So, you’ve made a critical error and you could be facing some devastating customer churn. Whether your company experienced a lapse in up time or malfunctions that affected your customers’ businesses, being able to salvage these clients is critical to your company’s reputation and bottom line.

Research indicates that it’s not only cheaper to focus on customer retention than bringing in new business, it’s also likely to offer a more significant pay-off: your subscription business is 4 times more likely to upgrade current customers than convert leads. If you’re struggling to prevent churn, we’ve curated 5 amazing ideas that can prevent frustrated customers from heading to your competitors:

1. Free Trial of Upgraded Service or Free Add-on

Whether your clients are feeling a bit burned by a malfunction or have simply disengaged, offering a free trial period of a service upgrade could sway their opinion to a more positive place.

Sales expert Wendi Kause recommends avoiding thinking too closely about whether an upgraded solution is really the best fit for their “everyday needs/desires/issues.” The point is, if you have an upgrade available, offering a temporary trial of the service can make you appear “unselfish” or better yet give them a complimentary add-on for free.

2. Discounts

Depending on how frustrated your customers are, offering discounted service could be the only way to salvage the relationship. A discounted upgrade or reduced billing costs will negatively impact your revenue, but it’s still going to cost far less than acquiring new revenue or receiving a poor review from a customer who ultimately churns. Balsamiq is a great example of how they turned their mistake with a powerful message to gain customer loyalty.

Balsamiq Apology

3. Reward Engagement

If you feel that customer churn at your subscription business primarily stems from low engagement rate and design, promote incentives to customers who demonstrate a high engagement rate.

Dropbox offers several ways for their customers to earn more storage space, which includes taking a tour of the website or providing feedback on their services. Rewarding engagement may even bring disengaged customers back into the fold.

dropbox offers

4. Free Promotion

Every small-business owner loves free marketing. Sometimes, the best reward you can provide to customers of your subscription business is visibility, appreciation and some positive SEO benefits. Offer to spotlight their business on your company blog or in social media, providing positive press for their organization and some inbound links to their website which will boost their search rankings.

Start-up Marketer April Dunford recommends initiating an awards program that will provide recognition, bragging rights and search ranking benefits to clients.

5. Referrals to Other Clients

Depending on the scope of your subscription business, you could offer your frustrated customers valuable referrals to other businesses within your network. While it’s always prudent to seek permission before exchanging contact information, these referrals can significantly boost their business and opinion of your SaaS company. People value relationships and they will turn loyal to you soon.

Marketing researcher and writer Jill Griffin has found that only 10% of frustrated or dissatisfied customers air their concerns to their vendors. The rest are likely to share grief with their friends and associates, instead. Whether you’re aware of a risk that a customer will churn due to an error on your part, or you’re simply concerned over the results of some behavioral data that indicates disengagement, take a proactive and personalized approach to providing incentive to stick around.