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Fireside Chat – ChurnZero

fireside chat series

What are the best ways to reduce customer churn? We had an opportunity to sit down and chat about this topic, as well as what’s coming up in the Customer Success industry with Abby Hammer, Chief Customer Officer with ChurnZero. ChurnZero is a real-time Customer Success platform that helps subscription businesses fight customer churn. Its software solutions allow businesses to understand how their customers use their product, assess their health and their likelihood to renew, and give businesses the means to personalize the customer experience through timely and relevant touchpoints.

Read our interview below:

How has COVID / working from home impacted customer success?

One phenomenon of COVID, was all of a sudden, a subset of our customers were faced with the harsh realities of economic instability which is an uneasy spot for any Customer Success Manager whose job is to secure the renewal. However, our team saw this as an opportunity to step up and offer support and flexibility to be able to provide the business continuity they needed. I think this taught all of us in Customer Success a very valuable lesson, in that customers are our most valuable asset, and you should focus on retention all the time but especially during hard times.

Regarding working from home, ChurnZero was lucky in the fact that we were already setup as a hybrid-remote organization, so it was a smoother transition for us and our Customer Success team. But one thing we saw ring true with our customers was the importance of directing the flow of information to effectively communicate team initiatives, goals, and struggles, while working remotely.

What are some trends in Customer Experience / Customer Success you feel will be prominent over the next year or two?

I predict within the next year Customer Success and Product will escalate their battle over customer engagement within their application. Product believes their ownership is necessary to ensure high quality user experiences. Customer Success believes their ownership is the key to impacting adoption by reaching customers in the ideal medium. And both teams are realizing that introductory in-app tours are only the starting potential for in-app guidance with the right data and the right tool, making each team more intent on ownership.

So, who will win? I would like to believe that the teams will realize cooperation yields the best results, both for customers and internal teams – but I fear the struggle will continue unless leaders make purposeful attitude changes. So, this is my call to leaders of Customer Success and Product to start finding productive was to work together for the benefit of their customers. In challenging times, it feels more important than ever that Customer Success and Product are not just aligned but allied.

What are one or two of your most recommended approaches for minimizing customer churn?

SaaS onboarding makes or breaks your customer retention. Onboarding has a long-lasting impact with deep ties to a customer’s likelihood to churn, and that is why it’s imperative to get it right to minimize churn.

To do this your team needs to track and measure the onboarding journey to accelerate your customers’ time to value.

What role should leadership and the Board play in customer success?

Given the evolution of the SaaS economy, Customer Success has become a top priority for leadership and board members alike. And even more so, revenue retention has become a top three metric for both boards and investors. This trend shows the real impact that Customer Success has on the business in terms of its growth potential and company valuation.

In order for a software company to be successful they need to become a customer-first organization and that change needs to come from leadership to really take hold. This comes into play from everything from how teams are structured, the processes they put in place to drive customer engagement and adoption and the data that is shared throughout the entire company to rally around the customer.

What does customer experience look like inside ChurnZero?

We aim for a user-friendly customer experience and one that meets our customers where they are at. For example, we serve up helpful multi-step guided WalkThroughs to new customers to introduce them to our product. We also use in-app messages to communicate with our customers and encourage them to take action while they are the most engage – like responding to a customer satisfaction survey, checking off tasks from an in-app checklist, or communicating other targeted information.

About Abby Hammer

Abby is a founding team member and the Chief Customer Officer at ChurnZero, which is a real-time Customer Success platform. Abby is responsible for delivering the best customer experience throughout all points of the ChurnZero customer lifecycle. She drives product strategy and execution as well as leads the Customer Success team who delivers customer implementations and works to drive adoption, engagement, and expansion across the ChurnZero platform.

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