Many businesses, especially web based ones, live and die by customer acquisition and growth. They invest money and time in new ways to attract new users to their service, while under investing and sometimes neglecting retention efforts. While growth is important, retaining customers is a much more profitable activity – active current customers spend more, and are more likely to use other services your offer. Within that group of current customers, customers who churn sometimes provide you with the most important feedback.
Why do customers churn, and end up owing you money? There could be many reasons, and often times the least of which is some malicious intent on these customers’ part. Some find that your product wasn’t what they expected; some have billing issues; others had a negative service experience. What do you gain from talking to these customers?
- They are often your most vocal critics. While that criticism is hard to listen to or read, and sometimes even exaggerated, it stems from a genuinely bad experience. Each customer who’s willing to talk to you represents dozens, maybe hundreds of others who disappear without saying a word. Listen to the content rather than the style, and you’ll discover a plethora of relevant product and process feedback.
- They care. Some unhappy customers will pay your dues then disappear off your platform forever, without ever voicing their concerns. Some of your defaulted customers care enough, feel strongly enough, that they opt to not pay and get in trouble with you. Winning a customer like that back potentially wins you a strong brand advocate.
- They owe you money. Bottom line, there is revenue to be recovered by reconciling with churned customers. It starts with the money they owe you, but their life time value, if won back as customers, can provide much higher ROI on recovery activities than you may intially think.