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
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. 😁)
Hi AnitaSure 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
@anita tothI 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