How We Re-Activate Dormant Customers

*Note*  Our customers are not subscribers, but use us on a transactional basis.  I think the principles still apply, but wanted to point that out.

Ideally as a CSM, you and each one of your customers form a strong relationship as you expertly guide them from success to success, and off into the glorious sunset.

The reality, is you’re going to have a lot of people who are distant, unresponsive, and eventually disappear.  Though it sucks, that is some people’s preferred interaction style, so what do you do when someone becomes dormant?  Do you rage, cry, shout obscenities at random strangers?

We thought about doing a few of these, but instead decided to combat dormant customers in two ways:  Setting up the relationship early in the customer lifetime and automating reactivation later by choosing criteria.

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Setting Up the Relationship Early

You need to accept that each relationship won’t be perfect…..deep breath, you can do it.  Ok, now it’s time to set expectations for the relationship.  

What we did was ask each customer the best way to get ahold of them (text, email, call, carrier pigeon, etc), and let them know that we will reach out if we think we can help them be more successful AND asked permission to contact them if we saw engagement drop off.

This provided a base to the relationship and the expectation that we would contact them when it was beneficial to them, NOT to just “check-in”.  It also gave us their preferred mode of contact.

Set Criteria for Reactivation

You need to decide how best to reach out to dormant customers and when you should do that.  Along with that, if you can automate any part of the process to reduce the time needed that is fantastic.

We realized with a large number of customers per CSM, it would be really hard to follow up with everyone in a customized way.  We decided to automate our attempts to reactivate accounts that had gone dormant as a first pass.

Our criteria was pretty straightforward.  If someone hadn’t engaged (logged in or posted a job) in 90 days, we would automate an email / text (not able to do this if the customer prefers a call) with basic personalization that offered them a discount on their next job posting.  

We’d also send a reply to that email if they hadn’t logged back in or replied in 2 days (always send a reply email to customers a day or two after if they don’t interact, it’s a great way to increase your response rate by a lot!).

Very simple criteria and setup!  The first email has a solid 28% open rate and the reply email has a 29% open rate.  The best part is that these emails get about 9% of all dormant accounts to re-activate and post a job!

After that, we can prioritize a more personalized outreach via phone or other channel, but automating it this way definitely saves us some time.
For us the most helpful things we did was setting up the relationship upfront, and automating part of the reactivation process to reduce time spent.

*These Customer Success posts are meant illustrate things we’ve learned at Proven, so they may not translate perfectly to your company / industry.  For context, the majority of our Saas customers are low LTV  “pro-sumers” who are generally SMBs*

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  1. Hey, Alex!
    I bumped into your article while searching for some information about customer reactivation. This is a terrific article with so much great information!
    I also wrote on customer reactivation which also talks about churn rates that you might find interest in. It gives you my perspective on the topic.
    Let me know if you want to check it out and i’ll post the link here.
    Thanks again for sharing! It was definitely a good read.


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