Customer success is the heart of any profitable business. When customers love what you have to offer, they’ll stick around for the long-haul—and generate referrals through word-of-mouth. Positive experiences fuel growth.

The best thing about customer success is that it’s entirely within an organization’s control. Every micro-interaction and micro-decision matters— beyond being just buyers of your products, your customers are human beings first.

One of the most important ways to keep your customers happy is to figure out what’s bogging them down. By identifying and preventing problems—and being transparent about your process—you’ll create stronger relationships and prevent churn before it has a chance to happen.

Monitor these 3 warning signs to steer your customer relationships in the right direction:

1. Sudden inactivity

It’s a bad sign when customers—especially ones who are paying—stop using your product. You can monitor and detect this using a real-time analytics platform. In most cases, this signal means one or more of a few things:

- Customers find your product confusing and difficult to use
- Customers don't see the value in what your product does
- Customers don't see your product fitting into their knowledge

When customers fall off the planet, it’s in your best interest to reach out and learn what’s up. Even though your first instinct might be to jump in and launch a “re-engagement campaign,” you should pause and take a step back.

Try to get that person’s attention and learn why he or she has lost interest. With this information, you’ll be well-positioned to create an effective response plan. Rely on empathy as your guide.

You can also use in-app messaging to address this issues. While a user is engaged, in real time you can deliver guidance and helpful tips to address inactivity. MarketingSherpa recently published an excellent case study on a SaaS company, Brainshark, who saw great results  using in-app messaging to accelerate adoption by new users.

2. Lack of feedback

Any feedback, positive or negative, is good feedback because it gives your company an opportunity to respond and course-correct, if necessary.

What’s scary is when customers go radio silent. In these instances, it’s impossible to tell what’s going well and what you could be doing better.

Rather than assuming everything is going well, you need it take it upon yourself to figure out how you can improve. Start by understanding why your customers aren’t sharing feedback. Maybe they are busy, or maybe they’re not accustomed to sharing their thoughts. Regardless of the situation, there are steps that you can take to make the feedback-sharing process easier.

Maybe your customers don’t like receiving email surveys, for instance. In these cases, your team might want to create personalized in-app surveys that capture feedback when customers are logged into your platform. You might also learn that your customers don’t like answering open-ended questions. If this is the case, you might want to design a short and simple closed-ended survey. And vary the questions based on each user’s behavior and answers to past questions.

The best way to figure out what you need is to uncover what you don’t have. From there, you can hammer away at sourcing the feedback that you need.

3. Friction

If your customers are getting stuck at particular stages in your app, platform, or process, you may have a product development issue.

On the surface level, customer churn may seem like an account management or support issue. Dig deeper, through surveys for instance, and you’ll begin to see specific challenges that are holding your customers back from accomplishing these goals.

Figure out what these patterns are, on a systematic level. Loop in cross-functional perspectives with your analysis—including product development, IT, and engineering.

When you identify early sources of friction, you can take steps to delight your customers and prevent churn down the road.

Final thoughts

When it comes to steps 1 through 3, empathy will carry you far. If you want to want to figure out what’s bogging your customers down, you need to take extra steps to care. Passion, coupled with technology, will amplify your ROI. Just wait and see!