It's a relatively simple word. It has five letters, one syllable, and will get you at least 10 points in Scrabble.
But you're not playing a board game. You're building a business. And that's why "churn" isn't so simple for you. Its causes are complex. Its effects keep you up at night. It has the power to paralyze your company's growth.
Every business has to cope with customer churn. For a myriad of reasons, some customers decide to cease their relationships with companies. It could be because they're unhappy with your product. It could be because they are unhappy with your customer service or the way your website works (or doesn't work). It could be cost, communication, or quality. It could be a combination of all of these reasons – or something you could never imagine.
The bottom line is that churn happens. And your job is to do everything possible to reduce it.
Here are five practical tips for decreasing customer churn:
1) Treat your customers like people
In the era of the Internet, software marketing has become more important than ever. If you're like a lot of companies, you have employees who specialize in improving link popularity, testing keywords, and working to improve search engine optimization so customers can find you. Don't forget to treat your customers like people once you've connected.
Frequently add fresh content. Make sure it's relevant. And always, always be improving your website's usability. These are the things that make your website accessible to people who are more likely to remain customers.
2) Say thank you
If one word ("churn") can be so incredibly powerful, imagine what's possible if you use two words: "thank you."
Saying thank you to loyal customers is incredibly easy and important – and often overlooked. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it is six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. So why not work hard to keep your current customers by thanking them for their loyalty with special offers, discounts, and access to your company?
Once again, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs comes through with an astounding statistic: For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 others remain silent.
That's a lot of people who will likely leave you – unless you listen. Use your software marketing efforts to solicit customer comments. Pay close attention to the feedback your customers provide. Don't dismiss it. Act on it, and you just might be able to decrease churn.
4) Make it easy for customers to give you money
The average attention span is 8.25 seconds, so if people can't figure out how to quickly and conveniently give you their money in exchange for a product or service, they're probably going to go bye-bye.
Make sure you make it as easy as possible for customers to pay. The easier it is to pay, the more people will do it. Make sure the links in your software marketing go directly to the payment page. Make sure your site is built to remember and auto-fill user names and billing addresses. Make sure to make it easy.
5) Give great service
It's so simple yet so easy to overlook. Delivering consistently great customer service is the hallmark of every company that is able to defend against churn and keep their customers. Customers are fickle, and if you don't give great service, they'll likely be gone – and then tell all their friends.
And you don't want that.
So address issues quickly, courteously, and with the customer's best interest in mind. Give great service.