As mentioned in a previous post, the Customer Success team is given a unique opportunity to gather critical feedback following a customer’s request to cancel their contract. CSMs should contact every customer who has canceled, or requested to cancel, to solicit feedback. People are generally more honest and candid when they have already made the decision to leave. Don’t approach this call ad hoc- create a customer cancelation process and a standard list of questions to ensure this feedback from churned customers is as valuable as possible for your team. This is an opportunity to collect insights to share with all customer-facing teams, so don’t forget to dig into how each department could have better served this customer. Finally, grouping cancelations into a few categories allows your executive team to track churn trends over time.
Goals of this exercise
The primary goal of any follow up conversation should be to determine what went wrong. You and your team should be eager to learn from any mistakes you might have made and push yourselves to continuously make improvements. After you’ve uncovered the customer’s pain points, share this feedback with your colleagues if you think there were any interesting insights. Did the client cancel because the features they requested never got built? Did their campaigns rarely deliver in full and on time? Was the pricing too steep for the value they received from the product? All these are examples of issues that affect the Product, Operations, and Sales teams in different ways.
1) What is your primary reason for canceling?
2) Is there anything we could have done to better address this issue?
3) Did you have any pain points with the product that we could have improved?
4) How was your experience with our Customer Success and Support teams?
5) Do you think my team provided value to this partnership? If so, which strategy did you find most impactful?
6) How could I have managed your account more effectively?
As part of collecting this feedback from churned customers you should store a quick summary of your findings somewhere that’s easily accessible to other team members (like in your CRM tool). When writing this summary, don’t forget that there might be someone stumbling across this relic in a few years wondering what the story was with this account. For that reason, do your future self a favor and include some details that might seem a bit basic. How was the account signed (opt-in to a MSA, inbound lead, etc.)?, Who was your main POC? How many people were using the tool? How much was the client paying? Which product were they using? There will should be a lot of overlap with the topics covered in your initial Sales to Customer Success knowledge transfer.
Taking action on feedback from churned customers
Now that you have insights into why a customer canceled, how can you try to prevent similar future cancelations? First, consider how this customer compares to your ideal customer profile. Did they have characteristics that were more the exception than the rule when compared to the rest of your customer base? They might have been a bad fit to begin with. If they fit the mold of your ideal customer, then it’s worth going the extra mile and really digging into the details on why they decided to cancel as this type of churn can spell disaster for your business in the long-term.
Part of a Customer Success team’s job is to ensure the entire company is aligned around an ideal customer so that everyone, no matter their department, can help attract and retain them - Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré