News & Updates

5 Tips for Reducing Churn with Excellent Customer Support

By R. J. Stangle / April 11, 2016

Blog Churn

In today’s subscription-based economy, service providers are focusing more than ever on minimizing churn rates and increasing adoption of their products.

Most businesses understand that retaining their customers is essential in ensuring profitability. In fact, acquiring a new customer can be up to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one! Not only is it cost-effective to retain customers, but it is estimated that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase overall profitability by up to 75%. This highlights the need to keep your customers happy once you acquire them.

With over a decade of helping our customers reduce their churn rates by delivering excellent technical support services, here are our 5 essential tips to ensuring customers don’t hesitate when it comes time to renew their subscriptions:

1) Improve your onboarding process

If a customer isn’t fully aware of the value your services offer them, why would they bother to renew their subscription with you? The answer is that they most-likely won’t, meaning you’ll have to do some heavy-lifting of your own to enhance the onboarding process your customers go through.

The need for a seamless onboarding experience is so critical that studies show if a user does not adopt within their first 90 days, there’s only a 10% chance that they ever will.

While it may be easy to send your customers a standard welcome email explaining your complete product offering, this will likely result in information overload and the customer will actually retain very little (if any) information. It’s much more efficient to reach out personally to your customers with information on specific features. This way, they will be able to grasp your messaging much easier and enable them to fully take advantage of what you’re offering.

Another best practice when it comes to onboarding is offering training resources to new customers. This can be of great use, especially when a customer needs to become accustomed to a brand new software or service such as Office 365. Try to offer your customers a variety of training resources such as videos, FAQs, or even 1-on-1 training sessions.

2) Be proactive

If your customer support strategy involves simply waiting for your customers to contact you with an issue, you’re already one step behind. Instead of being reactive, you should be taking a proactive approach to your customer care by anticipating and preparing for problems your customers might incur.

One way to do this is by examining what your customers are saying on social media. While they may not be contacting you directly and simply be expressing their frustration online, you can exceed their expectations by reaching out to them and offering help.

Properly collecting and analyzing customer data is another major opportunity to be proactive. Call driver trends should be monitored in order to more accurately predict what issues customers will call in with. If a new trend is noted, make sure to advise your support agents and provide them with further training if necessary to prepare them.

Not only will being proactive cut churn rates by improving your customer experience, it will also result in significant cost savings that come with the reduction of inbound support calls and call escalations. In fact, it is estimated that service providers could realize cost savings of $4/subscriber almost immediately after implementing a proactive support strategy. Those savings add up!

3) Prioritize people skills

Every interaction point a customer has with your company is an opportunity for you to impress them and shape a positive image of your brand. This makes it essential that you have the right people on your support team to make that positive impression.

When hiring support agents, try to look for candidates that exhibit a strong sense of empathy. Empathic agents will be more likely to develop a rapport with the customer and make them feel like the issues they are facing are just as important to your brand as it is to them.

"Your customers don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Damon Richards

It is also important to find agents that have the ability to personalize their service depending on the customer they are dealing with. Because every customer is different than the other, having this sort of flexibility makes it easier to understand the customer’s needs and resolve their issue effectively.

Once the right people are hired, ongoing agent training will be necessary not only to familiarize them with new products, but to continue placing an emphasis on soft skills which contribute to an improved customer experience. Monitoring the performance of these agents by using metrics like first call resolution rates and customer satisfaction will also help in maintaining high standards of quality.

4) Make your customers’ lives easy

Nothing frustrates a customer more than having to struggle to find a convenient support channel when they need solutions to a problem. Even though there is a large divide among consumers as to their support channel preferences, it is important learn what the right channels are for your customers by determining what they value when it comes to support.

Some of the more popular traditional alternatives you can offer include phone, live chat, and email support. A growing trend that businesses will need to prepare for is that consumers are now turning to social media in order to receive support. Fortunately, Facebook and Twitter have recently made improvements to their platforms, making it easier for brands to communicate with their customers for support-related inquiries.

The challenge that comes with offering multiple support channels is the need for them to operate as a whole – as opposed to separate entities. For example, if a customer has a phone conversation with a support agent and wants to email the support department later on for a follow up, they won’t want to re-explain their whole predicament a second time. To make sure they don’t have to, leverage your CRM system by giving the support department access to all of a customer’s information and support history across all channels.

5) Encourage feedback

What is perhaps even worse than having your customers churn is not knowing why they are doing so. After all, how can you work towards improving your churn rates when you don’t know the reasons your customers decide to leave? The easiest way to figure out some of these reasons is fairly straight-forward – ask them! You might be surprised at how much insight your own customers can offer to help improve your business practices.

Make sure to send follow-up emails with a survey for customers who churn in order to learn why they left. While this quantitative data alone can be of great value, don’t shy away from calling up past customers as well. Being able to converse with customers gives you the ability to gain a deeper understanding of their needs and expectations.

While reaching out to customers after they opt-out of your subscription is a must, it is equally as important to gain feedback throughout every stage of the customer lifecycle. In fact, we view every support interaction as an opportunity to learn more from customers. Surveys should be sent after each support session to gather data that can be used to improve customer experience moving forward.

A common mistake that companies make when it comes to collecting feedback is to ask their customers what they as a business could do better – making it all about the company and not the customer. Customers will be much more likely to respond and give insightful answers if you ask them about their specific experiences and what they believed was lacking.

The takeaway

While reducing churn may be one of the more difficult business initiatives to undertake, it will be sure to pay dividends in the long run through increased customer retention. Start putting these five tips into practice today and watch your renewals rise!

At AppHelp, we’ve been helping service providers lower churn rates and boost customer experience through customer-centric technical support.