-up with reminders. You may invite 100 people and frame it as only having 25 spots, and mention the number of spots left with every invite with a RSVP follow-up request. Since presumably this cohort is no longer using your product, it is best to communicate through email or mail depending on the customer information you have available. Just remember, the more you breakup parties you host, the more you should expect them to decrease in size overtime as retention rates increase.