You would not believe how upset my wife was when the shopkeeper at a local flea market insinuated that there was nothing she could buy at her shop. My wife was fuming at the mouth like a dog with rabies. She was ready to whip out her Yelp and start raving like a mad lunatic.
And then she did something surprising that changed everything.
So many businesses I know focus all their attention on the top of the funnel. They will create content marketing, do lead gen activities, and spend gobs of money advertising to people who have never heard of their brand before.
However one of the most overlooked areas of growing a business is on the back side. When a customer is about to leave. And especially when a customer is about to leave on bad terms.
Which brings us back to the situation with my wife. Just as she was about to march off, the owner of the little tent came up and saw how upset she was. The owner was an older man with white hair and a round belly.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “Are you ok?”
My wife explained the whole situation and the man listened intently. Once she finished, he sincerely apologized. He had recently hired this shopkeeper and explained that he didn’t think things were going to work out if she couldn’t treat his customers with more respect.
That was enough to make my wife feel much better, but what he did next was unnecessary. Above and beyond the call of duty, he gave her a free trinket from his store. We tried to pay for it, but he wouldn’t accept our money.
My wife did end up going on Yelp and leaving a review, but it was a positive one. And the next week, when the flea market opened again, she was back with a friend of hers and they both bought a few small items from his shop.
This got me thinking about the lost opportunities that online business owners have when we are churning customers. Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the top of the funnel that we forget about the opportunities to reduce churn. After all, if you didn’t know it already, customer churn is killing your business. There are a lot of resources to teach you about churn if you are not familiar with why it is so important yet.
But what if, like the happy old shop owner, we could turn a churn situation into a competitive advantage?
Turn Your Thinking Upside Down
In order to implement a system that pro-actively reverses churn, we need to think a little bit differently from normal.
In normal content marketing rules, you create a free gift that has real value (an ebook, a video course, an email course, a checklist, etc) and offer it as an incentive for signing up for your service.
But remember what the shop owner did. He gave my wife a free gift at her most vulnerable moment, when she was most upset.
So if you turn content marketing rules on their head, can you think of something of real value you can offer to customers who are so angry they are about to leave your service forever?
FACT: Discount coupons are a horrible way to try to turn unhappy customers into happy ones.
Why? Because what value do they have if the customer actually does churn? None. So it’s really a fake gift.
What gift would have value even if your customer never saw you again? Maybe a special exclusive report (one that you do NOT give as a signup incentive) or even a small favor.
For example, if you were running an app to help grow social network followers and a customer came to you wanting to cancel their service, what if you were to offer to help them get 100 more followers for free AFTER they cancelled? They might still leave, but they will probably leave a lot happier and think a lot better of your service.
Don’t make it an incentive that they need to stay subscribed to your service in order to get. That’s the same as giving a discount coupon and defeats the point.
IMPORTANT: You are giving this free gift not to convince them not to churn, but rather to turn churned customers into promoters instead of detractors whenever possible.
How to Put This Into Practice
What if there was a way to predict that a customer was about to churn and offer them this freebie before they come to you fuming and wanting to cancel? What if they were only slightly annoyed and you were to over-deliver on their expectations? It turns out there is a way to know!
Net Promoter Score is the most effective way to predict churn that I know of. Your detractors are the ones most likely to turn into cancelled accounts. So instead of just following up with your detractors, you can send them a free gift. Take the spirit of the shop owner and turn potential failures into great success.
Churn doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you have a strategy for it. Hopefully this article has helped you think outside of the box for ways to start building a churn strategy using NPS. If you want to incorporate the Promoter.io automated NPS management system into your churn management strategy, you can sign up now for free.