When it comes to customer churn, no organization is spared.
It is a pressing issue for all businesses, particularly when a crisis strikes.
Customers are the lifeline of your business. When they stop buying from you, your revenue figure goes down drastically, and that’s one primary reason it is lethal for your business.
Research suggests that repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers. Imagine the impact it will have on your bottom line if you lose these customers.
Customer churn is inevitable, especially during a crisis. Multiple factors influence customers’ purchase decisions when a crisis hits – pricing, current market conditions, goodwill of the brand, and many more.
It’s during such challenging times that you need to make the best moves to reduce customer churn. Retaining your customers during a crisis helps in maintaining revenue flow and ensuring the good health of your business regardless of the situation.
Look at how customer churn affects revenue and business valuation in this example prepared by Punchlime.
Clearly, customer churn impacts a company’s revenue significantly.
In this article, we uncover some tips and tricks on how to reduce churn.
Let’s start with the basics first.
What is customer churn & why does it occur?
Customer churn is the percentage of customers that quit using your products or services over a specific period.
Customer churn rate is calculated by dividing the number of customers who quit your business in a specific time frame, say a quarter by the number of customers you had at the beginning of the quarter.
It’s a key metric that helps you evaluate the number of customers leaving and those sticking to your brand.
There are several reasons customers quit brands – the major one is poor service.
Whenever they need help, customers expect brands to resolve their issues fast and on the first contact. If they receive inadequate services, 89% of them start buying from competitors.
Poor onboarding is another significant reason for customer churn. If they sign up for your product or service and either fail to get value or struggle to understand your offerings, they lose interest and churn.
Customers might also stop doing business with you if they do not get the desired results from your products. Likewise, there are multiple other reasons behind customer churn that can be addressed to a great extent by following the tips and tricks mentioned below.
Tips and tricks for reducing customer churn
1. Find out why customers leave
The first step towards reducing customer churn is to establish why churn is happening in the first place.
Rather than wait until customers leave, collect, and analyze customer data, then use it to predict customer dissatisfaction. The key here is to get the perspectives of both happy and dissatisfied customers to identify signs of churn.
Doing this will enable you to act proactively and prevent churn before it happens. A proper customer churn analysis will give you insights into:
- When most customers churn
- Customer behavior just before churn e.g., inactivity for some time
- Main reasons customers leave your brand
To analyze churn, you need to collect feedback from customers. Exit surveys, phone calls, or even personalized emails work great to gather meaningful customer feedback, which can then be used to understand the reasons for dissatisfaction.
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A whopping 68% of customers leave a company because they feel brands don’t care. Taking regular feedback from customers or staying in touch with them shows that you consider them an integral part of your business.
Besides, it also helps you take the right actions at the right time, thus preventing customer churn.
Whichever method you use to reach out to customers, the trick for getting quality responses is asking one or two short questions that capture the critical issues. If you bombard your customers with multiple questions, it will make the entire exercise futile, as customers will resort to skipping your surveys instead of taking them seriously.
- Analyze the feedback you receive to identify issues bothering customers the most
- Re-engage customers who are at risk of churning with customized offers
- Convince them that they are important to you and their issues will be resolved at the earliest
2. Have an effective customer onboarding program
Customers can feel overwhelmed when they sign up for a new service or start using a new product. If they are not able to navigate the new product or service, they become disinterested and churn within a short time.
Most customers churn because they are unable to see the value offered by a product or service. Communicating this makes them realize what they want and how your product or service addresses those needs. A customer onboarding program works great here.
An effective customer onboarding process eases this discomfort and helps customers quickly get acquainted with your products and services. Remember, the experience you give customers during onboarding gives them an indication of how future interactions will look like.
The best way to improve customer experience during a crisis in the onboarding process is to guide customers at every stage and handhold them throughout the process of understanding product features and functions.
To keep customers from leaving, your onboarding strategy should focus on valuing customers’ time and helping them achieve quick wins.
- Use a self-service knowledge base to acquaint customers with your offerings
- Assist customers at every stage of the sales funnel
- Demonstrate what customers can achieve by using your product
3. Invest in customer engagement
Another powerful way to reduce customer churn is by keeping customers engaged and connected to your brand. Customers who are highly engaged with your business tend to be more loyal and gradually become your biggest advocates.
This means they are likely to make more purchases and even tell others about your products or services. In fact, a Gallup study states that customers who are fully engaged bring up to 23% more revenue to a business than average customers. This speaks volumes about why investing in customer engagement is so crucial.
The following image captures the key benefits customers derive from high engagement with brands.
After gaining these benefits, the chances of customer churn reduce drastically.
To increase customer engagement, you need to provide value to customers consistently. There are several ways you can achieve this.
- Create engaging content about the functions and benefits of your products
- Make it easy for customers to receive help or support
- Run competitions and contests regularly
- Provide discounts or special offers
- Share updates on expected upgrades
- Identify the most effective communication channels to engage with customers.
- Track customers’ journey and tap the touchpoints customers use to interact with your brand.
- Look for brand mentions and contribute to conversations that customers have online about your company
4. Improve customer service
For a whopping 96% of customers, loyalty towards a brand depends on the kind of services they receive.
Imagine the churn rate and the deep dent it can cause on your growth curve if you ignore these customers.
Customer service is not a one-time affair. It’s a continuous process of helping people resolve issues related to your products and services. When it comes to reducing customer churn, working religiously towards delivering excellent customer service can work wonders.
Providing excellent customer service is not as difficult as many might think. To get started, you will need to focus on three things – friendly staff, fast resolution of issues, and personalized experiences.
According to the survey conducted by Oracle, 73% of customers will stick with a brand that has a friendly service team. The survey also reveals that 55% of customers are likely to stay if brands make information-gathering easier while personalizing customer experiences will keep 36% committed to a firm.
From these figures, it’s evident that the more you focus on providing quality customer service, the more loyal your customers will become.
- Hire qualified people to work in your service team. Train them adequately and provide them with the tools they need to deliver on the job.
- Use knowledge base software to create a customer support knowledge base that can be instantly accessed by customers anytime, anywhere
- Use customer relationship management software to leverage customer data and use it to craft personalized experiences
5. Prioritize High-value Customers
Instead of trying to prevent every customer from churning, spend your resources retaining your most valuable customers.
Every customer is indeed important, and you need to retain all of them to grow. But this can get challenging, especially during a crisis. It’s only a few customers you can target and retain with limited resources, then, why not those who have been associated with your brand for a long time, contributing the most revenue.
To identify them, categorize all your customers based on factors like:
- How profitable they are to your business
- How likely they are to churn
- What’s the possibility that they will respond to your offers and stick with your firm
You can determine this by analyzing your customer interaction history. Some important elements that you can pick from customer history include –
- How happy customers are with your offerings
- The challenges they experienced using your products and how those challenges were resolved
- Since when are they buying from your brand
- How frequently they raise tickets and many more.
Once you have your most valuable customers, do your best to ensure they get everything you promised when they signed up. In addition, re-engage these customers with promotional offers and discounts.
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- Be actively present on the communication channels frequently used by your customers
- Touch base with high-value clients via phone calls, emails, or text messages
- Make them feel privileged by offering significant discounts
6. Incentivize Your Customers
Customers need a reason to stick to your brand, especially during a crisis. The incentives you provide are reason enough to choose you over and over again.
Naturally, people are attracted to things that help them save money. Incentives help you do just that.
Loyalty programs, promotional discounts, and special offers are great ways of keeping customers engaged and reducing churn.
Antavo Loyalty Software Co-founder and CMO, Zsuzsa Kecsmar explains the role of customer incentives in retaining customers.
She says, “Customers don’t want to only buy things. They want to be part of your brand’s story. They want to be part of your community. Let customers collect points for their purchases, referrals, social activities, by participating in contests, and much more. If they feel that doing business with you is fun and entertaining, they will stick around even longer.”
- Not all incentives will produce effective results. Timing plays a critical role here. If you decide to give incentives, determine the best time to do that.
- Align your incentives with customer timelines. For instance, give discounts on renewals when customer contracts are coming to an end.
7. Listen to Customer Complaints
Customers are extremely sensitive to the extent that 32% of them will quit trading with your business after one negative experience.
That’s not all. Studies show that a significant number – 25 out of 26 dissatisfied customers do not raise complaints with brands. They simply churn.
To understand why customers leave your business, you need to pay attention to the few that raise complaints. There is a possibility that customers who churn also face similar issues, but they don’t take the pain of approaching your support staff for help.
Take the complaints raised by a fraction of your customers as an opportunity to improve your offerings. This can bring down your customer churn rates significantly in the future.
- Acknowledge customer complaints, acting on them and following up with customers to ensure they are satisfied
- Use social listening to handle customer complaints proactively
- Evaluate the kind of complaints raised by customers and take concrete measures to avoid them in the future
8. Improve the Quality of Your Offerings
The quality of your products or services determines how long customers will stick with your brand.
If your offerings are not helping customers achieve their goals, they will most likely quit using them and find something that matches their requirements.
The thing is – customers need to continually get value from your products to keep using them. This can happen only if it is of superior quality.
Quality is foremost for customers. There are instances where customers are ready to pay more if they get the desired quality, which proves how crucial this element is in making customers love your brand.
- Keep tabs on the changing customer needs and accordingly, work on your offerings
- Ask for customer feedback from time to time to understand the product areas that need improvement
9. Know What Your Competitors are Doing
Staying ahead of your competitors can help you retain customers.
Here’s the thing – if you know what your competitors are offering, you can provide something extra to customers to keep them hooked to your brand.
To know what your competitors are doing, analyze their offerings, and identify the aspects that set your services apart in the market.
While advertising about your products, flaunt your positives to ensure that customers are aware of them. If you do this successfully, your customers will perceive your products as more valuable than your competitors’.
- Convey to customers what they might lose if they opt out of your product or service
- Center your marketing message on your competitive advantage
- Take a cue from your competitors’ success strategies and crisis management initiatives
10. Show Gratitude to Your Customers
This is probably the easiest way to keep customers coming back to your business.
Everyone wants to be appreciated, and it’s the same for customers too.
Naturally, people will stick with brands they have an emotional connection with. Expressing gratitude is a great way of nurturing this bond.
When you show gratitude, you send a positive message to customers that makes them feel valued. An excellent way of showing gratitude includes sending personalized thank you messages or congratulatory messages every time customers buy from you.
For customers who have been doing business with you for a long time, a better idea would be to appreciate them openly on your social media pages for their continued association.
- Thanking your customers on social media is a great way to make them feel valued
- Email or call them once in a while to show how much you look forward to serving them
- Offer special discounts to customers who have been doing business with you for a long time
Customer churn can weigh your business down. If not taken care of, this problem can reduce your business to ashes, especially when you are surrounded by a crisis.
It is difficult to acquire new customers during a crisis, so keeping your existing customers from churning is the best approach you can adopt. But reducing customer churn is not a walk in the park.
Besides requiring you to recalibrate your strategies, it also needs you to be patient. You need to start by identifying signs of churn and then take every possible step to prevent customer churn.
If you are not sure how to go about it, follow the tips discussed above, and you might witness a significant reduction in customer churn.