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How to Identify At-Risk Customers and What to Do About it

A customer success platform can help you identify at-risk customers and take action.

In a customer-centered economy, where a lot of revenue growth occurs within the established customer base, churn is a big problem. Customers grow more valuable over time, so you must keep them happy and interested in renewing. Still, dissatisfaction can creep up on any customer relationship, especially if you don’t communicate the value of your product regularly. When this happens, you’ll need to salvage the relationship, fast. That’s why you should learn how to identify at-risk customers so you can prevent churn before it strikes. 

How to Identify At Risk Customers

Identifying customers that might churn helps you forecast net revenue and create a plan for new customer acquisition. Signs to look for when learning how to identify at-risk customers include:

  • Low NPS scores: By tracking Net Promoter Scores (NPS), you create an early warning system that will identify potential at-risk customers. Management teams or other key stakeholders should create these triggers which will send automated notifications to the appropriate team member, and detail next best steps. CS teams will not only be notified of an at-risk customer, but they will know if they should personally follow-up with the customers or if it requires an elevation to a CS Director.
  • Low license usage: If you collect data about how customers are using their licenses, you can track usage rates that fall or stop entirely. Keep an eye on key moments within the customer journey, such as activations, expirations, and renewals. Intervene if you see reduced usage at any point.
  • Increase in support tickets: When customers submit support tickets, they aren’t just telling you that they’re struggling. They’re offering valuable information about why they are struggling. You should collect this data and analyze it for patterns. Do most escalations revolve around a certain feature? Perhaps they happen at a certain time of year. Or maybe they occur during a particular stage of the customer journey? Learn to spot trends within support tickets to pinpoint areas that need improvement. 
  • Lack of awareness about learning materials: When you create training materials to help customers learn how to use your product’s features—such as videos, how-to articles, and webinars—you must make customers aware of those resources. Furthermore, your materials must cover the features customers struggle with most in a clear, easy to understand manner. 
  • Changes to key stakeholders at organization: If a customer has been communicating through a single point of contact and their organization experiences a change in management, that customer may churn. If management shifts, be sure to distribute a new license to the appropriate contact. Meet with the new management to check-in on the customer’s goals, strategies, and any changes in their plans. By reaching out to form a relationship with new management, you can present what they have accomplished with the product and demonstrate your brand’s value.

Once you know how to identify at risk customers, it’s time to engage them.

How to Engage At-Risk Customers

Sometimes, something goes wrong during the customer journey. Maybe a feature isn’t working correctly. Maybe a request for help went unanswered. Whatever it is, it’s caused the customer to lose faith in your product and brand. When this happens, you must show the customer that your product offers value and that your team is committed to their satisfaction. 

Here are some ways to proactively engage at-risk customers:

  • Deliver an outstanding onboarding experience: Optimize onboarding by ensuring your customer sees a fast time-to-value (TTV). Help the customer achieve their business goals by ensuring there is a seamless sales to CS handoff, create personalized milestones, constantly analyze customer data to ensure they are not experiencing any bottlenecks, and teach them how to use all of your product’s features. If your at-risk customer is struggling to adopt the product, you can provide educational materials such as emails, welcome messages regarding their new license, how-to videos, informational links, or webinars. 
  • Utilize triggers to automate task when at-risk behavior is detected: Since your team can’t be on the lookout for at-risk behavior all the time, you should use automation to monitor customer behavior for you. Key stakeholders can determine triggers and next steps for at-risk behavior when it is detected and automatically assign tasks to a CS team member. You can set it up so that campaigns will start based on a reason for risk or a certain lifecycle stage. This ensures no customer goes overlooked and frees your team from the daunting task of monitoring accounts manually.
  • Start the renewal process early: Remind customers of renewal time and of the value your product provides well before the subscription expires. But, in addition to planning early, be proactive with your engagements to solve potential issues quickly, and provide feature updates before a customer knows they need it. By staying engaged, you may learn that the customer is planning on switching brands or that their goals have changed since their original purchase and will be prepared to support either situation. Alleviating a customer’s concerns and confirming their decision to renew early will ensure the renewal period goes smoothly.
  • Provide cohesive communication: Whenever you interact with a customer, make sure it’s aligned with the entire enterprises efforts. CS team have resources and best practice to manage a drop in feature usage, to contact the product team – CS teams will have best next steps provided by management that will help them to assist an at-risk customer. By aligning your teams on one platform, you are able to provide cohesive communication at every stage of the customer journey, as customers expect you to have their history on hand so they won’t have to repeat themselves. Make sure everyone within your organization has access to best practice resources, customer data and touchpoints, as well as standardized next steps so they are on the same page and can intelligently engage with customers.

By leveraging these retention strategies, you can establish a positive customer relationship built on the delivery of value, met expectations, and trust.

Prevent Churn Through Proactive Monitoring and Intervention

Keeping an eye on all your customers and springing into action when one shows at-risk behavior sounds like a big job, but using a customer success platform makes it manageable.

The right customer success platform not only gives you the ability to scale your teams, but provides proactive monitoring and intervention capabilities that are impossible to achieve manually. Your software should give everyone within your organization access to comprehensive customer data. Such software harnesses the power of automation to ensure all at-risk customers are identified and that your team can take the appropriate steps. It’s results orientated, as it helps you set goals and achieve them using actionable steps built on best practices.

Don’t let customers churn—and take hard-won revenue with them. Spot churn early by learning how to identify at-risk customers and retain them using tested best practices and a proven customer success platform.

Totango’s customer success platform delivers all the capabilities you need to detect at-risk behavior and respond quickly. Request a demo to try it out for yourself. Or, explore Spark today.

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