SAAS Churn is a dreaded word for SaaS managers. Simple put, churn is the rate at which your customers cancel their recurring SaaS subscriptions. However, effectively measuring and coming up with a strategy to reduce churn is not so simple. It involves a strategy that permeates the entire digital life cycle. From the moment a prospect becomes a customer, a strategy must be in place to keep them on board, and hopefully upgrade or upsell them down the road. SaaS success hinges not only on customer retention, but generating new revenue as well. Churn, however, is at the center of both success metrics. Consider five ways to reduce churn in your SaaS company.
1. Identify Who is High Risk
A key to decreasing churn is to identify high risk customers. The best place to start is with your customers that are leaving. Create an exit survey to collect data. Ask why they are not renewing. How often did they use the software? How many employees used the service? Combine this data with demographic information you should already have, such as the type of business, number of employees, geographic location or age of company. This demographic data will help you create a profile of a high risk customer. Going forward, when new customers subscribe with a similar profile, you’ll know you need to act fast and give them a little more attention to keep them around. Or, you may be able to develop a specific feature tailored to that demographic. If small businesses in a certain niche industry tend to drop, consider their exit surveys and focus on the development of a new feature that might earn their loyalty. You may even discover that a certain age demographic is most likely to drop. Trending these factors will help you develop communication methods aimed at that specific group.
2. Focus on Education
To instill loyalty, customers must feel like they are getting more than they paid for. Exceed their expectations. Instead of focusing on upselling existing customers, focus on educating those clients to ensure they are getting the most from the bucks they are already spending. Specifically focus on education tools for your high risk customers. Create weekly blogs or e-newsletters that feature how-to guides or FAQs. Offer online videos or live video training classes that feature your product or tips and tricks for their industry niche. For example, if your SaaS product features an engagement or social media module, walk your small business owners through this tool. Show them how easy it is to engage their customers. Go beyond the simple functionality of the product. Feature general marketing or engagement tips they will find beneficial too. Use your educational tools to become your client’s trusted advisor. If you sell a product that features a social media tool, you should be an expert on all things related to social media marketing. Get your customers excited about the future by organizing webinars that discuss new features that are in development. It’s a great way to build anticipation and get valuable feedback.
3. Make Upgrading a Natural Process
Upgrades are an integral part of growing and expanding your SaaS business. It’s much cheaper to upgrade an existing customer than to recruit a completely new one. However, to upgrade you have to keep your existing customers first. A customer that has upgraded is more invested in a product than a customer with the most basic subscription. An upgraded customer has seen the value and has moved out of the “high-risk” zone. Thus, upgrading your customers is critical to reducing churn.
An effective upgrade strategy involves helping customers get all they can out of their current plan. You are helping them grow into needing the next. One huge pitfall among SaaS providers is not including enough value in the basic subscription. They mistakenly feel like they should withhold the truly valuable features as an incentive for the customer to upgrade. This faulty reasoning leads to increased churn rates because customers don’t see any value. Conversely, when a customer sees incredible value in the product they’ve purchased, they naturally will see the value in upgrading to the next level.
4. Encourage Interaction
Be proactive about engaging your customers. Reach out to them. Offer incentives for them to communicate their thoughts. Here are a few ways to do it.
- Surveys: Surveys aren’t just for your customers that are leaving. Keep them short, 10 questions or less. Carefully draft questions that will give you insight into how your customers are using the product and what improvements they would like to see. If the user chooses to not remain anonymous, contact them with a thank-you e-mail and follow-up with their specific concerns or requests. Make sure they know their feedback is valued and used. Be sure good and bad feedback is acknowledged. Remaining silent leaves a very bad impression.
- Social Media: Include social media in your branding campaign and in your education strategy. Draw attention to blog posts, how-to guides and industry trends through your social media feed. Utilize social media polls to gather feedback from past and present customers. Set up contests with free product giveaways for participation.
- Feedback Bar: Include a feedback bar or forum directly within your product so users can quickly be heard. It’s a great way for users to interact with each other and get tips from their peers. However, be sure an employee monitors the dialogue to ensure all questions are answered accurately. This will also give you insight into what features may need improvement. If customers constantly have issues with the same feature, maybe it needs to be more intuitive or customers need to be better educated.
5. Offer Rewards
We already talked about giving your high-risk customers a little added attention. However, don’t overlook your most-valued, loyal customers. They need to feel your love too. The most basic loyalty reward is to offer customers buying an annual subscription a reduced rate compared to those that are billed monthly. Go a little further by giving your annual renewals a free add-on to try. Show personal interest by making it something specific to their industry. Ask your loyal customers to try a new beta product and provide feedback. Give them some free usage for their time and insights. Other rewards to consider are those related to a referral program. Integrate with your social media campaign by offering clients a free add-on for sharing their positive feedback with their social media followers. Ask a long-time user to be a guest blog writer. They will get added visibility and so will you. Get creative. Think beyond simple discounts or giveaways.
In a nutshell, SaaS businesses grow by increasing revenue and decreasing churn. Understand your customers. What services are most valuable? How do they prefer to be billed? What is their level of technical expertise? Analyze who they are. Build a strategy for education. Help them see the value in upgrading. Communicate effectively and offer rewards. Max Q Technologies understands that to do this successfully, you need the infrastructure to manage billing, recognize revenue and and track customer engagement. Our highly experienced team works closely with clients to customize their subscription management strategies. Track billing, renewals and effectively forecast future revenues throughout the digital life cycle with our solutions. Contact us to learn more.