Aside from the key challenge that growing tech companies face – creating products that address real-world problems – getting customers and then keeping them for the long term may be one of a growing business’s greatest hurdles. Given that just a 5% improvement in customer retention can boost profits by up to 95%, minimizing churn is paramount, whether you’re a smaller company seeking scale or a market leader vying to maintain a competitive advantage.
Too often, high-growth companies look past high churn rates if they’re adding customers at a decent clip – but soon enough, they’re hit with the mounting costs associated with low customer retention.
Zero churn should be the holy grail for companies of all sizes. To our great fortune, our company, Namogoo, which works with leading ecommerce brands to optimize their online customer journey, has achieved a near-zero churn rate since its founding five years ago.
Customer retention is our priority, and among the things we do to keep our churn rate near 0% is to find ways to continuously demonstrate the value of our product. One example is the 97/3% method: We deploy our solution for 97% of customers’ online traffic, while the remaining 3% serve as a control group. That way customers constantly see the ROI.
It’s just one of the tactics that have helped us build trust and credibility. Here are five essential tips that can help elevate customer satisfaction and minimize churn.
Be Customer-Centric in everything you do
The most successful companies don’t see their customers as faceless parties to a transaction. They see them for what they are – real people with real needs that can only be met by a provider which truly understands their customer experience.
Whether you’re contemplating a new offering or seeking to optimize customer satisfaction, always ask a few key questions: What do my clients say they want? What are their KPIs? How does this product, service or engagement meet their needs and expectations? If you can’t provide a definitive answer to the latter question, go back to the drawing board.
Sales, marketing, customer success, engineering and product teams should all be oriented toward the needs and goals of the customer. Listen carefully to what customers want through every engagement, from the first cold call throughout the lifecycle of the relationship.
Give your customers full transparency
Sometimes the pull to hide your company’s challenges is strong. But trust is the foundation of customer loyalty, and trust is only possible if customers can verify that your product addresses the challenges that brought them your way in the first place.
As mentioned above, have your customers run regular A/B tests on your product – that way they can better understand your solution’s value-add, with concrete data to back it up.
That’s why it’s not enough to just build a great product. Design one from the ground up to integrate with your customers’ internal tools – so they can enjoy full visibility in their reporting and validate all relevant data. When you encounter inevitable speed bumps, work with your customers to overcome them. The trust you establish will see your customer relationship through good times, and more challenging ones.
Keep up with customers’ ever-changing needs
Relationships with clients often resemble a pas de deux – vibrant, dynamic and always subject to new rhythms and directions. For example, companies in this ever-changing innovation environment often pivot or branch out to meet fluctuating market needs. That’s why your product needs to be as dynamic and flexible as your clients – and always be ready to tweak it to make sure your customer is not tangoing one way while you waltz away in the other.
One key example: regulation. Keeping your fingers on the pulse of the regulatory environment in your industry and holding ongoing conversations with your customers to understand how this may affect their needs will help convince them that even in a rapidly changing environment, you’ll always be one step ahead.
Spare no resource onboarding new executives
Even if you experience no customer churn, sooner or later, your customers are bound to see some internal employee turnover. Executives and other personnel come and go – but when it’s your point of contact who leaves, you’re losing a valuable champion of your product, so you must pull out all the stops to keep the relationship going.
Each time a customer contact is replaced, process it as if onboarding an entirely new customer. This guarantees that the replacement knows you well, can rely on you and appreciates the value your product provides. Better yet, build relationships with more than one executive – this can help you determine how your product may be useful in other areas of their organization.
Furthermore, ensure that the entire user onboarding process is smart, engaging, and relevant. Proper user onboarding can improve trial-to-paid conversions, ensure that users completely adapt your core and secondary features, and reduce churn.
Don’t stop educating the customer
Customer relations is a balancing act: On the one hand, you need to provide a service that meets a marketplace need. On the other, customers often need to be shown precisely what they need – and they rely on your expertise to bring them up to speed or show them the big picture.
Share relevant industry data with your clients, develop content that informs and engages, and when appropriate, introduce them to potential new vendors who can help meet their other business needs.
Don’t just see your company as a vendor; by thinking of your organization as a trusted advisor, you’ll strengthen your customer relationships – and be well on your way to achieving zero churn.
Chemi Katz, CEO and Co-Founder of Namogoo