For anyone who works in a subscription-based business, where customers pay on a month-to-month basis and can cancel at any time, you know how critical customer retention is.
Through experience, I’ve learned that the ability to regain a customer once they’ve already decided to cancel is extremely difficult. You can throw incentives at them, beg and plead for them to stay, but they’ve likely already moved on.
Here are 3 ways to make sure you minimize the dreaded “I'm canceling” notice:
Get everyone involved
Your customers interact with many areas of your business (sales, support, billing, marketing, etc.) What I’ve found is that many times, your front line staff aren't always attuned to the signs of customer dissatisfaction. You’ve got to train them to spot an unhappy customer from a mile away so that, at the first sign of even the mildest dissatisfaction, they know how to act upon it. Whether that means offering a free upgrade, having management send them an apology, or just flagging them for some extra love and care, you have to have a playbook for these situations.
A recent example of mine was with a customer who was less technical than most. After a few back and forth exchanges with our support team, they identified the signs of dissatisfaction. The customer was flagged for our Support Manager to personally reach out and offer some additional care. He even provided the customer his personal mobile number for added piece of mind. That was all it took to turn a frustrated customer back into a raving fan.
Keep Customer Data Visible
Have a way for your staff to flag dissatisfied customers. Make that data visible and actionable. At SingleHop, we’ve created internal dashboards that actively display what we call ‘at-risk’ customers. This means that when one of our front line staff has identified signs of dissatisfaction, they mark the customer and it is visible to all.
This really enables us to get in front of issues as a team and be more proactive about turning a poor experience around. Customers will stay in an at-risk status until we’ve confirmed that they are happy once again. We review our dashboard on a daily cadence to make sure the proper steps are being taken to address customer issues.
Both internally and with the customer, it’s important to over-communicate progress and resolution. When a customer is having trouble, the best thing you can do is make sure they know you are there and that you truly care about their issue. The more they know you care, the more flexible and understanding they will be even when you mess up. When you say you're going to do something, do it and do it on time. Continue to communicate even after you believe everything is back in good standing. This is how you create loyal customers.
My challenge to you is to look at how you’re managing these three areas and take some immediate steps to implement the ideas or strengthen what you are already doing.
Keep calm. Kill churn.