We are going to talk about a customer churn risk that all of us in the Customer Success space have experienced – a stuck customer. A stuck customer is someone who is having difficulties progressing forward in a certain phase of the lifecycle journey, for example – implementation, on-boarding, training, product adoption, etc.
This customer status is concerning because it signals a warning sign that the customer isn’t receiving the full potential value from your product yet, and the worry is that maybe they never will. The question is, how do you go about handling this customer churn risk?
Let’s take a look at a scenario where we are dealing with a stuck customer and how we might go about handling the situation to help them become “unstuck”.
You’ve had a new account come on as a client, and you have a kick-off call to introduce yourself, and to get to know the team you will be working with. You set up weekly meetings to help keep things on track and progressing forward during the on-boarding process.
In the initial phase of implementation, you hit an unexpected roadblock. It turns out the customer’s development team has given some pushback on action items that would require their attention. They said that it will be another two months before they can handle the requests. You are worried that this delay will be a huge disadvantage to the customer if they are stalled for so long without being able to use the product properly.
What do you do?
Plan of Action:
First, you have a meeting with the customer to go over the ideal customer journey, so you are both on the same page of what is to come and what it takes to be successful. You also try to dig a little deeper into the stalling points for their development team.
When doing so, you uncover that their dev team was assuming it would be a much larger lift than what it actually is. To help ease their worries, you go through the simple steps they would need to handle and provide all the necessarily documentation to the team. At the end of the meeting they agreed to move the request up in the development queue to the following week.
They have now moved past the implementation/configuration phase, congrats!
You also make sure to map out the customer journey in your CS platform, so you can keep track of their milestones, tasks and achievements that will drive them through each phase of the lifecycle in an organized and efficient manner. You set timelines for each milestone and for the journey overall, to help set clear expectations for your processes both internally and externally.
Since you’ve set up the journey you get alerted that not all of the users have completed the on-boarding training program, and good thing you did, so no one fell behind too badly. Since you know training is an important factor in retention, you reach out to your main point-of-contact to be your champion on the customer side, to help encourage the team to complete the training. Also, with the help of automated reminder emails you have now had all the users successfully complete the on-boarding training program.
The next phase in the journey is to make sure that the users are logging in and actually using the product on a regular basis. To help with adoption you set up in-app messages to introduce and direct them towards some of the stickier features of the platform.
Good news is this customer has remained on track for the remainder of their first year with you as a customer and so when renewal time came around, they wanted to continue on in their journey with you and expand their usage of your services.
Nice work on getting the customer past their roadblocks and defeating that churn monster!
Follow the links below to learn about the other churn monsters we’ve covered so far and stay tuned for a new churn monster next month.
- Churn Monster #1 – Disengaged Customer
- Churn Monster #2 – Cash-Strapped Customer
- Churn Monster #3 – Slacker Customer
- Churn Monster #4 – The Victim Customer
- Churn Monster #5 – Manic Customer
- Churn Monster #6 – Abandoned Customer
Customer Success Around the Web
- Churn is the Quiet SaaS Killer– High churn can creep up an announced, and rather than deal a single fatal blow, it causes death by a thousand small cuts.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Customer Behavior Analysis– If you are looking to learn more about your customers, then read about how a customer analysis can help your business
- Stop Hunting New Customers and Start Growing the Ones You Have– Do you already have everything you need for rapid growth? Take a look why new customers might not be your golden ticket.