5 Ways Your Business Can Reduce Customer Churn Rate
Updated: Oct 10, 2022
As we all know, customer retention is extremely vital to the growth and sustainability of a business. There’s a myriad of CRM software out there designed specifically to help businesses reduce churn rates (which is the rate that customers stop doing business with an entity).
Some of them are more efficient than others. But none of them can totally address the two primary causes of churn, which are: customer dissatisfaction, and environmental changes (financial, competitive, social).
Keeping your customers or clients satisfied is a process that is just as essential, if not more so -- than customer acquisition is. This is due to the fact that the longer a customer patronizes your business, the better the chances are that the customer will become a brand advocate and an unofficial spokesperson for your business.
If you already own or manage a thriving business, you've already done a great job at acquiring your customers. However, keeping them happy is central for the growth of your business. Here’s five ways a business can reduce customer churn rate.
1. Emphasize great customer service
Providing great customer service to your consumers is crucial to the customer satisfaction process. A customer whose needs are being met at every touchpoint is far less likely to stop patronizing a business than one that experiences dissatisfaction.
Having an exceptional customer service system for your business that puts customer satisfaction at the forefront is imperative to reducing churn.
2. Realize brand loyalty is a myth
Contrary to what many marketers and entrepreneurs believe, there’s no such thing as brand loyalty. That's because consumers are only loyal to their self-interests, which consists of their wants and their needs at the moment.
In his book Quantum Marketing, author & Mastercard CMO/President Raja Rajamannar posed this question, “If people are not loyal in their committed relationships, are we as marketers and businesspeople realistic in expecting loyalty from our consumers?”
Instead of using the phrase "brand loyalty", I prefer to use the phrase "currently committed." That's because the moment that a brand no longer fulfills the wants and needs of the consumer, the consumer will simply find a brand that does. Consumer commitment is based on two contingencies. Those contingencies are that the consumer’s personal needs are being met. And that the brand makes them feel better than any competitor does. There's nothing loyal about that.
Some of the biggest brands in the world have found this out first-hand. A prime example is when The Coca-Cola Company reformulated the original Coca-Cola recipe in the mid-eighties.
In 1985, due to pressure in the marketplace from their archrival Pepsi-Cola, as well as the results of a taste test that revealed their consumers were open to a change in flavor. Executives at The Coca-Cola Company decided to reformulate Coca-Cola to widen the gap between Coke and Pepsi. Which led to the introduction of New Coke.
After the release of New Coke, original Coca-Cola consumers were so appalled by the change of flavor - they held events protesting the product. They also sent the company’s execs thousands of letters expressing their disdain for the change. Consumers demanded that the brand bring back the original formula and less than three months later they got their wish.
Brands shouldn’t confuse brand affinity with brand loyalty (I’ll discuss brand affinity further in the next step), because the moment you no longer give consumers what they want or need, they’ll simply get it elsewhere.
Always remember that quality and consistency is paramount to maintaining consumer commitment and affinity towards your product or service. As a brand, Coca-Cola has earned enough affinity to make a wrong pivot and recover without consumers flocking to the competition in droves. Most businesses do not have that same luxury.
3. Analyze your competitor's moves
To reiterate the concept of brand affinity stated above - brand affinity is contingent on a brand providing consistent quality at every level to satisfy the needs of the customer and making that customer feel good.
However, that affinity can be disrupted if another product or service comes along that meets and exceeds the quality and consistency that your brand provides - while making your customer feel better, which could lead to churn. Be aware of all current and upcoming competitors in your market and stay a step ahead.
4. Be proactive
I recently canceled my subscription with a cable service provider after being a customer for years to sign up with a different cable provider. It wasn’t because the service was bad. It was solely due to the fact that the new cable service provider offered me a better service package than what I was getting from my old provider...and for less money.
In the process of canceling my subscription, I noticed that on my former cable provider’s website, they were offering new customers a better package deal with more channels...and for less money! (I still haven’t gotten over this), Imagine how shocked I was logging into their website and seeing that they were offering new customers more channels than I was currently receiving in my package plan...and for a lower price! Which is something I considered a slap in the face to those of us that were customers for years.
While I was unsubscribing, they tried to do their best to keep me as a customer, but at that point there was nothing they could do to repair the relationship.
Had they been proactive and offered me the same service that they offered their new customers as a reward for being a committed customer for so many years prior to me considering ending the subscription, there would have been a high level of appreciation and affinity on my part, which in turn - would have resulted in brand advocacy which is extremely valuable for any brand.
Showing your appreciation to customers is vital to reducing churn. So be proactive. Offer exclusive deals to your long-standing customers. It costs far less to retain a customer than it does to acquire a new one.
5. Be aware of the times
Understanding the current social, economic, and political climate is significant in predicting potential shifts in consumer behavior that could lead to churn.
For instance, if a new law gets passed that could have a negative effect on your customers bottom line, your company can be nimble and prepare for it by offering extensions or by lowering prices to show your customers that your brand is empathic and that you understand their hardships.
This would go a long way in preventing your consumers from churning. And it would immeasurably increase their affinity towards your brand.
Reducing churn is a part of marketing that isn’t highly revered. Many looking from the outside of an organization seem to overlook this crucial aspect of marketing. Choosing instead to rather focus more on the customer acquisition portion of marketing.
But owners and executives undoubtedly understand the significance
of retention. The single most important thing marketers can do to reduce churn is to put themselves in their customers shoes.
Consider how you would like to be rewarded if you consistently supported an entity. How would you respond if another brand offered you better quality or value? If you keep these things in mind, you’ll be in the best position to keep your customers satisfied. Which is the main component in reducing churn.