How To Use Your Exit Survey To Reduce Churn

August 10, 2021

If you're like most companies, your customer exit survey isn't one of your top priorities. After all, it is unlikely that you want to spend a lot of time thinking about customers exiting. However, for your product and company to improve you have to know where you are failing and the data about these failures had better be accurate or you won't fix the problems that matter.

The "set it and forget it" approach to customer exit surveys is one of the biggest mistakes a subscription company can make and if you're guilty of this, you are losing more revenue and customers than you need to. Now, I'm going to show you how to use your exit survey to reduce churn and improve your products.

To ensure we're all on the same page, a customer exit survey is that simple question you ask of customers who decide to quit, something like: "Why do you want to cancel your subscription?".

Customer exit surveys typically consist of 5-10 reasons for the customer to select from, ranging from pricing/cost to support issues. If you offer subscriptions you probably have this question in your cancel flow, but when's the last time you updated the reasons for customers to select from?

If the reasons you provide are overly general: "price", "support", etc. you're not getting granular enough. Price can mean a lot of things. Maybe it's the value they are receiving from the product, or it could be your pricing model, or they might have just been laid off of work. In order to know how to overcome this objection and/or improve your product you have to know the specific reason they decided to cancel, and generalized answers won't get you there.

Next, if you notice that the majority of customers are consistently selecting 1-3 reasons you're not getting granular enough. You should remove the most popular reasons and replace them with more granular versions, digging deeper into the problem. The graphic below provides an example of what you should be doing for your top three reasons customers cancel. Break them down and then address each problem specifically.

Get More Granular: "Too Expensive" should become replaced to drill down further into price objections

The first benefit you'll see is that getting more specific with the reasons will help you learn how to overcome each one. This is typically done with a rule-based cancel flow where you can automate an attempt to overcome each reason for a customer cancel. When businesses eliminate generalized reasons in favor of more specific reasons the average rate of overcoming the objection (saving the customer) increases by ~9%. This is a significant increase and boosts your bottomline promptly.

The second benefit of getting more granular is that you'll better understand what needs to be fixed in order to retain customers in the long term. Overcoming objections is great in the short term, but it's arguably more important to understand how to improve your product for the long term.

The key to creating a finely tuned customer exit survey is to think how you would handle a conversation with the customer who is cancelling, face to face. Unless you were in a hurry you probably wouldn't just take "I'm cancelling because of price" as an answer without digging in to better understand the minutiae. More likely, you would ask additional questions and drill down to the root of the problem.

In summary, exit surveys are incredibly powerful but if you "set it and forget it" you're losing more customers and revenue than you should be. If instead, you regularly update your exit survey, eliminate general reasons and the most popular reasons you'll learn how to overcome more objections and grow the lifetime value of your customers.

If you want to do this with RetentionEngine it's as simple as toggling off a response and creating new variations. If you'd like to learn more about RetentionEngine or get help setting up more granular responses we are happy to help. You can book a demo here, or book time with our customer success team here.

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