Customer Success Leadership Community

Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

  • 1.  Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-20-2020 10:26
    How does your team process churns and capture actionable insights from them? Does anyone use a third party agency to speak with the customer? I'd love to hear about your team's best practices!
    #CustomerJourney
    #CustomerSuccess
    #IndustryData&Insights
    #Outcomes
    #RevenueManagement
    #Strategy
    #VoiceofCustomer

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    Dan Cook
    Customer Success Team Lead @ Quorum
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  • 2.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-20-2020 12:52

    Hi Dan -
    We do a "churn retro" and a "win retro" after each quarter.  We try to identify trends in the market, competition and reasons for the loss.  We ask what we could have done differently or lessons learned.  The lessons learned are then incorporated into our workflows and customer engagement journeys.  As example, we noticed that any deal <12 months had a noticeably higher churn rate.  That led to keeping Sales fully engaged on the <12-month deals.  Our partner deals also had a higher churn rate so we worked with our partners to implement the same onboarding we do with direct customers.  It improved that retention by 5% in a year.   

    Doing a "win retrospective" tells us why we win so we can repeat those behaviors or actions.  Just having a loss retrospective can feel like CSM shaming.  Adding the win retro gave us a more balanced perspective.  

    After both retros, I write up a summary that is then shared with internal leadership in Sales, Marketing, Product and Partnerships.  It has led to better partnerships with those teams and deeper understanding of how our customers are actually using and deriving benefit from our software. 


    A previous company did use a third party to conduct surveys with customers.  They only did it for our enterprise former customers.  In a few cases, they did uncover some reason we didn't know but there was little new information gathered.  

    Hope that's helpful!

    Stacie



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    Stacie Ward
    VP Customer Care
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  • 3.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-20-2020 14:06
    Thanks for your insights, Stacie! Do you remember the third party you used at your previous company to conduct surveys with enterprise customers?

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    Dan Cook
    Customer Success Team Lead @ Quorum
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  • 4.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-21-2020 09:23

    Great question @Dan Cook. So much can be learned from churned and at-risk customers through a quick 30 minute, structured interview. ​You want to make sure you create the right questions and structure the interview so those questions are in the right order and asked at the right time. Otherwise you risk not getting the data you really want or, worse yet, upsetting the interviewee.

    Interviewing churned customers can be a delicate process as you don't want to damage the relationship any further. But done right (including win-back processes and closing the loop), these interviews can provide tremendous insights.

    Happy to chat with you about how to structure all the right elements in a churn interview strategy.  (It's what I do for a living. 😁)



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    Anita Toth
    Customer Retention/Churn Consultant
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  • 5.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-21-2020 10:11
    Hi Dan 

    We use a blend of direct conversations and surveys.

    For tier 1/ enterprise customers we run through the survey with them and capture as much information as possible, from smaller companies and this is mainly due to resource we run an online survey as part fo the off-boarding process.

    We used this data to develop a weighting and compare against our own health score. Its been a huge help in predicting churn. 

    Like @Stacie Ward I produce a monthly management report to highlight churn and potential churn. Its a great insight for the other teams to understand what makes our customers tick and helps get everyone on the same page as the customer. 

    I cant recommend a 3rd party unfortunately as ive always held this task in house. I hope it helps though

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    Craig Jackson
    The Accountancy Cloud
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  • 6.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-21-2020 12:14
    @Craig Jackson I'm curious to learn a bit more about the direct conversations. Do the CSMs have specific questions they ask as part of those conversations (standardized questions for all CSMs to ask) or is it just questions they ask in the course of the conversation and they note the customer's responses?

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    Anita Toth
    Customer Retention/Churn Consultant
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  • 7.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-21-2020 12:36

    Hi Anita

    Sure thing,

    So to frame my response a little better our CSMs will generally have quite strong relationships with our tier 1 customers and in most cases, of course not all, provide us with quite detailed information. 

    We have set up the survey in a similar manner to our CSats surveys to capture both qualitative and quantitive information. Purpose being to align the dissatisfaction or reasoning with a score. For example if a customer scores us 3/5 on all 4 areas of service offering and reasons behind it we can loosely infer that this is death from a thousand cuts. Rather than scoring exceptionally low in one area and that being enough to drive churn. 


    Over time, and with a some experience we can pick up on certain issues in our quarterly reviews to then predict red, amber green accounts. 


    Through personal experience alone i've found that having these direct conversations with an established relationship you can keep digging and digging to hit the root cause. We aim to get the best of both worlds, ask a number of standardised questions but then get as much information as possible in the narrative. 

    Its one of the areas I really enjoy learning more about and improving if you have any pointers please let me know.

    Cheers 

    Craig



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    Craig Jackson
    The Accountancy Cloud
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  • 8.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-28-2020 09:57
    @Craig Jackson It warms my heart to hear that you're interested in learning more about how to dig down and get those true answers from your customers. As you pointed out, you have to keep digging to get there.

    I'm thinking of creating a beta program to teach people how to improve their interview/listening skills to better serve customers and help companies get to the 'root causes', as you mentioned.

    Is this something that might interest you?​

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    Anita Toth
    Customer Retention/Churn Consultant
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  • 9.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-28-2020 20:35

    @anita toth

    I would definitely like to learn more about it. I think you would get a considerable amount of interest in it. 


    I'm a big believer that it's a subject area where you can never know enough. 


    Speak soon 


    Craig 



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    Craig Jackson
    The Accountancy Cloud
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  • 10.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-26-2020 13:46
    @Dan Cook one of the things we have found great success with is not outsourcing to a 3rd party company but instead having 1 dedicated person on our CS team responsible for exit interviews.

    We find this lets the customer speak more freely about their experience and give us more insight into why they truly left.​

    Note - this person is also responsible for reaching out to NPS detractors as well with different questions for each.

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    Jordan Silverman
    Vice President of Customer Success
    MarketMan
    9148445775
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  • 11.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-27-2020 15:44
    @Jordan Silverman  Great response! If a company is unable to hire a third party, then having one dedicated team member to do the interviews is the next best situation.

    This allows the person to develop their interviewing skills and lends some consistency to the process.

    Do you happen to know how this person was chosen for the interview role? I'm curious because sometimes it's related to job title and sometimes it's related to their personality.​

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    Anita Toth
    Customer Retention/Churn Consultant
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  • 12.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-27-2020 20:13
    @Anita Toth good question!

    We chose the CSM that:
    a) Wanted more responsibility and wants to grow
    b) Has no problem asking people tough questions
    c) Knows how to ask really good secondary/follow up questions

    For us it was most about personality and willingness!

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    Jordan Silverman
    Vice President of Customer Success
    MarketMan
    9148445775
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  • 13.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-28-2020 09:49
    This is great to hear @Jordan Silverman. With their willingness, they'll likely improve their interviewing skills and get better at digging below the socially acceptable answer to get to the churned customer's true thoughts and feelings. 👍👍

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    Anita Toth
    Customer Retention/Churn Consultant
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  • 14.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 10-30-2020 13:43
    Our org built a team to have these conversations (started as a single person, grew to 4 front line). I'd argue this team is probably the most impactful CS function (I'm biased!). 

    Keeping it internal does a couple of things:
    1. Internal employees have more skin in the game to solve for customers concerns 
    2. Building a system internally can scale with the business
    3. Taking the feedback and collaborating with other orgs (think: Sales, Marketing, Product and even Finance) should happen internally
    The teams objective is to save business, but most importantly, we are also expected to collect concise feedback to report back to the broader team so we can learn from customers requesting to cancel. The conversations can range from 5 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on how willing the customer is to connect and discuss. We don't use a script or have any process that's rigid - we try to keep that to the Customer Experience Manager to gauge and push the customer accordingly. 

    Happy to chat offline about some lessons I learned while being a part of the building process for a couple of years. I went from saving 15% of my customers in my first quarter in the role to over 60% last quarter.

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    Gurdev Anand
    Sr. Customer Experience Manager
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  • 15.  RE: Learning from Churn/Conducting Post Mortems

    Posted 11-02-2020 10:16
    @Gurdev Anand Sounds like these are very fruitful discussions. 🙌 I fully agree about not having a script but were there standard questions that everyone asked as a way to standardize the responses for later analysis?

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    Anita Toth
    Customer Retention/Churn Consultant
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