The concept of “customer churn”, or customers leaving a business, is something that keeps executives around the world awake at night. Especially in the B2B (business-to-business) industry, losing just one major customer can make or break a business.
So, what can companies do to ensure churn rates remain as low as possible? Here are six tactics on how to reduce chrun rate:
1) Focus on public-facing customer data – Are your customers talking about your business online for the world to see? Depending on your company, poor online reviews and listing site ratings can be an immediate red flag for a customer that’s about to leave your business. If they’re so frustrated with you that they think the world needs to know about it, then you need to reach out to that customer immediately.
2) Monitor support ticket information – Less public-facing than the first tactic, always make sure to monitor basic support ticket metrics. If the ticket volume or average length to close time spike for a customer, it may be an indicator that they are having issues with your business that need to be resolved right away.
3) Act on direct indicators before it’s too late – Many customers can drop “hints” they’re considering leaving your business. Maybe it’s a low NPS (Net Promoter Score) rating. Or the topic of data migration came up in an on-site executive meeting. Or a poor agent rating was left when a ticket was forgotten and violated an SLA. Whatever the indicator is, don’t wait to act. The more often they pop up, the more likely the customer will churn.
4) Track what online activity you can – This tactic may involve cooperation with Marketing and Sales, but it can make a major difference when monitoring at-risk B2B customers. With tracking, you can see what your own customers are doing on your site. Has a customer visited pricing page several times this month? Have they downloaded a whitepaper about data exports that's meant for new customers? These are just a couple things that could be red flags for a customer that’s not happy and looking at other options.
5) Keep an eye on organizational changes – Moving away from digital footprints, there are other online indicators for when a company may churn. Monitor the news to see if a customer has been acquired or had to go through a round of layoffs. Keep an eye on LinkedIn to see if your “champion” at a customer jumps to a new opportunity at a different company. Acting on new information as it happens gives your company the best chance to reduce churn.
6) Implement and monitor “next level” support metrics – Companies that utilize sophisticated customer support software have access to potential churn indicators that many companies don’t. For example, a business can gauge the sentiment of tickets in real time. This means that even if a customer has a lower ticket volume, all the messages could have a “frustrated” sentiment which would be a clear red flag that they are at risk of churning.
Preventing customer churn isn’t easy and it requires a team effort across multiple technologies and touch points. By keeping an eye on the customer data and information you can and can’t control, it will be easier for a business to keep their churn numbers lower than their competition.