Reducing Customer Churn Within Account Deletion

Update: we’ve actually made this workflow into a standalone app that you can embed into your own subscription product. It’s in an early release now,

We’re a software-as-a-service business, and we write blog posts, Tweet, travel, etc. in the hope people will come to our website, create an account and pay us, month after month after month.

On the spectrum of “business victories,” when a person comes to our website and creates an account, that is a tiny victory. It’s also one of the first steps on the way to a big victory, which is making a customer so happy they pay us for three or more years.

When a potential customer gives us their email address, at least we’re able to make contact with them. Now we’re able to talk and get them onboard the app.

On the flip side, a complete failure is when a customer deletes their account. Not only do they not want to pay us, they’re taking their email address with them and basically saying, “Never speak to me again.”

Customers delete their accounts for many reasons, and it usually happens within the first three months of signing up. We want a way to “save” a customer from deleting their account. Even after they’ve lost patience for accounting, we’ve created a “last ditch effort” to keep them in our sales loop.

Here are the options they see when they arrive at our “delete account” page.

Option 1: I’m lost and need help with my account.

 Theory: Many times customers will delete their account in a moment of confusion when they feel helpless. We want the chance to help a customer before they delete their account.

Action: Our support team is alerted and contacts customers that select this option.

Option 2: I need more time to test LessAccounting.

 Theory: Customers will delete their account towards the end of their trial when they haven’t fully tested the app. They’d rather delete their account and “sign up again later” which they never do. Give them more time to test the app instead of leaving.

Action: Choosing this option will extend their free trial by seven days.

Option 3: It costs too much.

 Theory: This could actually be considered a situation where the person hasn’t fully tested our app and doesn’t yet see enough value. I’d rather give a customer a discount for a few months and get them fully set up and using the app than turn them away.

Action: The app will alert them their account has been discounted 15% per month for the next six months.

Option 4: I found another app that I like better.

 Theory: If you’re going to leave our app, please give us feedback.

Action: Text field allows the customer to enter what app they’re leaving us for…traitors!!!!

Option 5: I need to pause my billing.

 Theory: This is another catch. Instead of deleting your account, leave your email address with us and we’ll alert you to new features and occasionally send a helpful blog post to you.

Action: Their billing is paused, their account goes into “restricted mode” and they are added to our annual email list.

Option 6: I want to start fresh at the new year.

 Theory: Often a person will sign up with LessAccounting and like what they see, but then procrastination strikes. They’ll think, “Oh, I like this but I’m busy, I’ll just delete my account and come back at the new year.” The reality is they’ll forget, so give us the chance to remind you!

Action: The account is paused and they get added to one of our semi-annual email lists.

Option 7: I just want to delete my account.

Action: Choosing this option shows a text area asking for feedback on why they’re leaving our app. The account is deleted, and all data is gone. I do get alerted via email and usually reach out to users that don’t give us feedback. Honestly, I don’t reach out to users with AOL, Yahoo or Hotmail email addresses.

Churn is a big deal for any SaaS app. There are a lot of different ways to deal with it and some are better than others, but it must be handled. Once your churn rate exceeds (or even matches) your sign up rate, the end is near. We use these steps as a last ditch effort to reduce our losses when someone is thinking of leaving the app.

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