How to write recovery emails that boost retention
Recovery emails get a bad rap. After all, no one wants to be seen as begging for money. But there's no reason to dread sending them.
When executed well, recovery emails can be a core part of your strategy to create the best all-around customer experience possible. These emails can help you maximize the three pillars of customer retention: keeping customers happy, reducing customer effort, and delivering exceptional customer service. Let's look at each pillar, starting with customer happiness.
Your customers will be happy with your product if they perceive that:
- it provides the right solution to their problem, and
- they're paying the right price for the value that they're receiving.
Renewal emails are a chance to remind them of both of these points. The best emails include reports that demonstrate ROI in terms of time or money saved and showcases the features your customer uses most. These justify your request for new payment info and reduce the friction of the purchase.
The productivity app Do (acquired by AWS this year) mastered this concept in their weekly emails with personalized insights.
After demonstrating the meeting tracking feature, the email takes it one step further and suggests time optimization strategies.
This effort to improve productivity reinforces the core value proposition of the app: tailored insights that suggest strategies for better time management. Reports like this one make perfect additions to recovery emails. They make updating payment information a no-brainer - after all, a happy customer has just received a reminder of value from reading the email.
The next retention pillar involves reducing customer effort. A study in the Harvard Business Review found that reducing the amount of work your customer has to do is one of the most effective ways to increase loyalty.
For recovery emails, this means eliminating every obstacle in the payment process. Give your customer everything they need to renew by:
- Providing a customized link that brings the customer directly to their payment update page with pre-populated fields
- Including a snapshot of their account information and a clear accounting of the price
- Including information about future features your customer can expect
We've tested these strategies in the real world with our automated delinquent churn recovery product Profitwell's Retain. We've found that properly optimized emails that do much of your customer's renewal work for them can add whole perentage points to your recovery rate over standard emails.
The final pillar of retention is providing a really high level of customer service. Treat your recovery emails as opportunities to open lines of communication with your customer. This works especially well if you're sending out recovery emails before a customer's subscription term has ended.
Make the request for their payment information part of a larger conversation about improving your customer's experience by:
- Asking for feedback about the product and engaging with responses. Recovery emails are a valuable strategy for initiating customer development conversations, giving you the qualitative data you need to make improvements to your product while making your customer feel ownership of your app.
- Personalizing the email as much as possible. You aren't a robot - don't come across like one. Thank your users for their continued loyalty and make sure to include their name and some recognition of their time spent using your product at a minimum.
A high level of customer service can turn a cancellation into a conversation. If a customer is unsatisfied, it's not always because your product isn't delivering value. Your customer might just be in the wrong plan. Even if they decide to stop using your product, you've heard valuable feedback that would otherwise be lost.
The best recovery emails remind your customer of the value they're getting from your product, make updating payment info a breeze, and open the door to customer development conversations you can use to improve your product. Yet, recovery emails alone aren't enough to solve the entirety of your delinquent churn.