Customer Support’s Important Role in Solving Common Churn Problems

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For growing companies (like us!), growth and churn are two important areas of focus–while often times it’s easier to focus and highlight growth because it’s more exciting and sexy, churn is equally important and should not be swept under the rug and dismissed.

Understanding why customers churn is critical to how you continue to position, sell, and support your customers and to build your product and business. Churn is also costly–it’s 5-25x more expensive to earn a new customer than it is to keep an existing one!

While churn is a problem all departments work together to address, customer support has a unique perspective and ability to mitigate churn.

We’ve identified 3 common problems and ways support can deliver impact to the business.

1. Insufficient onboarding

The most critical stage of customer retention is getting a user from sign-up to her first feeling of success and seeing the value of your product or service. While signing up a new user (or account) means revenue, if she does not experience a ‘win’ in a timely fashion, she’s more likely to churn.

We’ve seen support successfully take a proactive role in messaging customers on Day 1 or Day 3 of onboarding to open a line of communication and let the customer know that support is invested in their success on the platform! Engagement is paramount during onboarding and determines how engaged your customer will be with your product or service long-term. Don’t wait until your customers have to raise their hand, introduce yourself as a resource early on.

2. High Effort Support Experience

The art of customer support lies in making it easy for the customer to find their answer — whether that’s through self-service or through your support team. Ultimately customers want their question answered as quickly as possible.

Investing in building out help content and and ways to increase discovery of that content reduces the effort a user needs to take to find their answer and saves time and money for your business and support team.

It doesn’t matter if you offer every contact channel under the sun; if users are frustrated and experience high wait times to get their answer, they will likely churn.

Take the time to evaluate your support strategy and ensure it’s designed to meet customer expectations. A customer’s experience with your support team creates a lasting impression and influences their perception of your business.

3. Mismatch in Expectations

For any growing business, it’s natural that at times you will attract the wrong customers. At the end of the day, if a customer’s needs ultimately don’t match with the product or service that you offer, they won’t continue on no matter how much support you’ve given them. It’s unrealistic to expect 0% churn. However, there are times where a mismatch in expectations can be addressed–and is also support’s time to shine!

Support has the unique position of receiving the most customer feedback and has the opportunity to identify where customer expectations are aligned or misaligned. This can be a powerful predictor of why customers may be churning now or in the future.

Support can determine where there is a mismatch and act as the feedback loop with marketing, sales, product, or engineering.

As the voice of the customer, support can identify:

  • Are customers asking for unintended use cases that don’t align well with the product or service?
  • Are they identifying a product limitation or requesting a certain feature?
  • Are they confused with certain parts of the product?
  • What part of the customer journey is there friction or confusion? Pre-sales? Onboarding? Ongoing product assistance?
  • Where do customers need the most help?

Churn is a complex problem that requires collaboration from all functions. Customer support plays a strategic role in identifying reasons for churn and partnering with stakeholders to address potential issues and impact the holistic customer experience.

Growth often steals the spotlight, but churn is an up-and-comer and support is a key part of the puzzle and the conversation.