3. Retention  >  Re-engage Inactive Users

Re-engage inactive users to reduce SaaS churn

Re-engaging inactive users is the only technique that will reduce churn. Identifying inactive users and figuring out what made them inactive – and taking appropriate proactive measures to bring them back is the name of the game.



Animoto sends a nice re-engagement email asking users to update their email preferences.


Grammarly sends re-engagement emails to inactive customers who haven’t used their app for a good number of days.


Groove sends an open-ended question via email to users who cancel their accounts.

How to use the technique

  • Define who is an inactive user. How does your SaaS define inactive users? Someone who hasn’t logged in for a week, someone who hasn’t used any app feature for 10 days, someone who doesn’t open emails, etc. It is best to segment inactive users based on different inactivity variables and treat each segment differently. Refer to our free churn optimization framework for more details.
  • Identify the reason for inactivity. Cure the cause, not the symptom. Use data and behavioral analysis to understand the reason. Get over the phone for an interview with the inactive customers to dig deep.
  • Manually onboard users again who have been inactive for a good number of days. It’s highly likely that they didn’t get value from your app. This will help reducing churn.
  • Send personalized emails. Send personalized emails for re-engagement to different inactive segments. Emails should be relevant to the reasons why a segment is inactive.
  • Help them get value from your app. Having paying inactive customers mean they haven’t got the value from your app (what they expected). Re-engage them by helping them get their problem solved.
  • Assign an account manager. Assign account managers to inactive users to reduce churn. These managers should help and guide users to get value from your app.
  • Get feedback and improve. Ask inactive users to share their feedback. Make appropriate changes on the basis of feedback. You can read more in our free churn optimization framework

Mistakes to avoid

  • Not taking timely action. Be proactive. Detect inactivity early and respond with an appropriate re-engagement strategy. Monitor customers constantly for inactivity.
  • Offering discount to inactive customers is a bad move. They're already paying you so it’s not about the money. They're unable to get value or make your app work for them. Help them.


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Research evidence

Rajkumar Venkatesan in his article, published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, discussed how to execute customer engagement strategy. Customer engagement requires a systematic collection of data and information during pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase phases. The more you know about your customers, the easier it gets to create an engagement strategy.


Customer engagement requires a systematic collection of data and information during pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase phases.

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