All to often I hear of account managers and customer success managers spending a lot of time trying to save customers that said the magic words “I want to cancel.”  This is unfortunate as you’ll spend a lot of time in a very high touch save process with minimal results.  The reason is that these customers have already made up their mind to cancel, so you’re fighting an uphill battle the entire time.  There is an added risk in today’s connected world that a poorly handled save call can make your organization look bad.  The best example of this is a video from a few years ago when someone tries to cancel AOL.  If you haven’t seen it before, it’s worth 2 minutes of your time:

Since that video has come out Social Media has blown up, so it’s easier than ever now to earn a bad reputation if a bunch of cancelled customers share their experiences.

The best way to make sure that doesn’t happen and that you don’t spend a lot of time on cancelled customers is to get in front of them before they want to cancel!   It’s a lot simpler to do than you might think.

The first step is to monitor customer behavior.  This means knowing what features they access, which ones they use, how frequently they use your products, etc.  This kind of data can either be grabbed from your engineering team (if they track this or have the bandwidth to implement it) or you can always outsource it.

Once you have this data, the next step is to analyze the data so you know what user behavior leads to a happy customer as well as what kind of behavior leads to a cancellation.  If you don’t know how to do this or aren’t very math savvy, don’t worry, it’s much easier than you think.  Feel free to read our Simple Guidebook to Churn Analysis if you need help.

Once you know what kind of behavior leads to a churn you can now segment your customers and identify an at-risk segment.  These are customers whose behavior indicates they’re likely to churn.  At this point, you simply need to engage them! You can call them, send them an email, or message them directly in your product.