Churn prevention is an active process that begins long before a user starts paying for your service, and continues throughout the lifetime of the subscription.

But building a rock-solid retention strategy can be intimidating. Knowing the crossroads where your users make vital decisions about your product is a great way to streamline your planning.

We’ve talked about mapping this process out before, and we’ve compiled that journey in a handy infographic.

Churn Prevention Throughout the Customer Journey

Start by thinking of churn prevention on a longer timescale than you might imagine. It’s a process that begins with your marketing and continues long after a potential customer becomes a paying user.

This image is an infographic on the Churn Buster blog exploring different ways to prevent churn throughout the customer journey. Churn prevention ideas are broken into visual sections, each outlining a different crossroad in the user journey. First is "your user is researching". Reach out to the right kind of customer from the very beginning. Create and follow buyer personas and don't market what you can't do. Starting with the right messaging, bring in the right leads, and you’ll save a lot of time and energy moving forward. Up next is when your user signs up. An informed user with a strong grasp of your product is much more likely to stay with your long-term. Spend time crafting a thorough onboarding experience, and build up a backlog of learning resources. Webinars and demos are great ways to educate and inspire your users. Number 3 is the activation point. The activation point happens the moment your tool moves from an exciting novelty to a vital part of your customer’s workflow. Build up resources that help your customers understand and actively use every aspect of the product. Send consistent tips and tricks for best use to help users grow their understanding. Use live chat to automate messages celebrating success. At the end of Month 1 is the next big crossroad in the user journey. At the end of their first month of use, most users will take a long, hard look at the service they are paying for. Proactively send detailed receipts and analytics to remind them of the progress they’ve made and the range of ways your product streamlines and improves their workflow. Next is after a customer support complaint. When a customer hits a roadblock and contacts customer support, you need responsive communication channels that proactively go above and beyond in responding. Follow-up with helpful content. Common or recurring complaints need to be reported to your marketing and product development team. From here, you can create content to help future customers through the same issues. Then, if a user switches plans or tiers in your product. When a customer upgrades, you might feel that you’ve “won” their business. In fact, they’ve just entered another stage in your retention funnel. Inform them of the new features they’ve unlocked, whether via tutorials, webinars, or written content. Schedule automated live chat messages to check in. Remember that a customer downgrading is not the end of the world- in terms of the lifetime value of their subscription, the best-fit feature set will pay off in the end. Up next is any feature releases. Every feature releases need churn prevention strategies following its release. Don’t alienate customers when your product changes. Tease new feature releases with content before release, then send an email blast when the new feature goes live. Video and webinars are great ways to show off your releases. Automated in-app messaging is another great way to educate your users through changes. Number 9 is when your customer becomes a VIP user. Every business has rockstar customers that do more than use a product- they take it to the next level. Start by reaching out for a testimonial. From there, offer rewards for referrals. Highlight these users on your blog or by creating videos. By sharing stories from your most successful customers you can both bring in new users and inspire your existing base. Last, but not least, when your customer churns the road isn't over for churn prevention. Even when a customer churns, there’s value to your business and your churn prevention strategy. Create an exit survey and gather any other insights from their decision to leave. Churn cohort tables are useful tools to see where and when in the user journey customers choose to churn. If the lack of a specific feature is a key part of the churning customer’s decision to leave, add them to a re-engage list if you eventually release that feature.

Churn Prevention: The Long Haul

Retaining customers and fighting churn is a process that lasts through the entire lifecycle of the user. Remember that some of these checkpoints are recurring- you will make updates to your product, and every time this happens you need to be actively ensuring that the experience is positive and tailored to your user base.

More broadly, though, think of your customers as a long-term investment. As they grow and scale, make sure that you are able to grow and scale with them. Communicate consistently so you can anticipate and meet their needs. It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be rewarding.

Not sure where to start? Outsourcing failed payments is a great way to kick off your retention efforts! Learn more about how Churn Buster can simplify and streamline your churn prevention strategy here.

Kristen DeCosta

Author Kristen DeCosta

Kristen is dedicated to educating companies and founders on the importance of customer retention and the dangers of ignoring churn. When she's not busting churn and crafting content, you can find her hiking a mountain or playing with her three rescue pups, Cooper, Tobi, and Finn.

More posts by Kristen DeCosta

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