What’s Your Plan for At-Risk Customers?
By Clicktools Guest Blogger, Jeannie Walters
Customers used to fall into two categories at most organizations. New customers or “the rest of them.” New customers are the stars of the show – the more we gain, the better! Those others? They might pay their bills on time and seem to be happy since they don’t complain. That can lull us into thinking that’s enough.
Who are your at-risk customers?
Before you can enact any plan for at-risk customers, you first need to identify them. Do you know those who are ready and willing to defect to your competitors when the right opportunity presents itself?
These are customers who are not happy or just “meh” about what your brand does for them. They haven’t felt cared for since they were your shiny new customers. They may not have a strong opinion about what you think are the best features of your product or service. They may have had one bad experience with a contact center rep and decided that was enough to open the door to consider switching. Or maybe they have been trying to share feedback, but don’t feel heard.
1. Identify what happens when a customer defects.
There are probably some hard-to-forget customer stories about those customers who left for your competitors. Find out if there are common themes among those who left. Determine if there is a moment in the customer journey when they are most likely to leave. Look for trend lines with product renewals versus cancels or those who leave after X number of months or years.
2. Set up triggers to find out more.
If one of the identifiers is a customer who has used your product for 6 months or less, then reaching out to them before that deadline is imperative. Set up triggers at intervals throughout the onboarding process to reach out and see if that customer needs support. Ask for input – don’t just offer training or webinars that are solely product-centered. Ask for what might be missing.
3. Understand what the ideal customer journey is.
Only then can you watch for ways to support it.
Your best customers probably use your product more often than those who will leave. If you know what the ideal journey looks like through customer journey mapping, then you can watch for when your current customers are veering away from the ideal and lapsing into not relying on your brand.
4. Don’t be afraid of the exit interview.
“Win some, lose some” seems to be the plan of many organizations who don’t want to think about at-risk customers. The best brands never shrug this off as insignificant. Seek feedback when a customer leaves. Ask the hard questions about why they left and who ended up serving their needs. Use that information to inform your roadmap for improvements.
5. Treat former customers like friends, not enemies.
Without a plan for at-risk customers, organizations lump former customers back into the “prospect” category. This means the customers who had relationships with the brand start receiving communications as if they didn’t. It can be offensive to a loyal customer who suddenly is treated like a stranger. We have to do better than sending promotions and offers to them as if they have no idea what it’s like to be a customer.
Do you have a plan for your at-risk customers? It’s an easy thing to overlook, but an important thing to execute.