Subscription businesses know it’s imperative to provide excellent customer experience to your subscribers to maintain a healthy level of customer retention. The results are happy customers who return for additional purchases and recommend your products and services to others.
With competition saturating almost every industry, keeping customers from jumpshipping doesn’t only warrant competitive intellect, it demands thoughtfulness in communication, and a great customer retention strategy.
It is what Chargebee Retention attempts to address for subscription businesses of all sizes, across the world. By shifting the philosophy around personalization well beyond offering bespoke customer experiences, our customers have been able to tailor offers, cancel pages, and other key vectors at the point of cancellation to make the entire product package more cohesive, memorable, and hence sticky, ultimately sprucing up their NRRs.
If you want to know how to influence customer experience through your point of cancellation, read on.
What does customer experience mean?
From the first time they see your ad, to exploring your offerings, making their first purchase, through to post-sale interactions – all of these touch points contribute to the overall customer experience.
Individual experiences (both positive and negative) in the customer journey can often move the needle on customer retention, which is why it’s important to ensure you are never dropping the ball on engaging customers. Satisfaction isn’t enough, customer delight is your competitive edge.
Let’s explore some of the ways you can build highly engaging customer experiences, across touchpoints.
1. Develop a seamless customer experience strategy
To get the most out of your time and workflow, it’s always better to be proactive than reactive. As customer retention and churn are crucial components of a brand’s durability, there needs to be a continuous effort to address the overall experience.
You should start by outlining how you aim to deliver an exceptional experience to your customers. Creating a strategy can ensure all are aware of the specific goals, success metrics, and action plan to implement changes.
Be mindful of how are your customers interact with your brand, and ensure a consistent experience, regardless of the device or environment. Mobile and desktop should feel seamless, as they should with in-store experiences as well. By creating an integrated experience, there is no disruption in a customer’s journey across all platforms. This also makes it easier for sales and conversions, allowing customers to pick up where they left off on all devices.
2. Create customer journey maps and cancellation flows
Map all the touch points a customer has from start to finish with your brand. Use these as customer journey milestones and to get a better visual of the pain points customers typically encounter. By prioritizing your customer’s perspective, customer journey mapping makes it easier to identify and improve the issues that are likely to generate frustration. Addressing and optimizing these areas of contention can help turn a bad experience into a great one.This also helps significantly improve your customer retention.
Better awareness and preparedness of customer challenges will not only help you evolve as a service and a business, it will also inform you of the appropriate ways to convince your customers to ‘give you another shot’ at the point of cancellation. If you know your customer’s cancel intent, you know the offers that will be the most effective for them.
This can be done through a series of questions, requesting feedback, and more. The goal is to make your customer feel heard and valued in these last moments, offering them a personalized solution for their situation.
A proper cancellation flow strategy covers all of the bases and maximizes your capabilities. Take the visual communication company – Powtoons, for example. At the point of churn, the company leveraged each individual cancellation survey and sent customers to personalized cancel pages based on their reason for churn. Each dynamic page thus created with Chargebee Retention, would have an offer specific to the cancellation reason attested before.
Beyond that, customers who visited the cancel page – but eventually deflected (without churning) – were also put on a watch list to activate CSM support and ensure that customers who are on-the-fence find enough value to stay on.
This approach helped Powtoons register a save rate lift of 63% .
It is an imperative (both as a UX question and as a legal directive) to ensure that your cancellation flows are self-serve. Since customers must be allowed to cancel digitally, i.e. without having to reach out to support or any of your executives, your cancellation flow must also be auto-initiated and have the same ease of use and efficiency your customers experienced during onboarding. Cancellation flow screens for self-service usually contain:
- An empathetic message recognizing the customers unfulfilled/changing needs or any concerns
- A reminder of the features/capabilities they will lose
- Avenues for customers to leave feedback
- A personalized offer or incentive as a last attempt to get them to stay
Even if they do exit, you must ensure they don’t leave with a foul taste. If nothing else, a customer journey mapping will ensure you have gathered enough relevant customer information to retarget them with a winback strategy later on.
3. Encourage and monitor customer feedback
If Powtoons’ cancellation flow is anything to go by, you already know how important exit feedback from customers is in informing your save strategy and delivering better customer experiences at the point of cancellation. To provide a positive experience for customers it’s important to really understand what they expect from your brand.
Feedback collection typically and most conventionally happens through the customer exit survey and lends real insights into your customers’ expectations of you.
It’s not enough to just ask for feedback, you need to address and resolve the issues that your customers are currently experiencing in a timely manner.
Businesses can decide to seek customer feedback either before or after the actual churn event. While a quick follow-up e-mail after they’ve cancelled is more non-intrusive, collecting feedback prior to them hitting cancel can (as we already showed) power retention offer personalization.
In any case, collecting and acknowledging customer feedback helps reinforce how much you value what your customers have to say. An open channel for feedback and communication can help contribute to an amazing experience overall.
Customer feedback can also be monitored in bulk to determine leading issues and oversights that must be resolved. Both positive and negative experiences are valuable to your strategy, especially when you are trying to consider how to personalize experiences for your customer. Their feedback unveils their true needs, preferences, and pain points. With this information, you can enhance your efforts and improve customer satisfaction.
4. Train and empower your customer success team
Your customer success teams control a sensitive touchpoint for your business. They are the true gatekeepers of customer experiences since any recommendation, issue, or concern is mostly routed through them. Responding to customers often defines what continued engagement with your business might look like. It is imperative, therefore, to train your customer success teams to respond not only with velocity, but with certainty, especially when a customer intends to churn. This only happens if they have enough context on each customer, their experiences, and their concerns.
Empowering your customers’ success team with contextual data is mission-critical for durable customer experiences. Your customer journey and segmentation play a critical role.
By building ready integrations with CRMs, Chargebee Retention can often populate a customer account with key details and churn-risk status, so your success executives can reach out proactively instead of waiting for active signals from customers to support them.
It’s equally important to take the time to create training programs that provide your customer success reps with the proper knowledge and training to address the various situations they may encounter with disgruntled customers.
Empathy will be one of the biggest factors to instil, ensuring your reps are considerate throughout the process. This can be the differentiator between whether or not that customer stays or becomes a new customer to a competitor. A customer-first mindset will be met with success. By giving your team the tools and training they need for exceptional customer service, you can enhance the buyer’s experience and improve your retention efforts.
5. Leverage technology to optimize response times
The average response time between when an unhappy customer expresses their dissatisfaction to the time your customer support team resolves it – is an important determinant of customer experience. The longer the customer waits for a response, the less valued they feel.
There are some solutions that can help you bridge the gap between a customer reaching out and a customer service rep responding.
Leveraging automated tools like chatbots help you compile all relevant data (real-time issue tracking, contract tenure, LTV, and more), and relay it to your customer success team, mitigating further delays in context-hunting and bridging the gap between problem discovery and resolution.
AI-led chatbots are also able to extend their logic to provide a preliminary aid through automated prompts – either offering foundational resolution or digging for more context from the customer without consuming manual bandwidth. This further minimizes the time needed to address their situation when a rep contacts them via email or phone and makes your customer success team more efficient.
Improving your average response time ensures that your customers feel attended to, projects an empathetic image of your brand, and deliver better retention returns.
A customer-centric approach should also be omnichannel, meaning the experience should remain the same regardless of how they contact you. Your customers choose you to make lives easier for them. Forcing a mobile-based user to flag complaints through a web portal defeats the purpose and only further delays problem discovery. It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that feedback collection, information triaging, and response mapping happens across any customer-preferred channel.
This is easier said than done. Collecting issue tickets across channels might lead to data-bulking and, at worst, loss of information. Whether using a chatbot, email or telephonic support, or even an in-app feedback form, data collected should be synchronized in a single space for better visibility so your CSMs are not scouring across tools to find context before responding to customers.
6. Loyalty and referral programs
Loyalty programs are a long-term engagement lever. It gamifies and incentivizes sustained customer interactions with your brand and helps build better LTV (lifetime value). Loyalty points can also increase average customer spending as they aspire to hit certain milestones, which means more repeat purchases. Incentives and loyalty programs are a great way to make your customer feel valued, which is the best result of a solid customer experience strategy.
Another great way to boost your ARR (annual recurring revenue) and make customer acquisitions simpler is through referral programs. Even your top-quartile subscribers (those who love your product more than anyone else) and your strongest brand advocates will like you better if you incentivize their efforts to grow your business. While unassisted, organic referrals sound great, incentivized referral programs convert at a larger scale.
Chargebee powers both loyalty and referral programs by integrating with specialized loyalty and referral tools with API integrations, helping make your subscription plans more magnetic.
7. Use social media to build brand loyalty
Social media has become an excellent resource for businesses to keep their customers engaged. By using it to respond to customer complaints, share product updates, and even communicate incentives, you can remain top-of-mind and improve your customers’ experiences across the journey. Your social platforms are a great place to add some additional personality to the brand, making the communication process between your brand and customer feel more genuine and authentic.
Use social media for promotions and engagement to build a strong community around your business. Communicate seasonal or special coupons and discount campaigns in a space more comfortable for your customers. This is important in building familiarity and (by extension) trust. A loyal customer is likely to choose you even with cheaper alternatives available because they trust your organization, are familiar with the quality of your product/service, and feel aligned with what your brand stands for.
Customer loyalty can also help you create organic brand advocates who help extend your range of visibility. This is a crucial component to improving customer retention, reducing churn, and creating organic brand advocates.
8. White-gloved personalization for memorable experiences
Today, personalization has gone from being a differentiator to a deal-breaker. If you are not attempting to get closer to them, your customers will not be incentivized to care about you.
Customer experience personalization starts as soon as a prospect first interacts with you by offering a multilingual app or website experience to dynamic landing pages. But, it also extends to the most sensitive early touchpoint, i.e. the point of sale (or transaction) and beyond.
While you must speak your customer’s tongue at the point of sale (through multilingual checkout support), your subscription platform must also support all the preferred payment options (wallets, cards, direct debit, cash, and more) for your customers. If you are a global business, this means onboarding multiple payment gateways (each with its own unique payment options).
Personalization also extends beyond purchase to sustain relationships. Ensuring all your dunning communications are personalized based on customer variables (plan details, purchase and expiry dates, additional preferences, preferred payment modes, etc.) also reduces friction and lifts customer experiences.
By understanding your customer’s behaviors, preferences, and needs, you can personalize your offerings to each customer. This can create a positive experience throughout the entire customer journey, making them feel valued, which in turn strengthens brand loyalty.
9. Make customer-prioritization your mantra
Efforts to improve customer experiences is an operational philosophy. Which goes to say, that the small, incremental optimizations have to be perpetual. Continuously monitoring customer feedback and communicating with them, will open avenues to adjust your processes, services, or products, and build market durability.
The best way to hit the mark is to always go the extra mile for customer satisfaction, use feedback and analytics to identify areas of improvement, and most importantly create an environment that will result in a happy customer.
Analyze, conceptualize, optimize
Remember, happy customers are the key to your business’ success. High churn rates are an indication that something in your customer journey isn’t fitting quite right. Identifying and resolving individual gaps in customer experiences will ultimately help you improve your entire product.
For improvements to be continual and visible, it is important that you have the tools that enable full-cycle growth – straight from streamlining checkout, to solving revenue recovery, to collecting feedback, retaining customers, and everything in between.
With Chargebee’s complete revenue growth management suite, 4500+ businesses like yours have already gained the ability to accurately improve overall customer experiences by collecting customer insights accurately, making plan/pricing/packaging changes that move the needle, offering seamless revenue collection, and providing hyper-personal retention experiences.
Additionally, the Chargebee Retention platform has everything you need to implement optimized cancellation flow strategies, monitor your retention performance, and test various approaches to keep your customers ecstatic with your brand. Get started today and start improving your retention efforts.