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Drafting A Customer Retention Email

Jacob Brain


There are three factors that must be considered in drafting a customer retention email. Not unlike a traditional broadcast email, there are many things that can make or break a successful message when the relationship with the customer is on the line. With an email positioned to retain a customer, possibly at or near the end of life with your product or service, attention to the details can pay off huge dividends.

Pick Your Trigger

We talked about triggers in retention churn models recently. What we are referring to is the why and when of the email message. Why are you sending it? Did something happen to the customer, or to your business? Also, when is a good time to send it? If it is in reaction to something the customer did on your Website, there is no better time than right away. If you are contacting a customer that has been dormant, or out of touch for a while, maybe you need to look at their use patterns before they started to decline. Having an informed basis on why and when you should be sending this email will give the email better context for the reader, and potentially better open rates. Overall you are looking for the timing and rationale for addressing the second part of this email, the message.

Make The Message

“This better be good.” Odds are that if you are approaching a customer who fits the high-churn profile in your model, they are aware of their status as well. The message you present to someone with one foot out the door needs to be exacting in tact and delivery. And in any message that is focused on getting attention, personalization should be present. This message, even though automated in some cases, should be as personal as possible. And not just a mail merge on their name, but containing products and services they have used before and times and dates of last services. It should be drafted with sincerity and a clear call-to-action. It should be relevant and speak to the current status of the relationship. Leave no “elephants in the room” unmentioned. Doing so would cause negative feelings between you and your customer.

Call To Action

If this is your last chance to keep your customer, what do you have to say?  Your call-to-action (CTA) needs to be direct and bring value to the customer. If a customer is leaving, the balance to the product-consumer equation is off. They are not receiving value in your product or service and you have to restore balance to the equation. Many times this comes in the form of a discount offer or coupon. We suggest you work to build additional value rather than negate any value you have by giving your product away for free. This could be a trial of another product, or release of a new product feature. Bringing the equation back into balance is not an easy task the further out a customer is from the original purchase or use. From day one, the value of your product and service starts to diminish; so keeping this value alive starts as soon as the customer and product connect.

In Conclusion

Overall, the delicate nature of this email will allow you to thoughtfully present your case for keeping your customer. Without proper planning, an automated email will only diminish your relationship and push the equation further away from balance. And always test your emails and look for responses to make sure you’ve got the best messaging hitting your customers in this sensitive time.


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