Churn Management – Proactive and Reactive Approaches

What is the meaning of driving engagement & adoption? In simple words, setting up a streamlined process internally to keep track of all your valued customers and ensuring that they are getting the right amount of attention and not feel left out.

Very few organizations out there have a streamlined process setup. Some organizations have tools and software to track certain attributes that point towards a trend that might lead to a better understanding of their engagement & adoption levels. It can be done with simple tools also. I use an excel sheet to track it. It all boils down to identifying the right attributes for engagement and adoption.

There are two ways by which we can ensure clients are engaged and have good adoption. Proactive and reactive approaches. I have detailed each of the approaches below.

Proactive Steps: Below is a detailed analysis of how I proactively keep track of the important attributes.

Adoption

Engagement

Proactive Approach 1

 

The scale ranges between 1-10 and anything above a 7 is considered healthy. In the case of Gatekeepers, Feedback, Product Roadmap, Business Review & Survey Participation – all of these have binary values as it is either a Yes or No

Having this information and comparing the information of Adoption & Engagement data should give you a decent enough idea of how each client is doing based on your predefined parameters. This would also enable you to understand where your attention is most required and take corrective steps to ensure that they are happy.

Here are a few parameters explained in detail:

  • Business Case – Not all requirements of the client are fulfilled during the initial stages of implementation. So, this score helps you understand that there is scope in the future to do something about it. The harder you work in achieving this for the client it ensures that they would stay longer with you.
  • Value Realized – After a certain time has passed since they started using your product/service find out if they have truly realized the value that you have to offer?
  • Business Review – Under this you have two types. The first one is an operational business review and the second one is a strategic business review. The operational part of it deals with your support issues and enhancement requests while the Strategic part of it deals with the goals you have set along with the client to be achieved in the next quarter.

You can add up all the values for each individual client and come up with a health score. This would help you arrive at a standard health score. Clients above that score would be healthy and ones below would need more attention. You should also know that there could be different attributes that contribute to your adoption and engagement score but I believe this representation encompasses most of it.

Reactive Steps:

Now, even if all of these attributes are monitored properly there is a small chance that they are still unhappy. Some of the factors for that are listed below.

  • A sudden drop in usage
  • Change in leadership
  • High volume of tickets raised
  • Not using the support portal
  • Financial problems
  • Acquisition

Any of the above-mentioned events can happen all of a sudden which might lead to immediate change in the client’s temperature. In some cases, there is something you can do to keep them happy & engaged. For example, certain features they asked for or reducing their cost of subscription etc.

For the remaining cases, you will have to develop a set of questions that you can ask to figure out if there is hope of retaining them. Here are some of them

1.    Questions about their overall experience.

2.    Questions around what could’ve been better.

3.    Questions about what was good.

4.    If there is something that we could do for you in the next quarter that would make you stay, what would that be?

5.    Any other feedback that you would like to give us.

Now based on the feedback from several clients you would see common patterns emerge. Build a strategy around minimizing these and it would really help in keeping some of the customers happy & engaged in the near future.

This is how you use insights from a reactive approach to developing a strategy for a proactive approach.

Points to remember:

1.    Cost of acquisition is always greater than the cost of retention.

2.    Always hire people who are proactive for client facing roles.

3.    Have a structured team in place to handle the portfolio of clients.

4.    Send the best people from your team to deal with customers who are a churn risk.

5.    If you maintain & monitor these attributes for each client, one for adoption and the other for engagement you will almost always know what is happening to them.

6.    Every organization has churn so don’t think that you are alone in this.

Most organizations would hire people for different roles to enact the above-mentioned approaches that would lead to an improvement in adoption and engagement. This is to ensure that clients stay happy and engaged. Here are few of the standard roles:

  • Adoption Manager – One who ensures that each client is properly engaging with the product/service that you consider healthy.
  • Account Manager– One who takes care of upsells, referrals & contract renewals.
  • Support Manager – One who takes care of bugs and enhancements and ensures that all the support tickets raised by the client are tended to within a favorable timeline.

These people should meet frequently to understand what’s happening to each of the clients. This almost always delays the process of understanding each client’s health. Some organizations have understood that this delay could be a problem and built up a Customer Success team to handle all the three activities. The customer success team can maintain all of this information in a structured way as shown above to get an overall understanding of the portfolio of clients they manage. This saves time and ensures that clients are properly taken care of and churn doesn’t happen.

Your organization’s clientele is going to have a mixture of different types of clients. You have to ensure that they are properly taken care of and tended to every day as they all demand different levels of attention. If you lose focus for even a short period it leads to a client having a bad experience and it’s only a matter of time before it spreads. Your job is to proactively ensure that it doesn’t lead to that and maintain a healthy mix.

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