Transcript: Hi! I’m Anna Talerico with Married2Growth. I recently wrote a long article titled, 10 ways to reduce customer churn even when you can’t change your product. Here’s the really short version.
You can improve retention and lower churn, even if you can’t make fundamental changes to your product. Here’s how:
1. Create a “product experience” function. This team should be responsible for every interaction between the customer and the product, outside of the actual product design itself. Demos, trial accounts, customer training, educational content and support. When a group of your deepest product experts are banded together as a unified force with a common mission to make the experience of interacting with the product better you will be surprised how much of an impact they can make.
2. Create a “voice of the customer” function. This role sits in between customer success and marketing. This is a person, or team, who is so intimately close to the customer that they know what content and support your customer base actually needs, versus theoretically needs.
3. Create a “customer development” function. It’s wonderful when someone buys your product and then usage organically grows to new people, teams and departments. But for most products, it takes a surprising amount of effort to plant deep roots inside your customer organizations. Task someone, or a team, with this type of expansion “selling” to existing customers.
4. Create a variety of on-demand training resources. Make sure you have educational content and training for all types of learners. Short videos, long videos, live trainings, articles, infographics—you name it, you need it. When you need customers to adopt your product in order to retain them, you have to make learning easy, simple and accessible.
5. This is a big one. And it’s easy. Launch in-product chat support. Using a real-time chat interface right inside your software in order to provide customer support “in the moment” so your customer doesn’t have to context switch and disrupt their workflow when they run into something they don’t understand or something that isn’t working as they expect it to. This is a game changer.
6. You can also Launch in-product guidance. Implement a “walk me” type of software that automatically guides new users through their initial steps inside of the software, and gives contextual help and content for all key functionality. Even if you have a complex product, you need this. You can’t control when and where new customers experience your product, so you need to be prepared for everything.
7. Build a community of champions. Reach out to your best customers to ask them to review your product on 3rd party sites. Ask your most knowledgeable users to post tips and tricks in a user-generated content area of your support site. Enlist a handful of your best customers to do a webinar talking about their success and experience with your product. The goal is to get your best customers acting more publicly, so that struggling customers gain confidence in your product.
8. Create a retention playbook. Document customer health indicators, how to spot them, and what to do about them in as much detail as possible, and with supporting examples. Socialize this retention playbook across the organization so everyone is living and breathing retention together.
9. Hit the road. Send your product experience team on the road to spend meaningful time with at-risk customers. Literally hundreds of times I have seen a customer who isn’t adopting the software due to reasons X, Y and Z. Then, when someone is face-to-face with them inside their office, spending meaningful time with them, we uncover it’s actually reasons A, B, and C.
10. Create a company-wide “Swarm” mentality. When you are dealing with a product you can’t really change, and you need to increase retention, you have to empower everyone inside of your organization to drop everything they are doing and swarm to help a customer who is frustrated. Stop pain, frustration, friction in it’s tracks, and ask that everyone in your company work together to do that. So, that’s the short version – but I delve into these10 ways in more detail over in my article, so I hope you will check that out, or reach out to me – I’d love to hear from you.