6 Proven ways to prevent customer churn and create customers for life

Senior Vice President, Client Services

Have you ever been so passionate about marketing that the way you talked about it began to sound like poetry?

I have. And to prove it, here’s a haiku I penned for SaaS-based B2B marketers …

Growth marketing plan.

Fill thy funnel; tend thy leads. 

Block churn, above all.

I’ve been working with SaaS-based companies for 17 years, and throughout that time, I’ve bounced between those haiku lines. Plan. Leads. Funnel. Customer churn. And the loop endures.

If you have a churn problem (all SaaS companies do, by the way), your first step is understanding why. Do some research and discover the root causes. I say causes, plural, because churn is never due to just one thing.  

What causes customer churn?

The causes are always related to poor service/training/support, low product use and value provided, and product cost. And yes, the list has many nuances, and I could add a few more causes, but these are the core three categories.

While attrition occurs because of things unrelated to marketing, the marketing team can significantly improve churn percentages. The expression “the best offense is a good defense” applies here. To block churn, a proactive marketing approach is essential.

Recommendations to prevent customer churn

Below is my go-to list of six recommendations to prevent churn. These field-tested methods can help any company get ahead of it, or address an existing issue. I feel so strongly about this list, if I could offer a money-back guarantee on a free article, I would.

1. Welcome Kit & Content Marketing

What kind of experience does your brand provide once a customer signs on the dotted line? Consider a package that includes physical items (think swag, a personal letter from the CEO, etc.), a welcome video, information about what to expect for onboarding, and more. This kind of content sets the tone for relationships and helps them get started with confidence.

2. Training Materials & Knowledge Resources

Do customers have feature blindness? Perhaps they need to figure out how to use parts of the product, or they may have new team members who missed the onboarding window. No matter the issue regarding product knowledge, you can help fill the gaps through educational content. My favorite is how-to videos, which go into a granular level of detail on the product click-by-click. But you can also produce digital training manuals, FAQs, and more.

3. Customer Webinars & Events

Do you have events on product use, training, and best practices? Or, do you spend all your resources on those shiny new prospects? Consider customer-facing webinars that dive deep on product functionality, new tips, and the list goes on. The tone of it all is to make the most of your investment. If you want to go even further and have the budget, host an annual event or regional/quarterly workshops. Yes, events in real life (IRL FTW).

4. Trigger-Based Outreach

Most SaaS-based businesses have a system to monitor customer performance. And this is where some true offensive maneuvers are possible from the marketing team. Take the time to build out a response plan for poor key performance indicators, low logins, a reduction of in-app time, etc., and then work with the product/customer service teams to set up trigger-based activities via email marketing or in-product prompts. The marketing will pose questions to stimulate a two-way dialogue, and you can keep it simple. Hit the trigger activity and then ask, “Can we help you?” 

5. Live Chat & Forum for Product Questions OR In-App Messaging

Do you have a live chat or digital forum for customers to send product questions, complaints, etc.? If your funnel has a leaky bucket, this is a great, proactive tool for talking with customers. People often want to avoid picking up the phone or waiting for the delay of email correspondence; a live chat tool is marketing gold for keeping a pulse on what customers need for product intel, support, and what parts of the product experience should be elevated.

6. Extend Gratitude & Reward Loyalty

What work is being done or going out to thank clients for their business? Think company swag, gifts, a handwritten note of gratitude, etc. This kind of effort goes a long way. And if someone is disgruntled, it’s often the poke needed to voice their disappointment in the product. You can also sweeten their experience by rewarding their loyalty if you know they aren’t happy. Consider a special event or free training session, reduced product cost, free month, etc.

Speaking of gratitude, thank you for making it this far down the article. If you ever need help or want a second opinion on your personal customer churn challenge, drop me a note at bmcfadden@farmbuffalo.com.

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Senior Vice President, Client Services
Brady is a marketing expert with experience in 11 major industries serving countless clients of all sizes, from billion-dollar market leaders to scrappy start-ups. Leading client services for FARM, he inspires everyone to do their best work. Guided by a burning desire to make an impact, he spends most of his time chasing insights, shaping strategy, and curating new marketing ideas. He knows that enduring value comes with routinely accomplishing what our clients ask of us. And his favorite question to ask clients? “How can we help?”

Our Take

Nobody likes to hear people squawk about marketing. So, we wrote it all down for you.

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