7 red flags that mean your customers are ready to run

Customer churn is the antithesis to customer retention. When you gain customers at the same rate that you are losing them, your business growth slows considerably and can even contract. If you’re not already tracking your customer churn rate, you can find it with the equation below and have a benchmark to help you track your progress.

customer churn rate calculation

Look for these signs of customer churn so you can be proactive and stop them from leaving.

1. Decrease in subscription service usage

If you offer a subscription-based service and notice that a customer is not using the product as often as they normally do, they may no longer be happy with what it offers. 

The fix: It’s important to understand reasons for decreased usage, such as poor customer support or inadequate product reliability, so outreach is key. The way you reach out, such as a phone call or a carefully crafted survey, will depend on your business model. If you know the customer’s pain points, use an email campaign to send educational material to inspire more use.

2. Low customer NPS

Detractors, or customers who give a low rating to your company during a Net Promoter Score survey, are likely dissatisfied enough to actively search for new brands. However, customers who are mostly happy with your company — called Passives — can also be swayed by competitors.

net promoter score

The fix: It’s important to use surveys to understand your customers’ pain points, but you also need to take action to resolve them. Even customers who have already left can shed light on ways to prevent future churn. Make it a point to share results with your business leaders and enlist their help in developing plans to improve performance.

3. Asking for new features, whether you provide them or not

If customers keep asking for products or services you don’t provide, then you may not be meeting their needs. If they ask about something you do provide, but are unaware of, then your promotional efforts may not be effective.

The fix: Your company must continue to evolve and grow to meet the needs of your customers. Customers who express an interest in something you don’t offer may present a new product or service development opportunity. But if you are doing so already, you may need to reassess the effectiveness of your messaging and promotional efforts at each customer touchpoint. That will ensure that your customers get the value they expect and increase the likelihood of retention.

4. No complaint resolution process

Eighty-nine percent of churn happens after a poor customer experience, so if a customer does not have their complaint resolved properly or in a timely manner, then they will try a competitor and badmouth your company.

The fix: Make sure your customer service team has a process in place to resolve all complaints quickly and takes any necessary action to ensure they do not reoccur. Offering a discount or promotion may help a negative situation, but if you want to retain customers, you must directly address their complaints and develop a plan to address chronic performance issues.

5. No longer engaging

If a customer who normally responds to your outreach, attends webinars and downloads whitepapers is no longer engaging with you, they may have become dissatisfied with your company or your content may not be meeting their needs.

The fix: Gaining an understanding of what might be driving lower engagement is key. It may be a customer service or product issue. On the content side, the clues may be in assessing what they have responded to in the past and attempting to re-engage them along those themes.

6. Buying less

If a customer who you know to be satisfied is not buying as much as they used to, they may have lost some business or found a lower-cost alternative. 

The fix: Contact the customer about the decrease in purchases, but do some pre-call planning so you can be ready with some new ideas, whether the cause is a loss of business or price sensitivity. Your customer will appreciate your non-defensive approach, as well as your desire and willingness to work with them.

7. Shifts in decision-makers

If you spend the majority of your time cultivating a relationship with a key decision-maker who eventually leaves the company, then you’ve lost a valuable advocate for your business.

The fix: Develop relationships with several stakeholders so you are not severely impacted by one leaving. If it’s a company with large cross-sell potential, actively pursue referrals to deepen relationships and grow revenue. You may even be told of serious changes beforehand. 

Conclusion

Communication is key in B2B marketing. Fostering relationships with your customers can keep them with your company and generate valuable referrals. If you notice any of the signs that they may be churning, do everything you can to understand why they are dissatisfied and work to make it right. If you can’t keep them, at least find out why they left so you can adjust your course and prevent future churn. 

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