Last week, we had a discussion with Kaveh Rostampor, Executive Director, Americas at Meltwater, on understanding customer turnover, also known as churn. Meltwater is a global leader in media intelligence. It is a Scandinavian “outside insight” company that tracks online news and social media with nearly $200MM of ARR. Kaveh joined Meltwater when it was just a small startup and watched it grow to where it is today with over a thousand employees (about 300 in the Americas alone). Having experienced its growth, he has a great background with the customer turnover issue. In order to better understand this, we discussed the basics of turnover, how to think about it, how to report it, and macro indicators. Here were 3 key takeaways from the podcast.
1) Surveys Can Really Drive Success – Kaveh suggests the use of surveys to understand the customers’ opinions on the product. In particular, he highlights the use of three different types of surveys. The first survey should be sent out after onboarding. Customer success teams should ask if they’ve delivered on promises and what clients thought about training. In the case that the customer is not satisfied, they should go into deeper discussion about the problems. Six months in, teams should send out another survey to figure out what the customers think about the product, how much they value the product, and if they can see themselves renewing. For this survey, Kaveh has systems in place to flag potential turnover cases that he has more senior members of the customer success team deal with. Lastly, there should be an exit survey for customers to identify why they decided to stop using the product. After analyzing the surveys, teams can send the feedback back to product teams and leaders for reporting.
2) Early Reporting Should Be Inclusive & Via Email – Generally, reporting in smaller companies may be less frequent with weekly meet-ups or monthly summary emails that include the churn details. They should include information such as the amount of turnover and reasons specifically for the customer turnover. There are many tools that have been developed to assist in the reporting process, but it is not necessary to invest in these services early on in Kaveh’s opinion. Instead, he believes you can just keep track of churning metrics via email and report those to the teams. All in though, Kaveh recommends early on in a company’s life to have a single weekly email that goes out to the entire company that showcases churn numbers and reasons for churn. This way teams can follow up if needed but everyone within the company is on the same page in terms of customer churn and turnover data.
3) Knowing The Clues & Indicators Is Most Important – In order to prevent customer turnover, it is often best to identify the indicators. Kaveh believes that companies should measure a few things to indicate potential turnover. This includes measuring usage of the product, looking at QBRs every quarter, mapping your customer renewal strategy to issues, and speaking to the decision makers who are signing off renewals. Talking to your internal customer success manager in charge will also give you a good sense of whether or not the customer might be a potential churn candidate. Kaveh highly recommends empowering the customer success manager in charge to really drive the tactics around what needs to be done if your clues point you to a path of non-voluntary churn. He suggests making this person a sort of “CEO of the account” and doing whatever necessary (within reason) to keep the business within your own company and team.
Customer turnover is an issue for many companies, so it is essential that you have the proper understanding of what it is and how you can help prevent it. If this is something you hope to learn about, we recommend you listen to our podcast with Kaveh to learn more. Thanks to Daniel Pak for the research for this post.