Making the Most of Churn

By Ashley Hall

Some churn is inevitable.

Despite your best efforts, some accounts simply cannot be saved. However, it is important to learn from the relationship as it ends in an effort to not repeat the same mistakes again.  Here’s how.

The Call

First things first, be sure to schedule an exit call. This is a situation that may make some clients squirm, however stress that this is a required step of the off-boarding process. Reiterate to the client that this is not a “save” call in the attempt to keep them as a client, you simply need to collect some information and send them off to their next steps. Use this scheduled call to ask as many questions as humanly possible!

  • How did they arrive at this decision?
  • How long have they been shopping around?
  • Did a competitor approach them? (Great opportunity to collect competitive Intel)
  • What shortcomings in the product or service lead to this decision?

Note:  As you begin to learn more about churn in your client base you should consider standardizing theses questions across the team to pull consistent, reportable data.

Not only will you collect great feedback to bring back to internal teams, this call provides you an opportunity to send the client off with well wishes. We all know how quickly things can change; perhaps their next solution will not be the right fit. Maybe your contact will move to a different company and need your service again. Word of mouth is worth its weight in gold so keep things positive! There is nothing bad about a smooth send off that ends positively and respectfully.

Feedback Management

Now that you have a wealth of information from the exit call, it is important that this data is communicated successfully back to your colleagues. I recommend utilizing your CRM to record the conversation in great detail (it may even be worth recording the call with your conference call platform or Evernote).  I have seen success logging this information at both the case and opportunity levels in Salesforce.

Recommended fields include a drop down of reasons for cancellation.  Here are few suggestions to get you started, but you might want to take a look at my blog post on the signs of churn for more ideas.

  • Competitor
  • Product
  • Service
  • Structural company changes

It goes without saying you will want to include the revenue loss along with your detailed notes. This information, together with demographics like company size or industry, can be used to create a powerful story about the trends in churn and the potential impact across your customer base. 

Reporting

Turning this data into easy-to-interpret reports and dashboards allows the success organization to communicate drivers of churn concisely and clearly with a wealth of data to support them. Work with your sales operations colleagues and leadership to design dashboards accessible by all departments.  A monthly meeting with leadership across your organization will also help to highlight the impact of churn and make other departments aware of how they can help to improve this critical metric.

Open and data-driven conversations surrounding churn will allow the success organization to impact future product decisions in order to protect recurring revenue. Utilizing churn calls as a learning opportunity is an incredible way to make a quick impact in your organization.

Need help designing your churn feedback loop? The Success League is a consulting firm that works with customer success and product leaders who want to meet the needs of customers and push innovation in a meaningful direction. Unlike traditional approaches to customer support, we teach success teams to gather customer data and partner with product teams to drive change in their organization. www.TheSuccessLeague.io

Ashley Hall - Ashley loves to lead account management teams; from training newbies to building processes out of chaos to working directly with customers. With an eye on the future she is a powerhouse in building scaleable frameworks that support and drive growth.  Ashley is currently working for Sparkcentral and holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  She lives in San Francisco, CA.