In the world of SaaS, churn is the nightmare. It’s what CSM’s and companies as a whole are measured against, and it’s the one number you want to keep as low as possible. In order to do this, we need to keep learning from our clients and their behavior. Arguably, we can learn the most from the clients that signup and then disappear. The challenge with this is, users who leave have no interest in telling you why they left. They‘ve already moved on, and you aren’t in the picture anymore. So how can you get them back for a few minutes to tell you why?
I experienced the following example which I thought was worth sharing, as it demonstrates how a minimum amount of effort can turn a negative situation into a positive one.
So there you are, sitting at your desk working away when you hear a ping and the chat window pops up – “Is support there, I have a question” and like the diligent, customer aware, quick to answer Support team that you are, you reply – “Sure, how can we help?”
The question is very short, not very sweet, and very straight to the point. “How do I cancel my account?”
There are several ways to reply to this question (and I don’t intend to debate the merits of each one), but in this case, it was answered with the following: “No problem at all, please confirm your email and the account will be closed in the next 24 hours.” At this point, the client was probably expecting the support person to try and persuade him not to cancel or at least try the system first then cancel.
After the client said thank you, I asked him “why, after spending almost no time in the application, did you ask us to cancel your account? We are constantly looking to improve on what we are doing, so your feedback would be very much appreciated.”
The client explained that he was looking for a particular feature and could not find it, and without this, the platform did not help him solve the biggest pain point that he was currently experiencing. As luck would have it, this was a feature that was currently in the staging environment and was being rolled out to production in the next two weeks – which was still within his 30 day free trial period. I informed the client of this, and he said two things.
1) “I give you 10 out of 10 for your customer support” and, 2) “I’m not cancelling my subscription, as I would like to evaluate the platform as soon as you have this feature in place.”
So what is so special about this case that made me want to share it with you?
Simply put: it shows how a little amount of effort, which costs nothing, can generate trust – which in turn can lead to a reduction in churn.
There could be many reasons why a user asks how he can cancel the account he just created, however, it usually comes from a negative place. After all, he could have just let the 30 day trial run out – but he went to the trouble of contacting support, which would suggest that he was rather vexed, and really looking for a solution.
When I agreed to cancel the account straight away, the level of anxiety on the side of the client was reduced significantly. What took its place was trust. The client was probably expecting some form of resistance to his initial request, along the lines of “Are you sure you want to cancel”? Why don’t you try the system for a few days?” “We have a great offer for first time users,” etc. However, at this point, all you want to know is why is he cancelling. Gaining that level of trust with the client was the key to him being open to giving the answer we wanted. We need to trust our clients, and more importantly, give our clients the confidence to trust us.
Written by: Clifford Corney, Head of Customer Success at Proggio