The Best Way to Decrease Churn Rate

The Best Way to Decrease Churn Rate

smiling customer service rep seated at computer desk working with a client

The Best Way to Decrease Churn Rate

The Magic Trick to Decreasing Churn Rate: Customer Service
Churn rate is an inevitable downside of running a subscription business, and can happen for myriad reasons. These range from unhappy customers to poor pricing structure. Though impossible to stamp out completely, customer attrition can be decreased by focusing effort towards providing superior customer service, leveraging powerful free channels, and using subscriber complaints to make changes. Let’s talk about the tips, tricks and strategies used to provide awesome customer support.

What is customer churn, and why should I care?
Simply put, customer churn is the percentage of people no longer subscribing to your service. Any player in the subscription economy needs to care about churn because it it can show a weak product, poorly targeted marketing, bad service, disconnected pricing, and more. The beauty of retaining subscribers for a longer period of time is that they’re a whole lot cheaper than acquiring new subscribers. On average, increasing subscriber retention by 5% increases profit by upwards of 25%.

Serve your customers through multiple channels
Many businesses serve multiple ages, demographics, and industries. Leveraging multiple platforms and channels is a great practice for providing a more targeted customer experience. Here are some of the most effective:

  • Email will probably be your most used platform. It’s inexpensive, accessible, and well-positioned to reach your customer. That’s because more than 90% of people check their personal account every day
  • Social is a great place for serving people with quick support requests. It’s faster and more human than email. It’s also where your subscribers hang out after work. Places like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the big networks. Another to consider is Discord, a live messaging board that’s used heavily by GenZ and late millennials
  • Forums will never die. Places like Reddit, Stack Exchange and Quora have massive, engaged audiences that are always discussing and troubleshooting problems. Finding which forums your subscribers use can provide a great place to directly interact and provide support. Check out this link for help finding niche forums. Keyworddit is a useful tool for hunting down Reddit posts related to your company
  • Chatbot and live support is fast and convenient. There’s a reason these tools are gaining in popularity. They're particularly useful for ecommerce and SaaS, allowing the prospect to ask specific questions while shopping
  • Blogging may seem overused, but look at it from the perspective of your customer. It’s a tool for providing answers to commonly asked questions. It lets you provide in-depth content that’s easy to query and move on, instead of contacting customer service agents
  • Phone is a no brainer. But we’ve all still seen companies trying to avoid providing phone service to save the money and hassle—have you ever tried to contact your utilities provider via telephone? But it’s still the best way to work through complicated problems, deal directly with complaints and even help impaired customers. Honing your phone experience is arguably one of the most important processes for keeping customers happy
“Immediate response is very important when your customers have a support question... We have an emphasis on brevity. We make sure we take care of the customer, let them know we’ve taken care of them, and then move on to the next customer.”
Dave Matschina,
Senior Director of Call Center Management

Give Great Customer Service
Bad customer service will actively harm your business. Internet and utilities companies are notoriously hated for slow, drawn-out processes. Most subscription businesses are easy to churn and have fiercely competitive landscapes. Customers would rather unsubscribe than deal with a poor support flow. Some extra-crabby customers might bypass calling you and process a chargeback; that’s where your customer asks the bank for a refund. Let’s talk about the actionable steps customer service reps can use to provide better service:

  • Politeness: This is a given. Customer service reps are the voice of your company when subscribers call in. Keep a calm head; be polite, friendly, and prompt
  • Engage customers: Make them feel like they matter. Instead of sitting there in silence or reading boilerplate scripts, ask the caller how their day is going and how the service has been so far. It gives your brand a little more personality and a human touch. A good rule of thumb: people want to talk to other people, not a business
  • Actively listen: Ask clarifying questions, stay focused and empathize. Understand your customer’s problem, acknowledge the frustration, reiterate for clarity
  • Tailor your messaging: Take stake in the customer’s problem and make their experience top priority. Make sure to follow up with personalized communications. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you’d want to be treated
  • First-call resolution: Nobody likes a prolonged relationship with customer service. If you can’t resolve the issue quickly, provide a plan of action: tell the customer when they will hear back and what they can do in the meantime
  • Actively Solve the Problem: Superior customer service is solving the problem quickly, reaching out with a time frame, and sending follow-ups as the problem is being addressed. Make the customer think, ‘Wow, that was quick!’ Anything less and your process has room for improvement
Most unhappy customers won't complain directly, but they will unsubscribe and leave a scorched trail of bad reviews and poor word-of-mouth. When a customer calls in to leave a complaint, it’s important to take these communications seriously.
Complaints are a Golden Opportunity for Improvement
91% of unhappy customers don’t complain to service providers directly. They simply leave and complain about your poor service to friends and family. Unhappy customers might also leave a scorched trail of bad reviews and poor word-of-mouth. When a customer calls in to leave a complaint, it’s important to take these communications extra seriously. Listen, report, track and make changes before it’s too late. Here are a few ways that we handle complaints:

  • Have your best reps and managers work with complaints. This shows the caller that complaints are taken seriously
  • Make it top priority to understand why subscribers are unhappy. Even if only a few people complain, many people churn without giving a reason. Weighting customer feedback heavily is a good practice
  • Start by asking the right questions:
    • “What do you mean by…”
    • “Could you provide an example?”
    • “Could you expand on that last point..”
  • Then ask yourself a few questions:
    • “Do I have enough information?”
    • “Am I making assumptions”
    • “Why is this complaint important?”
    • “Is this a common problem?”
    • “How easy is it to solve?”
  • Lastly, log the complaints and track all the issues
  • Bonus – here are some great ways to ask for feedback:
    • Email a survey. Make the questions quantifiable
    • Have survey pop up after the customer is done paying, calling, or messaging
    • Run a social media poll
    • Request a third-party review; think of these as paid complaints
    • Ask for feedback by text after the customer service call
    • Try slipping a printed survey into the box with warranties
Subscribers Want Great Customer Service
Providing great service to your subscribers will decrease your churn rate. Happy customers = happy bottom line for your business.

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