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How Baremetrics collects HONEST feedback from churning customers

Corey Haines | Head of Growth at Baremetrics

  • | Activation | Customer Success | Engagement | Growth | Metrics | Onboarding | Product Strategy | Psychology | Retention
  • November 2019
  • EP35

Digging the truth

How to collect honest feedback from churning customers

Today on Churn.fm, we have Corey Haines, Head of Growth at Baremetrics

In this episode, we talked about the “dirty little secret” most companies have when it comes to their customer churn rate, what “dunning” is and why it’s important for any SaaS company to monitor it, and the most common reasons for delinquent churn.

We also discussed how to collect honest feedback from churning customers, how to recruit the right interviewee for customer research, and how to figure out the most meaningful feedback while ignoring the noise.

Corey also shared some insights about Baremetric’s internal processes, including how he goes about balancing new customer acquisition with preventing existing customers from churning, and who owns churn and retention at Baremetrics.

As usual, I’m excited to hear what you think of this episode, and if you have any feedback, I would love to hear from you. You can email me directly on Andrew@churn.fm. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Mentioned Resources

Highlights

Time

The most surprising Corey found about subscription economy’s churn 00:03:08
What is “dunning”, and why Baremetrics built a tool for it 00:04:55
Typical reasons for delinquent churn 00:07:55
How to dig deep and collect honest feedback from churning customers 00:15:09
Some of the things that Corey do to prevent churn in Baremetrics  00:19:50
How to strike a balance between acquiring new customers and preventing existing customers from churning  00:21:55
Questions to ask in customer interviews   00:28:05

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Corey Haines

Head of Growth at Baremetrics

Corey’s recommended resources on churn
What Corey is reading right now

About the podcast

My name is Andrew Michael and I started CHURN.FM, as I was tired of hearing stories about some magical silver bullet that solved churn for company X.

In the real world tackling churn and increasing retention is one of the hardest problems a subscription business faces.

In this podcast, you will hear from founders and subscription economy pros who are taking a systematic approach to increase retention and engagement within their organizations.

Transcription

Andrew Michael
Hey, Corey, welcome to the show.

Corey Haines
Hey, glad to be here. Thanks so much.

Andrew Michael
It’s great to have you Corey. For the listeners Corey is the head of growth at Baremetrics. Baremetrics provide metrics, dunning, and engagement tools for SaaS and subscription businesses. Prior to Baremetrics, Corey was the Content Marketing Manager at Cordial. So my first question for you Corey is working directly with subscription metrics and data now Baremetrics, what has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about the subscription economy since joining?

Corey Haines
Hmm, I’ll have to say, actually, you know, I have some inside scoop on a lot of startups and a lot of businesses, given the nature of your metrics and being able to work with and kind of consult with a lot of these companies. And ironically, I mean, I think it’s really good context for this show. But churn is sort of like the dirty secret in the industry. And I don’t think anyone is really proud of the numbers per se. And I think it’s definitely surprising, you know, how much companies struggle with it still, I mean, just the lack of real knowledge around it and, and sometimes even like a focus on it too. And so one of the most surprising things is just being being able to see and consult with, you know, what people what people are actually going through and actually dealing with and, and the numbers that they’re actually seeing, you know, on the on the front, you can kind of see Companies persona as being super successful hyper growth, you know, or at least, like, kind of profitable and steady. In reality they have customers leaving and reality they’re they’re frustrated and and they’re they’re confused as to why things are happening. And so it’s it’s an ongoing struggle and battle for sure.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I think it must be a very interesting viewpoint to be able to see this because, like you said, like, definitely you can see a lot of companies from the surface level look successful. And I think that’s a lot of the time as well like some of these companies. Yes, he has a massive rounds being funded, and then shortly after sort of crash and burn, and that’s because one of the things that churn is often easily must and it’s often not understood, so you end up getting into a lot of trouble further down the line. So when it comes to the metrics itself, maybe you want to just give us a little bit of an overview as well of like, how you help companies with their subscription metrics, standing and engagement.

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely. So, Baremetrics started about five years. years ago now, I believe, yeah, just over five years ago. And so essentially provide us metrics and what we call like revenue analytics for SAS and subscription companies. As well as now we’re building more tools to be able to not only see what the data is and know what to focus on, but also be able to actually act on it and actually do something about the things that you’re seeing in your metrics and in your analytics. So we have our core metrics tool, and then we have what we call a Dunning tool, which gives you tools to be able to reduce field charges and what we call delinquent or involuntary term as well as a tool to engage and learn more about why your customers are canceling and try to win something back to you. So the core it’s like an analytics tool about moving towards building more tools to be able to act on those analytics as well.

Andrew Michael
I like that because it like more often than others for like analytics just give you the picture but actually giving you like the so what and being able to act on that it’s super important. You mentioned Dunning and it’s definitely a topic that’s come up In the podcast, but obviously like working closely on your side and actually having a tool to do it, maybe you want to talk us through the concept, and why, like you’ve built a tool for it.

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s, that’s also a lot of surprising things that you’ll learn is that not everyone knows what it is, or they have different names or words for it. Maybe they have different types of processes. It’s still surprisingly a very, I would say like a green kind of practice. It’s not very well adopted or well understood. But essentially, what Dunning is, is it’s the practice of when, especially with a subscription tool, when a credit card expires, when a bank declines when a woman is insufficient funds maybe even there’s just some sort of like glitch or it was just unsuccessfully tried. And then now that month payment or that year’s payment is been unsuccessful, and the customer not may not even know that right. Most of the time. It’s unintentional. They’re not you know, switching and turning Cards all the time, there are some hosts and which is another another story for another time. But you need a process around being able to communicate with those customers and tell them, hey, there’s been an issue, you need to be able to communicate in multiple different avenues in different ways, depending on what type of business you have, and the customers that you’re marketing to, and you have and your customer base and basically provide them a really easy, low friction as possible way to be able to go update their, their payment method to a new method, or to be able to kind of figure it out on their side and, you know, add new funds, switch it out, or, you know, call their bank and whitelist whitelists here at your service, right. So that way it’s successfully charged the next time.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. And then what are some of like the typical like reasons that you see for the delinquency and what would you say is the most common out of all of them?

Corey Haines
Yeah, well for actual, the actual delinquents are in itself. Most of the time, customers are just not being communicated with and Especially for tool maybe that’s not used on like a daily or weekly basis. And you kind of just check in here and there and, and just go about your business without really like spending a lot of time in the tool. Someone might not know that there that their charge was unsuccessful. And so they go to login one day and then they’ve been blocked or they’ve there they see a paywall, and they’re confused as to what’s happening. So most of the time people turn out just because they’re like, Oh, interesting, I guess something’s wrong. So I have to go find something new, which is very unfortunate, because it’s completely preventable. But otherwise, some of the other more common reasons are just mostly that there’s insufficient funds or that the credit card has expired. You know, businesses obviously go through a lot of different payment methods and different financial strategies, right to be able to make the most of the cash flow. And so there might be an old card on file, or they might just need to update it to a new one, or maybe they, you know, they moved over to a new one and they haven’t updated across the board, which is understandable. It’s a lot of work. And so in that case, you just need to be able to do that in a timely manner, especially, and do in a way also that doesn’t bug the customer. So that way, even if they do see it, you know, they’re not like, Okay, cool. I’m just going to do something else. So this is a good excuse, right to move on to the thing we’ve been looking at over here for a few months now.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. And I think as well, like you mentioned, like credit card expires or card expires and looking at maybe like average card being around two years, it’s almost inevitable that your users are going to hit this point at some points in their lifetime. So every service it’s sort of premium set, I’m assuming as well, it was through the dining system, you’re still able to premium to credit card experience and then notifying customers that correct?

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely. So especially when someone has more manual process or system that they’ve set up, either that they’ve hired somewhere that outsourced it in some way. Most the time, what we see is that it’s just not happening in time. And so you have someone maybe at the end of the week or the end of the month, who’s going through the accounts and seeing who’s late on their payment or who’s you know, card was tried unsuccessfully and I reaching out, but the problem is that a lot of times it’s just too late. And especially as not happening preemptively. And so just you’re just leaving a lot of money on the table essentially. Yeah.

Andrew Michael
And when you say living a lot of money on the table, like, what is the typical sort of percentage of churn due to delinquent trend that you see with customers at their metrics?

Corey Haines
Yeah, it really just depends on one, their overall churn rate, obviously, but also on sort of the ARPU in the business model. In general, you know, usually with the lower subscription price, maybe in like the single digits or, or low double digits, you’re going to see a lot more option, right, because they’re probably like a pro sooner or even like a consumer type app, where someone maybe has a lot of credit cards, or even just in general, you know, a lower ARPU, just just going to see a higher ternary overall, in that case, you might see anywhere from like the, you know, five to 15% range sometimes. Otherwise, with the business, maybe with a more b2b kind of, you know, triple digit subscription price. It can it’s not as high But it’s still very considerable, you know, still sometimes in the in the 10% range, but it really just depends. I couldn’t I couldn’t give you like a solid today.

Andrew Michael
Make sense. Yeah, definitely it is quite a big chunk of change on the table for something that’s, like, as you say, easily preventable as well with the right measures.

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely.

Andrew Michael
So talking about measures and as head of growth, like from your side, we had better metrics. What are some of the things that you’re doing when looking at churn and retention, for be metrics and for yourself?

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, we have the good opportunity to kind of dog food, our own products. So one of the things that we do obviously, is we have the full dining tool and service we have drip email campaigns, we have in app reminders, we have a hosted credit card form that sends people directly to that we will not to worry about, you know, forcing them to find the different settings panel and then the building and then going out in a credit card. Just you can do all their one place. But then on the other side, On the voluntary turn, and for the traditional sense of the word, we have another tool called cancellation insights, which essentially acts as like a exit survey. And so when someone clicks the Cancel button, they serve a small form, they can choose a reason, maybe even give us some additional context. And that allows us to really get some solid data on one what the reasons are. And so, you know, we have some of that we kind of allowed to be selectable, but then we can also choose other and then they can add in their own reason, essentially. So we’re constantly monitoring, you know, what are the reasons? And also what’s the revenue associated with each of those reasons. So which reasons are the most costly, so essentially, so we’ll have that going on on an ongoing basis, you know, on like a three to six month range will also be looking on a monthly basis. But really, we’re just we’re just trying to understand essentially, what’s noise and what we should be listening to. I think that’s one of the biggest things for us and for a lot of other SAS companies, is that you have to learn what you’re going to be okay with people turning And what you’re not going to be, you know, what is very preventable? Or what do you want to work to decrease? You know, it’s, it’s hard because especially when someone turns or when they when they cancel, to get a good reason out of them, you really have to do it in the process of them canceling. And you have to do it in a way where they’re where they’re open to being honest, where they feel comfortable with giving you a very candid answer. So for example, a lot of times when you reach back out to someone later on, maybe send them a personal email and say, Hey, you know, saw that you unsubscribe that that you canceled, you know, from one business to another, we just love to learn more about why you canceled, they might give you maybe an excuse or a cop out, like, hey, it was someone else on the team or it’s too expensive, or it just doesn’t meet our needs for this, you know, this ginormous, big missing feature, when in reality, they just, you know, got a better price from a competitor or they just weren’t happy with it or something else. So really have to learn to to, to provide the right context or someone to give you that feedback, but also really dig into it. And what it actually is, you know, so we kind of break down each one of those reasons, to the most common ones that we see all the time, even for ourselves is that it was too expensive, or that they’re switching to another tool. And so for each one of those, you kind of want to look at it with the right frame of mind and say, Okay, why is it too expensive? Is it really too expensive? Is that just an excuse, as I mentioned before? Or is it that they just weren’t seeing the full value out of the product? Were they receiving some sort of discount from a competitor? Maybe for the for the switching to another tool, you know, what is it about that other tool that made them want to switch? When did they realize that they that, you know, your tool wasn’t, wasn’t doing it for them? Or was the moment that they realized that, you know, they wanted to switch them to something else, that there was something else better out there for them. And so, once you understand the context and what those things are not just taking them at face value, then you can start to work towards a plan and say, Okay, we’re going to focus on this one thing that is too expensive. We’re going to look at our our pricing structure, we’re going to look at our promotions that are going on we’re going to look at the accurate Listen channels and seeing, you know, are these really the right people that we’re bringing in? And then take it from there.

Andrew Michael
Interesting. And this you have is a tool that can exit. So if somebody turns how, how does it work? Exactly? And then, so how are you getting to those deep inside? So like 100% agree like at the surface level, people just give you blink concepts. But what is your process for digging deep and collecting this feedback?

Corey Haines
Yeah, so we built the tool to one scratch your own itch, but also because we just found that it frickin works. And it’s also really hard to implement. A lot of companies especially, you know, they have a small dev team, small staff startups, you only have so many resources so much time. And so sometimes it comes down to like, you know, we can use a month to build out a really cool new feature, we can build it you know, spend a month fixing up these things or fixing bugs, or we can spend it building this custom tool to get feedback from our customers which is really important, but the same time maybe not so important or so urgent as these other things. And so we wanted to make it very turnkey tool that you can just, you know, basically get a small piece of embeddable code, you embed it, you can test it for you, and then you essentially just push it live. And then now you don’t have to worry about anything else, we just start collecting the data, it works for you. And you can click Go. Now, how it works is, when it’s embedded, when someone goes into your tool on the click the Cancel button, then before that’s actually triggered to you know, destroy, or to whatever other payment processor you have, whatever subscription management tool that you use, we’re going to pop up a little form inside of your tool that’s going to say, Hey, sorry to see you go, would you mind giving us you know, really quick feedback on why you’re canceling. Please select the reason that you know, best represents the reason why you’re leaving. And they can select on those reasons. You can, you know, basically choose which reasons you want to present. And then if they click other, I can also add in a little comment box that will allow them to give some additional context. And then once they click, and then they click cancel, and then now we send that over to that event or distract whatever subscription management tool you use, and it’s collecting Did after that one of the other things that we do is we automate some personalized emails back to the customer based on the reason why they said they canceled. And so for anyone who said it was too expensive, well then, you know, 30 minutes after that, send an email and say, Hey, we saw they said, it’s too expensive. You know, we’d love to dig into this more and learn more about, you know, what price would would be, what would be worth it for you what price would work for you, you know, feel free to be as detailed as possible, you know, would just love to have your feedback as we get a pretty good response rate on that. And that allows us to one start the conversation so we don’t have to do that manually. But to it also opens the door for them. Now that they’re already canceled, you know, now that you did the doors open for them to say, hey, look, let’s just be honest, put on the door, you’re not gonna hurt our feelings. This is just to help us become a better business and build better products. You know, just tell us everything that you want to know the doors wide open. And then now we have a conversation started where we can dig into more details we can respond, go back and forth and really get down to the bottom of it.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, And then I imagined as well like, because this is tied back to the subscription metrics, you can also give viewpoint in terms of like the different feedback that comes through what how like, what sort of weights you should be giving to it based on how big the customer was or what segment they were. Is that correct?

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely. So we’re going to show you which regions are most common and the time period you have selected. And we’re also going to show you the revenue associated to each one of those. And so that really allows you to kind of prioritize and see that we don’t have to go, you know, do any pivot tables, do any crunching numbers. You have it right in front of you, you know where to prioritize and where to look into the most.

Andrew Michael
Yep, not all feedback is equal.

Corey Haines
Exactly. Yeah. And that’s one of things we learned to like. Just because a customer is screaming the loudest or is leaning to the angriest message doesn’t mean that it’s the most important thing to focus on. We always try to level up to like a pattern or a trend across the customer base. So sometimes they’ll see like an uptick in, in churn and they’ll all be for the same You are just like, Oh my gosh, this is a really urgent thing. But then after two weeks, you might not get that again for like a year. And instead of spending all your time building that feature, or changing our price, or really digging in and looking into this one thing, give it a little bit of time and see if it keeps recurring. And then if it if it does, then you can kind of justify the time and effort to really dig into it. But sometimes you just might have a fluke, or something else that kind of grabbed your attention. And you really want to be careful who you’re listening to and what they’re saying.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, absolutely. It’s important not to just to jump on every bit of piece of feedback he gets, and I like that too to saying that follow and see when you see trends and spot those and act on those rather. So talking about acting as well, like what we’ve talked about now is pretty reactive when it comes to tackling churn itself and trying to look at retention. What are some of the things that you’re doing sort of proactively trying to prevent churn before it gets to the point where either they’ve canceled their card or they’ve canceled subscription

Corey Haines
Yeah, I mean, preemptively, it’s right turn is just a part of the game, it’s just, it’s just going to be kind of a feedback loop for you. So preemptively, there’s all sorts of things really, honestly, especially with the SAS kind of model for business. Insurance is just part of, it’s just one of those feedback loops. And it’s going to level up to a lot of the other things that are going on the business. So it could have very much to do with the market they are targeting, right, it could be completely related to who it is that you’re actually going after. It’s entirely possible. I talked about this all the time, it’s entirely possible that you’re targeting the completely wrong type of customer or wrong type of business. And the fact is maybe that if you want to see a churn rate of, you know, 9%, or in single digits, but you just need to find other people or other types of businesses because they’re not going to be a good fit for you. They’re just going to turn and burn out. Another part of that too, is the product. And so I think that it’s sort of obvious And maybe it’s a little bit understated. But there’s a lot that goes into what makes a great product. And especially with so many tools out there today in the SAS space, you have to be so intentional about building the right features for the right market at the right time. And making sure that you’re not just again, listening to the the loudest customers are the customers that are screaming the loudest, were some kind of thing that just popped up right, that you’re really building intentionally you’re fixing the bugs, and building the features that people want and will pay for their continuing to iterate and evolve past just what you were doing maybe a year ago when they first subscribed with you, but they are continuing to listen to them and build what they want in the future as well. I think that’s a big part of like, you know, one, what attracts someone to your business in the first place for really what keeps on with you, as if you can time at a time prove to them that you’re with them for the for the long haul that when they subscribe to you that they’re not just getting what you are going to give them today that you’re also going to provide for them what they’re going to get in a year from now, right you’re going to give an entirely new tool, you’re going to continue to build Ultimate tool, you’re going to continue to increase the value that you provide for them over time. Another part of that too, is the model. You know, I think sometimes, especially as marketers, and as salespeople, we might want to kind of make it as easy or as low friction as possible to get in the tool, or to do or to subscribe or to sign up. That can also work against you in your innovative, you might have a really high conversion rate. But you also might have a higher turn rate conversion, you could have a lower conversion rate and a lower churn rate. So you kind of have to pick your battles sometimes because just because you you have a really low friction, onboarding, doesn’t mean that you’re attracting the right customers who are with you for the long haul.

Andrew Michael
Let me stop you there quickly as well because I think like as your roles head of growth as well, like, part and parcel it’s to drive acquisition and bringing new customers and then the other part is if you’re trying to retain customers, but how do you strike a balance between the two? Because there’s definitely an interesting concept of like adding a verse removing friction during the onboarding process and ensuring you get a ride velocity like, what are some of your methodologies when going about thinking about this challenge and striking the right balance between driving conversions and thinking about retention and its impact on adding friction to onboarding?

Corey Haines
Yeah, I really think it comes down to the way that you position yourself and who exactly you’re trying to target. So there’s always a temptation to generalize and broaden your services and offerings over time. But that’s also a huge mistake, because, one It opens the door to a lot, a lot more noise in general, but to it makes your product less effective and less tailored to the people maybe originally set out to serve or maybe the customer that you’re best suited to serve. So With tracking, you want to make sure that you know you have a really great promise but also that that promise only applies to the people that you really want. If you have a, you know, a really great promise that just applies to everyone you’re going to attract a lot of people have been, it might not actually be fit for everyone. And so the way to position yourself the message that you the you attract people with the things that you’re kind of drawing people in with your product, then that’s the thing that you’re going to continue to promise with their customers. Because once they get in the door, like I said, they might have a really easy onboarding, might have a great promise. But then when they actually get on the product, they realize, hey, actually, this isn’t really kind of what it is, or they had this, this idea in their head of what it was going to be like. And now it’s a completely different experience. And maybe it’s not as great as they thought it was. And now you just leaving yourself open to that turn. And so I think really getting very targeted, getting very specific, having really strong positioning in yourself so that people know exactly how to think of you and what box to play ceiling. I’ve been a big fan of April Dunford and all We’re working on positioning with her book, obviously awesome, highly recommend it. It’s super practical probably like the most step by step practical book I’ve read in a long time. And really goes to show the power of attracting the right people. And now that you have those right people, you’re going to retain them because you’re, you’re telling your practice specifically for them and not just for anyone.

Andrew Michael
Absolutely. We had actually had a problem the show previous. And it really is like that first step of nailing, like who you’re going after, and making sure that you’re communicating effectively to them. That saves you a lot of headaches and pains further down the line in terms of hours wasted, and it goes back as well, I guess as well to your point on feedback and not all feedback is equal. So if you have a misalignment in terms of your positioning and in terms of your target audience, the feedback that you’re collecting as well as also misaligned, so absolutely nailing that first step is really really, really critical. Next question I have been for you Korea’s like with Your company now. So how big is the metrics? What’s the size of the team?

Corey Haines
Yeah, we’re a lean strong team of eight right now fully remote. Wow.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I was surprised as well to hear that earlier when we chatted so far. I think from the outside you guys have done a fantastic job on your branding and like, really come across as the tool as well itself is super potluck super polished, at least. I’m interested like at your size now with eight people and growing quite fast. Like who it within your organization is really paying attention to churn and like it if there is an area of ownership, who would you say owns it?

Corey Haines
Yeah, it’s a good question. Because really, this could be completely unique to Baremetrics. But we have a very, like, kind of one team, one department mentality of, we all do customer support. We’re all very focused on the metrics. I think especially because you know, we have the metrics in front of us every day. That’s our bread and butter. That’s what we do. We’re all paying very close attention to it. And we’re sort of, you know, see ourselves all as experts in the metrics and how to look at it and how to how to see that feedback. So there isn’t really one person that’s, you know, solely responsible for it. We have our customer success lead Aaron, who obviously has a little bit more skin in the game, and that’s more specifically her job. But all of us do support. We’re all very intentional about it. We all have a an agreement and a system where we all do support and even answer tickets together. So really, it’s all of us. So

Andrew Michael
and then in terms of sort of alignment, would you say like, churn or retention is like one of the key metrics that you align yourselves behind as an oak?

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s probably, it’s right there with, you know, Mr. Our churn rate would say our average earning per user and then consequently a lifetime value, which is a product of each of those are probably the four that we pay the most attention to Moser there’s a lot more in there, a lot more depth into each one of those. But it’s definitely one of the top ones that we pay attention to.

Andrew Michael
Cool. So next question then is sec, I want to throw you into a hypothetical scenario now. And if your background and experience, let’s say, you move to a new company, you get a new job. And you arrive and you see that like churn and retention is really not great at this company. And you’ve now been tasked by the company to try and help turn things around. What would be some of the first things you’d want to do in your first three months there to try and drop that churn rates and increase retention?

Corey Haines
Yeah, great question. I love it. Because this is the exact process that went through just about a year ago when I start with Baremetrics, and actually give a talk about it to with forget the funnel. But the very first thing that I always do and basically where I start with every single one of our customers and companies that I consult with, is start with customer research and by customer I don’t mean just looking through the product analytics or kind of looking through the industry benchmarks and reports. I mean, literally get on the phone with 10 to 20 of your best customers, talking with them in depth for you know, 1530 sometimes even 45 minutes and ask them you know, very pointed very specific questions, but not in a very like interviewee kind of way more as a as a casual conversation that way they have the kind of freedom and, and and comfortability to answer very honestly and candidly to give the feedback that you need. And so I have a list of probably 10 to 15 questions that I rely on the most, but absolutely start with customer research, and really get to the bottom of you know, what makes these customers our best customers.

Andrew Michael
What I wanted to this questions that you asked, you’ve got to go to. So what we wanted to there’s two big questions you’d like to ask an interview.

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely. I’m also really big fan of the jobs to be done framework. So normally where I’ll start is kind of how they first found their metrics. So last question, like Hey, can you take me back to when you first start using their metrics? How did you find us? Where we as a business? And what were you looking to get out of your metrics as a tool, and that will give me some good insight into where they started their frame of mind. But also kind of how they looked for us, which is also very interesting. One of the second questions I’ll ask is, what we’re using before, or, you know, why couldn’t you go without us, essentially, that really gets down to the promise and the value of the tool? And then one of my favorite questions also is, you know, who else did you evaluate? or Why did you ultimately decide to go with us? What were some of the ways that these other tools were good for you? Or maybe, you know, fell short for you? And then usually, towards the end, we’ll get to, you know, hey, what’s, what’s the primary benefit of your metrics or Andrew or your product? and ugly make it better for you one of the things he would love to see if you can make one that for example, you know, what, what would be one thing, you really want to see their metrics that we can build for you? And that really gets down to you if they had to choose one thing. You know, hey, what is it What would you make us?

Andrew Michael
make unstoppable? Yeah. And this would be typically then with some of your most successful customers that you’d want to interview at this stage?

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the customers who are the highest lifetime value with you, maybe for some of the larger accounts who have been with you for the longest, or maybe even like, one of the things I love to do, and that I did with Aaron, or customers successfully is I just asked her, Hey, who are some of your favorite customers, the one mixing your favorite customers, is that gets down to, you know, who’s a good business to work with, you know, who doesn’t have a lot of support load, who is very aligned with our vision and loves us for who we are and not just for the product that we that we provide. And so that’s usually the way I go about finding those people.

Andrew Michael
Nice. Cool. So customer research, you’ve got that locked down, what’s the next step?

Corey Haines
Yeah. And so conversely, with your best customers, and then try to go to some of the previous customers as well. And one of the things I did early on, that was super mean actually five I’m more successful than I ever thought was just going through all of our expired trials and alert, cancel customers, and sending them a really simple message. I think it was like three lines. I was just like very metrics plus you. And then it was just like, Hey, you know, I just started as a as a head of growth for metrics. I’m looking to get some feedback on how we can become a better product and company overall. I just have one question for you. What can we do? You know, what’s one thing that we can do to become a no brainer for you? Or how can we become a better product for you specifically? And basically, I’m just open the door for some of those conversations. If people reply, which they did, I think I had about an 80% open rate, and about 50% reply rate. And once they have a good conversation going, then I’ll usually ask them to get on a video call after I kind of establish some rapport and some trust there. And then I’ll just ask them again, those same questions. Hey, how did you find us? Where do we fall short? What are some of the things that were great for you? What are some of the things that we fell short for you just really understand, you know, again, Those kind of want top one to two to three things that we can do and build that is going to reduce churn.

Andrew Michael
Nice. So you’re getting it from both sides of the table then from successful customers from customers that are left, and then you compiling a list with this, and that’s sort of what BU action this to what you’d want to get started cracking with and making changes. Yeah.

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely. And then, you know, once that kind of initial blast is sent out to your most successful and also the churn customers, you know, then I would immediately set up something like cancellation insights with bare metrics, that’s going to be like an ongoing feedback loop of cancellation reasons, and insurance feedback. And then, you know, based on all of those kind of things, then he really can start to sit down and figure out a plan for how to address it.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I like that as well. So really just starting to get to the core of the problem before diving straight into the actions and then when you’re diving protections, you’re making sure that you’re tackling what’s most important to the right people.

Corey Haines
Yeah, I mean, one of the

things that one more thing one of the things I found with a lot of our customers and we’re just companies in general is that customer research is like this secret like startup Chico like all the most successful founders repeat serial entrepreneurs, they all heavily rely rely on it. And all the companies that are struggling that are kind of flailing or have really high churn rate, don’t use it at all and it’s like a very foreign or uncomfortable concept. And so I basically started to categorize companies into like, one there’s the companies who use customer research and who know the things are and who know where to look and, and what the things they need to do are and then to their companies who guess and companies who guess it’s a very scary place to be in no guessing or just building things for the sake of trying to reduce churn or we’re changing things up in the sake of trying to guessing as a very bad business practice. Please do not guess customer research completely gets you to, you know an answer. They can be confident in at least much more than just you know, playing games. Which is where a lot of people do.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. And I think it’s one of the challenging things, though is with customer research and customer sort of development, to have it continuously going, I think, like more phenomenon as well is like it’s something that may be done in sporadic points in time or it’s done at the very beginning and something that then gets forgotten about and I’ve made and I’ve been guilty of this in the past. So I totally hundred percent echo that the ones that are the ones that are really performing and have super low churn rates is the ones that are always speaking to their customers and getting as close as possible to understanding their needs and they want. So acquire me we’re running up on time now as well. So last question I have for you today is what’s something that’s maybe a little bit unconventional or something that surprised you when you were going about trying to tackle turn at their metrics or the previous company that you found really interesting.

Corey Haines
Good question. I think to be honest Just the power and maybe like reliability of just having really strong support. There’s all sorts of, you know, maybe as markers and maybe just as Customer Success people to, it’s really easy to want to jump to like less than latest trick or hack or thing we can do that will make a really big impact, or splash and really reduce turn like, like, again, like we before we started talking about that people are always looking for that silver bullet or one thing they can do that’s going to magically fix things. But having really strong support really fast support, really helpful support always goes a long way. One, it could completely save an account all together to it could at least delay assurance of people don’t do it prematurely. The most frustrating thing to me is when someone cancels, and we’ve never had a support conversation with them, you know, they say that there’s a technical issue or it was too expensive, or that you know, those missing features. And it’s like okay, great. Like I wish we would have talked about this beforehand. And now I’m trying to go and have a conversation with them after that. Fact. But if you can have a conversation beforehand, really understand it, make your best effort to save them. Even if it doesn’t work out, you know, you at least try to at least have the opportunity to. But also I think support just instills a very, very good confidence and trust with your customers. So that even if they don’t have all the features they need, even if it’s maybe a little bit pricey for them or expensive for for their budget, that they at least stick with you because they know you and they trust you. You know Toby lucky at Shopify, maybe he wasn’t the original originator of this, but he talks about this concept of a trust battery. And every day your interactions with someone either charges or uses the trust in their battery with you. It’s kinda like social capital. Yeah, its support really increases really charges the trust battery. And I think that the more you can do that, it’s just one of those things that makes a huge difference long term that you have to continue to pour into you and invest in.

Andrew Michael
Absolutely. I think more and more companies are like TechCrunch onto this as well, I know like in Hotjar ourselves. Diana, who’s one of our support leads introduced the concept of support driven growth, where it’s about us being as productive as possible to be supporting our customers and also helping to educate them. So traditionally, like, things like onboarding, activation, or like feature adoption, is dealt by, like maybe product marketing or customer success. But now within our actual support team, we have this concept for support driven growth, where we’re really trying to not only be super proactive in helping our customers and solving the needs and their problems, but also trying to actually help them achieve more through the tool narrative more through the service. So I definitely see this in something we’ve heard as well previously, as well, a sec. One of the surprising things and it’s leaving me now who are disgusted with but they actually found that people contacting their support team was an indication of retention and not churn, because it showed that the person cared enough or the company cared enough to actually reach support. So having a super solid foundation there, I think like, as you say, is is really, really critical. I think

Corey Haines
if I can just add one more thing there, you know, marketers always spend so much time with like CRM activities, you know, how many more people can we get to, you know, convert from the landing page, to, you know, the increase that from the onboarding flow, you’re trying to fix places where people are falling off. But support is one of those things where it’s like, retention optimization, right? I guess that would be like RRO, or something like that. But it’s really one of those things that it’s not going to make a huge difference, but over time, the the fixer in a compound, and it’s one of those things where it’s just going to make a difference long term, that’s gonna that’s going to add up and be a big difference over time. Absolutely.

Andrew Michael
Cool. Well, Corey, thanks so much for joining the show today. I don’t know if you want to let the audience know like how they can keep up with your work if they want to should follow me. Anything you’ve lost that you’d like to leave us with today.

Corey Haines
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me on. I’m interested or in need of metrics and or help with their turn. I would love to personally meet with you. You can sign up for a trial at Baremetrics calm, just chat in or you can email me at Corey app, your metrics calm. Learn more about me what I’m up to I have several set side projects and things I’m working on. Just that Corey gains.co. co. And we’d love to connect on Twitter.

Andrew Michael
Awesome. Well, thanks again so much for joining the show today. Corey, really been great to have you and I wish you best of luck now going forward.

Corey Haines
Awesome. Thanks, Andrew. So much. Good to be on.

Andrew Michael
And that’s a wrap for the show today with me, Andrew, Michael. I really hope you enjoyed it and you able to pull out something valuable for your business. To keep up to date with turned on FM, and be notified about new episodes, blog posts and more? Subscribe to our mailing list by visiting churn.fm. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our show. on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you have any feedback, good or bad, I would love to hear from you. And you can provide your blunt direct feedback by sending it to andrew@churn.fm. Lastly, but most importantly, if you enjoyed this episode, please share it and leave a review as really helps get the word out and grow the community. Thanks again for listening. See you again next week.