Attaining and keeping customers is one of the essentials you need to focus on while running a business. In sports, they always say it’s easier to win a title than it is to defend it and the same stands in the world of business. Because there are so many options out there, you’ll need to be constantly trying to keep your churn rates low. Naturally, you should always be on the lookout for new customers but always work towards keeping the ones you already have.
People focus too much on expanding their customer base, that, once they’ve sold their pitch, just turn around and hunt for the next one, leaving current customers to fend for themselves.
Churn rates are especially important for subscription-based businesses but are an important factor anywhere where something is sold. We’ll go through five of the most common reasons your churn rate might be high and offer some helpful tips on how to turn it around. If you’ve experienced a drop-off in your customer numbers and don’t know what happened, read on, you might be closer to the solution than you think. In no particular order…
It doesn’t work
The most obvious issue that might cause you to have a high churn rate is that your product or service simply doesn’t work or doesn’t work as it’s supposed to. This can relate to a plethora of things. You could be selling products that turn out to be low quality or outright defective, your subscription-based service isn’t fast enough or is down too often, maybe your delivery is too spotty, it can be really an infinite amount of things, but they all have the same effect.
You’ve done your job and attracted customers to your business, but over time, if they get any kind of inkling that what they’re paying for is subpar, don’t expect them to return. The phrase “The customer is always right” may not always be true; however, if one is dissatisfied, they’ll break off – nobody’s going to spend their money unless they’re happy about it.
You can minimize these issues by advanced quality control, preventing issues before they become, well issues. This will reduce potential unforeseen problems – it’s always better that you detect everything that’s wrong than to leave it up to your customers. Furthermore, always be upfront about what you’re offering – don’t advertise high-end items and services if you’re not offering them. Both could net you sales in the short-term, but you’ll be paying for it in the long-term.
Building on the first issue, we can easily broaden the scope with your customer engagement. This could be focused on the time before they become customers, while they’re customers without problems and support when they come across problems.
While they’re only potential customers, they don’t actually qualify for your churn numbers, so we won’t be focusing on them that much. When they become your customers, however, you need to be actively engaged with them throughout. This means releasing regular updates on what’s going on with the business and the products/service they’re using and simply interacting with their feedback. Firstly, you need to provide your customers with a platform to offer feedback, and then you must take it into account and address it.
Ignoring feedback, especially when it’s negative, doesn’t look professional, and both affected, and directly unaffected customers will look at other options instead of remaining with you.
Finally, you need, and we can’t stress this enough, offer fast and efficient support. Things will break down sooner or later. Naturally, you should look to minimize the possibility of anything going wrong, but at a certain point, it’s unavoidable. In those cases, a great experience that the customer can have in the interaction while fixing the issue goes a long, long way in building trust and even them recommending you to their peers.
This is an interesting one to figure out since you’ll need to work extra hard to find out what’s that perfect middle ground for a price. If your price is too high potential customers could look to your competition for better value. On the other hand, you can put a price that’s too low and make your products/services be perceived to be of low quality. Without going into too much detail, there are numerous books written on both subjects; we’ll quickly go over the psychology behind it all.
Being too costly is easier to comprehend – we’re all always looking for a bargain and want to get the most out of our money. Providing the same or, at the very least, a similar thing, but charging more than it’s objectively worth (or more than the market deems it’s worth) will likely significantly contribute to high churn among your customers.
That being said, you’re probably confused about how pricing something too low can be negative. Well, even though everybody is always looking to save, they’ll also look for quality. True or not, most of us have the mindset that if something is cheap, then it’s quality is subpar. Because of this, you could put a price that’s deemed too low and lose potential customers for it.
To get to the optimal price, you’ll need to do some market research to see what your competitors are doing and what your potential customers are expecting. Having that data, you can then formulate a price that has a firm base. If possible, always try to include several pricing options (subscription tiers, for example), to give yourself even more flexibility.
Your competitions should, at the same time, be something you’ll compare yourself to and be the force that’s driving yourself to improve. They’ll be the ones keeping you on your toes. Over time you’ll need to grow and evolve if you hope to establish your business as one of the market leaders.
In order to prevent customers from seeking greener pastures, try to make yourself accessible and indispensable to their needs. A good example would be when a hosting service offers free migration before setting up the sites and providing a management platform. If your service is any good, people will stay rather than go through the change process again.
We talked about how churn has the most effect on subscription-based service and, although not exclusive, the last thing we’ll mention will be closely connected to precisely that type of service. It may seem banal, but you’d be surprised how many subscriptions are canceled because your customers’ credit card has expired. Once it’s canceled, there is always a chance they could switch to another provider, so why leave that as an option.
A quick and easy fix to avoid these situations would be to implement an automatic process that will inform your customers about the expires (they gave you the card information already).
The benefit of this is two-fold. The first and most important for you is that the subscription will likely be continued without any breaks, and the second is that your customer will feel looked out for, building trust. A personal touch like this will also, without a doubt, garner a positive word of mouth spreading to even more potential customers.
As you can see, there are many reasons why your churn rate would be high, and, realistically, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more individual reasons why someone would stop using a service or stop buying a product. The problem is, however, you can’t prepare for all of them. You’re essentially playing a numbers game and are looking to cover your bases as much as you can. To put it as simple as we can, try to be truthful about what you’re providing your customer, keep the quality on the same level long-term and if anything goes wrong to own up to it and prioritize fixing it. Conducting business by these guidelines, your customers will surely be satisfied and won’t even think of switching to someone else.