Churn is a problem with all products. Some customers will churn because your competitor is cheaper, some because they no longer have a need for your product, but most of your customers churn because either they never understood your product, or they felt you never cared about them. Regular contact is key. It’s important to send a retention email to re-engage customers who have become inactive.  

First, know when you’re about to lose a customer 

You'll know you're losing a customer when you see gradual disengagement. Activity churn is where a user is inactive for a while before they quit. It's important you act during this window, because once a user is gone, they're very difficult to get back.

Intercom comes with pre-defined segments, one of which is the slipping away segment. This segment automatically catches users that are about to churn so you should keep a close eye on it. The default is 30 days but, you can edit it to whatever makes sense for your business. When you click on the segment above the user list, the filters for that segment will appear on the left, and you can edit from there.

When to send a message  

At Intercom we’ll message our users after 30 days of inactivity, but you should make a call on what means ‘slipping away’ for your business. The filter here would be ‘Last seen more than 30 days ago’. Now every time a user is about to slip away they’ll get your activation email. Note: your users will only get this message the first time they’re about to slip away (Intercom never sends the same message to a person twice). 

We would not recommend emailing users who have been inactive for more than 180 days or who have never opened any of your emails as this may damage your sending reputation.

What to say to stop customers from slipping away 

  • You need to act fast before these folk quit. Your message should thank them for being a customer, and give them a compelling reason to return to the app, such as the launch of your new features. (Pro tip: Link to your product updates page so that you don’t have to remember to update this message each time you ship a cool new feature). 
  • If you can't get them to return, ask them why, so that you can learn from what went wrong and work to prevent it from happening again in the future. 
  • Respond promptly and address any questions or concerns they have. 

Once this auto message is sending, you'll see your inactive users becoming active again.

Write your next message 

Next, learn how to announce your new features and get customers using them.

If you're just getting started with messages, you might be interested in the series of message templates we put together over on our blog. They'll to help you get your messaging strategy off the ground. Check out the guide now

If you want to learn how to automate your customer engagement, register for our upcoming webinar.

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