Your Customers Decide If You've Delivered Value, Not You

We’ve all been there. The conversation where your customer explains that while they appreciate your product, they’re going another direction. 

Your team was sure that they’d renew. The customer’s PM was engaged in each weekly implementation meeting. They were onboarded right on schedule. You delivered on everything the customer asked for according to the Salesforce notes.

But still they churned.

Why did the customer churn?

There are many reasons for churn, not all are avoidable. But, you should never be surprised by avoidable churn, that’s inexcusable. Especially when your team thinks your product delivered on its value prop.

Your customer’s goals usually aren’t the same as yours. For example, their goal is not to implement your software, get onboarded, or go-live. Their goal is somewhere on the other side of go-live, something like “increase revenue”, “reduce costs”, or “reduce risk.”

Sales teams understand this, which is why they spend so much time focusing on value during the sales process. The promised value is what gets customers to purchase in the first place.

However, after the sale, the conversation about value gets lost and things become more tactical. Your implementation team focuses on go-live. Your support team focuses on closing tickets. Your CS team focuses on automated NPS surveys and watching metrics.

Often nobody stops to ask the customer, what do you need? How’s it going? Or, if they do, the responses get collected in a powerpoint presentation during a QBR, which then sits and collects dust somewhere.

How could this churn have been prevented?

You must remember this universal truth: the customer is the arbiter of value, not you. 

It doesn’t matter what you think. It’s not about adoption, or NPS, or usage. Those are your metrics, they’re trailing indicators of what’s really happening. All that matters is if the customer knows that your product helped them realize the value they wanted.

If their goal was to increase revenue 10%, and your product increased it 20% but they don’t know it, they’re a churn risk.

If their goal was to reduce risk, and your product decreased costs but risk increased, they’re a churn risk.

So, what should you do next time? 

  1. Build processes to accurately capture and track what each customer really wants. Why are they spending time, money, and resources working with you?
  2. Even after implementation and onboarding, make sure your team is focused on helping the customer achieve #1.
  3. Because #1 changes over time, keep a dialog with the customer to stay up-to-date with their goals over time.
  4. When your customers achieve their goals, take a moment to celebrate along with the customer.

And most importantly, remember the customer is the arbiter of value, not you.

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