In a subscription-based economy, building a long-term relationship with customers is an important need. You need the customers to keep engaging with your brand so that they continue to derive value from your product. This in turn makes sure that they remain subscribed to your business and contribute to the sustainability of your business.
SaaS businesses have changed the ball-game for entrepreneurs forever. There is no need for the customers to remain loyal to your brand if their requirement is not getting fulfilled. The low switching cost has made it even easier for the customers to switch vendors. Hence you need to be always on your toes in serving the customers and reduce customer churn. Just a small miss and you lose them forever.
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How to Find Risky Customer Accounts and Save Before Cancellation
Losing the customer costs you more than just the cessation of their recurring revenues. Just the fact that they choose another vendor after trying your product makes your business more vulnerable to other customers. One dissatisfied customer can pull out more customers from your business if they share their experience with your competitors with other customers.
The rise of social media has made it even more expansive in the spread of feedback customers leave for your brand. A dissatisfied customer can harm your business through the negative feedback they can leave on various channels – physical as well as digital. Customers trust the experience of other customers more easily rather than the good words your marketing team is trying to spread about your brand. They can relate their experiences with other customers more easily and hence trust that the same experience would occur to them as well when they hear a bad experience from another customer.
Hence, due to all these reasons, it is extremely important that you identify the at-risk customer and prevent them from getting churned. The earlier you identify their dissatisfaction with your brand, the more in a position you are to change the situation for your good. Hence, let’s look at a few ways you can identify those at-risk customers.
Identifying at-risk customers
Very few customers actually complain about their dissatisfaction with your brand. In fact, only one out of every 26 customers would actually care to complain to the vendor. Others simply leave. Hence, you need to be adept at understanding the cues that reveal their dissatisfaction. Below are a few ways that can help.
Low NPS score
You must timely conduct the Net promoter score survey to get the feedback of your customers. Customers usually don’t miss out on filling this survey because it consists of just one question – “how likely are you to recommend our product to others?”. It is measured on a scale of 1 to 10. Any customer who gives you a rating of less than 7 can be identified as a detractor. These are the customers who would not only eventually leave your business but would also share their bad experiences with others.
Low engagement level
To gain a full vision of your customer’s usage data, you must use a customer success platform. This platform gives you a detailed look at the customer’s usage pattern. Through this, you can know when the customers are logging-in less on your product, for how long they are using it, and how many features they are using in the product. When the engagement level has dropped to extremely low levels, you can easily guess that the customer has ceased to derive business value from your product. These are the customers you must target for recuperation.
Increased support calls
Customers raising a support query is a direct indicator of a customer struggling with your product. Keep a check on the number of queries they raise in a month. Any customer who is going above the average number of calls is definitely having some serious issues with your product. Identifying the kind of queries, they are raising is a necessary step in understanding the patterns of their queries. These patterns would unravel various issues with your product and would reveal if further enhancement is needed either in the product features or onboarding training.
Quitting the product adoption journey midway
Any new customer you acquire gradually goes through the product adoption journey. This journey makes sure that they gradually get familiar with your product and finally get habituated to it. They start with the simple features, the ones that are displayed on the dashboard, and eventually upgrade to use more complex features with time. As a customer success manager, you must keep track of their product adoption journey and see that they complete this journey till the end. Any customer who stops learning about the more complex features of the product gives a clear indication that the customer is losing interest in your product.
Changes to key stakeholders in customer’s organization
Any customer account consists of the key stakeholders who would maintain relationships with the vendors. When these stakeholders shift their jobs, new players come in. All the relationship you built with the previous stakeholders goes into vain. Of course, there would be some feedback they would leave about you to the new stakeholders. Yet, the amount of time and effort you put in building trust with those stakeholders have to start again for the new ones. And if these new executives are not in alignment with your business offerings, there are pretty good chances that they would leave your brand.
Saving at-risk customer from churn
Having understood a few of the ways to identify the at-risk customers, there are few ways you can take to prevent churn. Those early warning signs must be identified at the earliest stage as possible so that you can take action to save them from the churn.
As soon as you get the early warning of any at-risk customer account, you must have all the necessary follow-up action steps in place. Do you need to assign a CSM solely dedicated to this account? Do you need to escalate this issue to the director of customer success? Should there be a value proposition meeting with the client?
To stay ahead of the curve, you need to monitor the customer usage pattern from the very beginning itself. Customer’s usage behavior should be kept under check to know if they are using the product optimally or not. Furthermore, through proactive engagement, you can also suggest necessary recommendations of specific features of the product to further enhance their user experience.
Build a flawless onboarding program
Any effort towards customer retention should start from the very beginning of your relationship with them. Hence, onboarding is a crucial step when you start cementing your relationship with customers. The amount of time and attention a customer gives during onboarding is usually more than he would give in the rest of his journey. Hence, make sure that you make the most out of it.
The best utilization of customer’s time and attention during onboarding is to educate them about the product. Your learning program must be properly structured and planned way before they are onboard. Give them the right guidance for the self-learning resources along with the proper orientation of the product. Depending upon the complexity of the product, you can also assign an onboarding specialist who would give a walk-through of the product for early adoption.
Become hyper-sensitive during renewal process
Through proactive engagement, you must always stay updated on any issues a customer is facing with your product. This is essentially all the time. But when the renewal process is nearing, you must become hyper-sensitive to their issues and concerns. You must know beforehand if they have decided to switch the vendor or continue to your subscription.
- If switching vendor is their decision then you must immediately schedule the retention meeting.
- In this meeting, give them a space to vent out their frustration with your brand.
- Be a good listener and empathize with your pain points. Understand their challenges and find out the gaps which your firm couldn’t fill in their experience.
- Then communicate the immediate steps you are going to take to resolve their issues.
- If it works, it is fine. If not then you can also give them an option to either downgrade their subscription or you can also give them a discount for some time.
Technology is playing a crucial role in all the steps that we have mentioned in this blog. A customer success platform gives you the power to monitor your customer’s usage, automate engagement, and even prescribe the action steps needed in a dire situation. There’s more to that but for the sake of sticking to the topic of this blog, we must realize the importance of dealing with at-risk customers.
Any customer can bring in more customers when you have been able to turn them into your brand advocate. But the same customer also has the potential to harm your business through bad publicity when faced with poor experiences. Most CSMs tend to get more attentive to the customers during the renewal process and leave them to their fate during other times. This should be definitely avoided as customer success is a result of continuous involvement with your customer rather than intervening at the last moment. After all, prevention is always better than the last-minute cure.
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