Preventing Customer Churn

Here you are, community manager for an awesome company, and all eyes are on you to stay engaged with every single customer to make sure they never cancel. The responsibility to prevent customer churn often falls on the shoulders of the community manager and finding the correct strategies can be nuanced. Which is why we talked about it at our last breakfast! So, what did we come up with?

Who to save

No matter what product you have, some of your customers are going to want to cancel. You're probably not in a position to personally reach out and try to rescue all of them. So we had to ask: who do you focus your efforts on? Is it the customer paying the most? The customer that tweets at you the most? Well, ideally, we decided both because since each offers something extremely valuable to your company. While it's obvious why you would to save a high paying customer, the good will you get from the customer who sings your praises is just as valuable. Customers that may not be worth a ton of time to save were a little harder to determine, but the group did come up with a few! Some traits customers that you might not be able to save have are:

  • Requesting a must-have feature that will be never be built. If the only way you can save a customer is by deploying a feature that doesn't fit with your product, try building goodwill instead by suggesting another product that may be able to help.
  • Customers who aren't engaged. Maybe these customers were just trying out your product or maybe they're really bad at responding to email. Regardless, reaching out multiple times may not be worth it. Focusing energy on other, more engaged customers proved helpful to our group.

Preventing it before it happens

We were all in agreement that staying in communication with your customers is the best way to prevent churn. Additionally, having alerts set up for when people downgrade their account or part of their accounts can help you focus your efforts on those customers most likely to completely cancel. Sometimes that customer downgraded because of a feature you already have or one that's easily implemented, but if you never communicated with them you'd never know. This was especially true for our community managers of products with lots of bells and whistles under the hood and may be part of larger discussion with product to make finding those feature more user freindly.

The conversationally inevitably led to finding the balance between how much to contact a customer who's high-risk for churn but also valuable. Consensus? It's tough. Emailing too much will make them want to cancel all the more, but not doing it enough ensures them canceling. This concern can be mitigated by making sure your tone is person when you reach out.

In the end, there are some customers you can save, and some that you can't. Both have something to teach you about your product. What's the most valuable thing you've learned from people who want to cancel?