How to identify a customer break up

Breakups are hard, unfortunately, customer breakups are commonplace. Everyone knows people change over time. Customers fall in and out of love with products, employees move in and out of positions, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it. No matter how commonplace customer breakups are, there are always true tell signs that they’re approaching.

Lucky for you — some breakups can be prevented.

A customer relationship is a lot like a romantic one. You spend some time gussying up, make sure you rehearse the right things to say, whip out your best clothes and put on your best face. After the initial awkward encounter, they start to get to know the real you. They poke around a bit, see what makes you tick, and start to build a connection with you. Sometimes things work out; things get serious and they start to forget how life was before you met. Sometimes, however, things get a little messy — you lose touch, something falls off the map, and next thing you know they’re seen walking down the street with someone else in their arms.

How can you prevent this? How can you make sure that you’re the one (the product) they see whisking them off their feet? How can you get them to fall in love with your offerings over someone elses'? Is there a true-tell way of seeing the signs? Of course, there is.

Relationships are tricky, but they’re not impossible to figure out. The issue is, that when relationships are good they’re often taken for granted. When you’re in a great spot with someone and you’ve been with them for a while, they start to know you inside and out. You’ll buy their favourite chocolates and slip them into their jacket before work. You’ll say good morning when they wake up, and goodnight before they fall asleep. These seemingly small details are what makes a relationship strong, however, over time, these details can fade and so can your connection.

In business, sweet nothings take form in casual email check-ins, surprise messages, personalized copy or easter eggs. While these actions may not be as “thoughtful” as surprise chocolates or warm greetings, they help build the foundation for your relationship. More importantly, they’re trackable actions that you and your team can use to keep your customer from breaking up with you.

You see — most companies spend their time wooing the customer.

Companies pour resources and thought into clever welcome emails, onboarding, and sales; but once a customer joins their platform, the company gets comfortable. Much like in a relationship, when a person is used to being treated a certain way and then suddenly it stops, they begin to overthink. People’s natural reaction is to overreact, overanalyze and then stop thinking about it altogether — leaping at the next person or platform that shows them the attention they’re craving.

Campaigns are automated break-up insurance
Marketing automation has made it easier for companies to keep their relationships healthier and longer. Instead of focusing all of your efforts on top of th funnel, sales, and mid-funnel retention — think about ways that you can use campaigns to bring people back from the edge, to keep them from leaving. How is your team thinking about using campaigns? Where do the touchpoints end? Is there a huge influx of messaging depending on their stage?

In most cases, it’s fine to have a disparity of campaign and message frequency throughout your funnel but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for change.

Be unpredictable

Every company has a lifecycle drip. You know, those emails that occasionally pop up in your inbox that say something cheeky like, “Come back, we miss you,” or “X company isn’t the same without you!” Some might even be used to that extra mile of getting a predictable 25% off coupon or free shipping offer every couple months or so.

There’s nothing wrong with these type of campaigns — heck, they work.

What works better though? Switching things up. Try something new.

Instead of just experimenting with discounts and I miss you messaging, try offering them something else.

  • Social validation: “Hey John, you’ve been with us for 2 years now and we wanted to thank you for everything you’ve brought to the platform. Because you’re a power user, we wanted to thank you for a little surprise — here’s a little something on us (gift card or in-kind reward)”
  • “Hey John, so far you’ve generated 200 sales for us! That’s amazing, to thank you for your efforts and to keep you going — we wanted to offer you a bonus of x $ if you refer 10 more sales to our platform,”

Better yet — think about how you can build randomness into your automated campaigns.
Although companies cannot maintain a manual retention process, they can switch things up and remind the customer they’re human too. Companies make mistakes, they let people fall through the cracks and sometimes an automated (and expected) offer isn’t going to cut it. That’s when plain text and “human” outreach can really play to your favour.

Be human but not

When building out your campaigns find ways to slip human messaging into your automated drips. It’s nice to have a well thought out and designed email hit your inbox; it’s even nicer to get a personalized plain text email every now and again. The thing about being human is that you’re not predictable, you’re not an algorithm.

At GrowSumo, we’ve automatically set up each new campaign drip to have human elements built right in. Every company that starts their advocate, reseller, or affiliate program on our platform is automatically set up with an email campaign designed to improve engagement and combat fall-off. The best performing of these emails? The ones that feel personal and human. The ones that bring the relationship back down to the basics — consider this the email version of a nice one and one chat with your significant other.

In short

Relationships are hard, but not impossible. Companies focus a lot of their resources and time on wooing and making a potential customer feel special but often forget about their power users. Sometimes power users or previously engaged users show signs of dropping off — that’s the time to remind them why you’re together, not when they’re already cold and slipping away.

There are sure-tell signs that indicate when a customer is ready to break up with you, but there are also sure-tell ways to make sure you keep them feeling valued and connected to your brand. Automated email campaigns are just one of the many ways you can do this, whether you’re looking to keep a power user motivated; a new customer engaged; or a mid-tier customer from falling off the map — be sure to automate your campaigns for human and honest interaction, surprise and delight your customers and never take them for granted.


Emily Lonetto

Emily Lonetto

Growth & Marketing @ GrowSumo