How to Be a Customer Success Ghostbuster

what to do when a customer ghosts you

What’s scarier than a ghost roaming around your attic? Being ghosted by a client – especially one that you’ve put a lot of time and effort into nurturing. There are a number of reasons why a customer may ghost you. They could simply be in the midst of a really busy period or they could have decided they just don’t like or need your product anymore. Whatever the reason, being ghosted hurts. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help you re-engage with disengaged customers as well as some measures you can take to help prevent client ghosting altogether.  

What to Do When a Customer Ghosts You

Tempting as it may be, using an Ouija board, a magic spell, or saying their name three times won’t bring your customer back from the Great Beyond (FYI: these things never end well in the movies either). But there are a few things you can do to help you reconnect, and hopefully, reestablish your relationship with a customer who’s “poofed”.  Try these three tips:

  • Incentivize with a Treat. If you’re not getting anywhere with your client, it may be because they aren’t seeing any value in speaking to you. Give them something tangible that would make them want to have a conversation with you. For instance, try including relevant metrics, KPIs or trends in your email that recap the challenges they started out with and how far they’ve come (i.e. the “How it Started vs. How it’s Going” meme). Don’t give them everything, however, tease them with more information that will make them want to speak with you further.     
  • Peel back the Skin: Take a look at your Customer 360 view to see if you can identify any contributing factors to their disappearance. Has it been a while since they’ve logged in to your platform? Have your emails to them bounced and perhaps they’ve moved on to a different company? Do they have any unresolved support tickets? Are they communicating with you in any other ways that you may have overlooked? You may be able to identify an issue that you can help with and use that information to open a new door and restart the conversation, explaining how you can help them overcome this particular challenge.
  • Exorcise the Risk. It’s important to have a plan in place for how to identify and re-engage customers who may be at risk for churning. If a customer appears to be ghosting you, it’s time to launch this plan. Your plan should include strategies like providing incentives for them to communicate with you and/or remain a customer, announcing any improvements or new products you have available, reminding them of learning materials and other helpful tools you offer, and providing them with cohesive communication.

How to Prevent Being Ghosted

If you don’t want your clients to ghost you, then don’t ghost them first. Customers tend to drop off our radars after we get past the “honeymoon phase” of implementation and onboarding when we’re holding their hands and reaching out regularly to make sure they are properly set up and seeing value with the product. Once they’re settled and don’t need us as much, we might put them on the back burner and let them simmer until an issue arises – or until it’s time for renewal. However, a lack of regular interaction can make a client feel neglected or even make them think they don’t need you or your product anymore, making it easy to slip into ghost mode. To prevent this from happening, try these four tips: 

  • Maintain regular contact. It’s nearly impossible to keep in touch with all of your customers manually, which is why a digital touch is so important whether you follow a low-touch or high-touch model. Leverage data to help personalize your communication with customers and deliver the value they need to drive outcomes. Utilize automated workflows that alert you to issues and trigger necessary actions you should take. These simple steps can help make your client feel supported and valued.
  • Stay in alignment. It’s important that you and your customer remain in alignment on their goals and ambitions and collaborate on how you can help them achieve these goals. Holding quarterly business reviews (QBR) are a great way to ensure their goals are still the same ones they had when they initially onboarded, and if not, how you can help them reach their new goals. Establish a plan for these QBRs and stick to it by leveraging customer portals to maintain transparency.
  • Watch out for “paranormal activity”. To keep your clients engaged and prevent them from ghosting, don’t neglect your metrics. Monitoring user engagement metrics like license utilization, product adoption rate, customer health score, customer sentiment indicator and support metrics are essential to understanding your client and helping them have the best experience possible. Tracking and acting on these metrics can help deter churn, increase retention, maximize revenue, and of course, prevent ghosting.
  • Have multiple points of contact. It’s always a good idea to build relationships with multiple people at different levels of hierarchy at your client’s company. Try to acquire points of contact with end users, middle management and executives so you always have someone to reach out to if a problem arises or if a contact leaves the company unexpectedly.

Become a Customer Success Ghostbuster

Being ghosted by a client isn’t a good feeling, but it does happen, and it’s important not to take it personally. If you’ve already been ghosted, try using the techniques above to re-engage and rebuild your relationship. But to be a true ghostbuster, you have to maintain regular contact, keeping your eyes on your customers before they poof. Using a customer success solution like Totango can help! Totango’s all-in-one CS platform makes it easy and frictionless for you to design, build, and manage your customer journey so you can keep your customers engaged and happy. Sign up for Totango for free today and become an official customer success ghostbuster!



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