The Diverging Futures of Social Platforms

We are now well over a decade into the social media era, during which the cultural zeitgeist has become increasingly shaped by public discourses that unfold across social platforms, resulting in…


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Pay close attention

Photo by Jake Ingle on Unsplash

The truth is, all too frequently, customers simply walk away. Sometimes it’s not enough to just have a great product that solves a real problem. Customers have inertia or low adoption on their side for a variety of reasons, and if you want to save their business, you’re are going to have to put in the work to do so.

Start with what you know. Did the customer explain why they are canceling? Is this a surprise, or was it a known issue? Can it be overcome? If they are canceling due to a known issue, resist the urge to unpack and post-mortem this to death. Instead, look deeper — why weren’t you able to get in front of the issue earlier, what attempts to solve have you already made (because there is no use trying those again), and consider what you haven’t already tried.

To bring a customer back from cancellation you really, really, really need to understand the root of the issue. Sometimes the real root issue isn’t what the customer is saying. For example, if the customer says, “I am canceling because your product didn’t do what we wanted it to do,” you can take that at face value. Or you can really connect with your customer’s stakeholders, hear them out, and find the reason for cancellation was actually that the primary person tasked with implementing your product was never onboard with the purchase decision, so he or she didn’t put in any effort to learn or use your product. The “didn’t do what we wanted it to do” is true, but it’s the symptom, not the disease.

If you really want to win a customer back, you must go deeper than what they are presenting to you. Often, customers don’t even know how to articulate what the real reason is, or how to do the internal sleuthing to get to the bottom of it.

After piecing together what you know and don’t know, determine what the root issue really is, and then solve for it by any means necessary. If the customer has gone dark — just put in their cancellation and has been unresponsive since — be dogged, and unexpected (fly to their doorstep if needed), in your attempt to get them to re-engage with you.

The bottom line is that if you want to bring a customer back from the brink of cancellation you are going to have to solve a problem they aren’t able to solve for themselves. Create brand loyalty by anticipating the answers to questions customers never knew they had.

Are all customers worth the all-out effort it may take to save them? Absolutely not. Can you solve every cancellation reason? Nope.

If they wanted a parakeet but bought a parrot, you can try to persuade them into wanting the parrot by telling them all the benefits, but if they aren’t swayed, you are going to need to move on. If the company is going through a bankruptcy, you are going to need to probably move on. If the customer isn’t your ideal customer profile, you need to move on. Before you throw all your resources, time, energy and love at trying to bring them back from the brink of cancellation, determine if you actually should.

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