It’s a lot easier to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. If your customers can stick around, then your chances of building a thriving business are high.
Truly, the customer churn rate is a critical metric that determines your overall business success.
According to a study by Kolsky, 50% of customers naturally churn every 5 years, 1/26 unhappy customers will complain; the rest will churn. A recent study by Zoho reveals that the lower your churn rate the better your business performance.
Of course, churn will always occur no matter how much efforts you put into satisfying your customers. There are several reasons why customers will stop doing business with you which you can’t control.
However, when the churn rate is high, it can affect your business decision-making processes, as well as your revenue.
What is customer churn rate?
Investopedia defines churn rate as “the percentage of subscribers to a service who discontinue their subscriptions to that service within a given time period.”
In simple terms: Customer churn rate is when you lose a customer.
Customers leave your business for a lot of reasons, to reduce the rate at which they leave, you should:
Churn Rate Formula
The Churn Rate = The number of people who have left your service over the period/ total number of customers you had during the period.
Why reducing customer churn rate should be a priority?
If your customers churn rate is higher than 10% and you acquire 10% more customers you will struggle to grow your business. In fact, you’ll be losing a lot of money on customer acquisition.
Let's say your monthly income is of $50,000, and that every month you add another $2,000 to that. However, you have a churn rate of 10%.
In the table below you can observe that though the company is adding to its total revenue, the profile is declining. Especially in the last 3 months, there is a very minuscule change in the revenue.
This is the reason experts emphasized a lot on reducing customer churn and increasing the retention rato.
So, what does it take to reduce customer churn rate and retain your customers month after month?
We’ll discuss the 10 prominent ways to reduce your customer churn rate, but let’s begin with a quick definition:
1. Analyze and determine why churn occur
Before you’re able to tackle any problem, it’s important to find out the cause of the problem, right?
This point sounds obvious, however, there’s a need to emphasize it more because it’s a very powerful tactic that can help you reduce your customer churn rate.
Personally, whenever we see an unexpected churn in our business, here are the three simple methods we use to find out why.
- We send customer exit survey
- We call the customer
- Send a personalized email
I recommend you actually talk to your customers over the phone. It’s a quick and proven way to show that you truly care about them. You should call and ask them why they left. You’ll most likely get an answer quickly or a hint.
You can also use surveys but don’t ask them too many questions. A survey is a good system for collecting feedback from customers who closed their accounts. One or two questions are fine. You’ll get answers faster. You can send the surveys via email or allow them to take the surveys on your website.
You can also send a personalized email to customers who closed their accounts. Bulk emails can go as far as it can go, but personalized emails will perform better.
2. Use co-browsing to offer a personalized customer service
“Be it on phone or in person, engaging with a strong welcome makes your customer feel comfortable and appreciated.” – Shep Hyken
Co-browsing is one of the best ways to add a personal touch to customer service. Quality customer service is helpful to reduce customer churn rate. It saves you the trouble of trying to convince customers who are almost fed up with your services and are ready to cancel their accounts.
Through co-browsing, your customer representative and a customer can be on the same page literally. Co-browsing delivers a visual connection that builds instant trust with your customer.
Of course, there are co-browsing tools that you can use. Acquire.io, in particular, is a powerful co-browsing tool that enables the representative to view and interact with the customer’s web browsers—thus, helping the customer to navigate through a complex process and to give them another reason to stay.
At this point, the major concern is the safety of these co-browsing tools. Are they secured?
Yes, they are. The customer representative doesn’t see the other open browser tabs or applications on a customer’s computer, but only the information on the company’s web page.
Use co-browsing tools to simplify the time-consuming process of having to describe to customers what to do, but instead, guide and show them how to do it.
Remember that a quick and fun tutorial conducted over a co-browsing tool lower churn rate by 6% and reduces call-backs regarding the same issue.
3. Improve user onboarding process
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
It’s important that you improve your onboarding process and clearly communicate with your users. It’s not surprising that 40 - 60% of users who signed up for a SaaS application trial will use it once and never again.
One of the reasons is because these users were unable to perceive how your business could add value to them or their business.
So it’s important you clearly communicate your brand story with your users—throughout each stage of the sales funnel—as you onboard users.
4. Use a Proactive Approach
Sometimes the customer leaves the website if they cannot navigate the page or do not find information regarding products. These increases churn rate. To handle such situation, your customer support team can adopt a proactive approach, where agents proactively ask the customers based on their behavior via live chat, phone or email.
With this proactive customer service, customers will get the solutions to their queries immediately and this will not only reduce churn rate but will make the customer experience better.
A cloud-services provider company named CornerstoneOnDemand has adopted a proactive approach to enhancing the experience of their clients. With the proactive customer service approach, the company builds a strong customer base and has more than 12 million users. The best way to retain customers and to reduce the churn rate is by adopting a proactive approach.
5. Make it hard for your customers to ignore you
Think of a product or tool you can integrate into your product to hook some of your subscriber’s important data and metrics which they rely on, then integrate it into your product.
You’ll make it extremely difficult for them to switch to your competitors, cancel their accounts, or pull out.
For example, Zapier provides a 14-day free trial plan to allow users to test their service before purchasing a pro plan. During this trial period, you (the user) will be given all the support like a premium customer and will be allowed to use all the best features of their service in all plans.
At the end of the 14 days trial, you must have seen results with the software—and at that point, it’ll be difficult for you to cancel your account or neglect using the software.
6. Create a community around your product
It’s true, people like to feel like they’re part of a community. Everyone wants to feel like they belong; it’s natural, isn’t it? To reduce customer churn rate, make your customers feel like they're part of your brand.
Moz is a good example of a brand that has done a great job in building an active and engaged community around its brand.
They run a guest post-driven blog which any member of the community is welcomed to submit a guest post. Moz’s Questions & Answers discussion board is very active and usually very educative.
Online Communities like Moz, Copyblogger, Marie Forleo, and the like keep your users engaged, educated and make them feel like they’re part of your brand and of course, keeps your brand fresh in their minds.
7. Remind your customers how much value you provide them
Most times your customers might not know the worth of the services you deliver to them at the price they enjoy unless you make it clear to them.
If you explicitly let them know, they might begin to appreciate your efforts more.
Collect metrics and data that show testimonials of the impact your service is making in their businesses—how it’s helping other businesses make more money or save money. Regularly share those testimonials with your users.
8. Increase customer engagement
In this competitive world, customers get a lot of options and you are not the only one who fulfills their requirements. They can switch to your competitor if they feel that they are not getting the most value out of their relationship with you.
With the proper marketing strategy and focusing on customer satisfaction and retention, you can increase the engagement with the customers, ultimately leading to a long-term relationship. With proper planning and implementing specific programs, you can make your customers understand the benefits of your products/services.
For example, you can arrange webinars or Q&A for your customers or can share blogs or newsletter on social media platforms to increase awareness among customers and to reduce retention rate.
9. Offer dedicated account managers
How do you follow up with new customers? Do you send them a welcome email and do nothing else? No, you should do more.
When customers feel they have a personal relationship with someone in the company, someone they can always ask questions, you’ve eliminated every excuse they have to leave.
Here’s a snippet from my chat with a customer representative at Siteground. When I asked the customer reps to wait for me while I complete other activities and get back to him in a second.
That statement made me happy and I had to hurry up to catch up back with Pavlin. At the end of the chat, I gave him a 5-Star rating.
Leverage this customer psychology to increase your customer retention rate (CRR) and customer lifetime value (CLV).
10. Surprise and delight your customers
Put a smile on your customer’s face—it can be as simple as giving the best customer a recognition award—a digital certificate. Or you can do something crazy to show how much you value them.
Here’s a good example from a Reddit user who received a handwritten thank you message from a company he’s subscribed to (as a customer). He logged onto his Reddit account to share his testimony and enthusiasm.
It goes without saying that, you won’t only win that one customer back but stand a chance of attracting new customers to your business.
11. Provide additional services
If you provide additional services, it can go a long way in giving your customers a reason to stay. Think of services you can provide for your customers that will enable them to scale their business and improve their revenue.
You can educate them by hosting free webinars online, creating PDF reports, creating interesting and educating tutorial videos.
This will give you an opportunity to build trust, and show how your products work—thus, giving your customers a chance to interact with you as well.
You can develop useful tools and give to them for free.
For example, HubSpot offers inbound marketing software and automation tools for online marketers. The company provides helpful resources as well as how these tools can be effectively and efficiently used.
The truth is, an educated customer is less likely to churn. More importantly, an educated and informed customer can refer other customers to your business. So take it seriously.
Great customer experience should be the focus of every forward-thinking company. If you treat your customers well they’re more likely to stick to your brand and refer others your way.