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How a customer-centric email strategy can help you fix churn

Val Geisler | CEO of Fix My Churn

  • | Activation | Engagement | Growth | Onboarding | Product Strategy | Retention
  • November 2019
  • EP34

Fix your churn with emails

Email strategy with customer at the core

Today on Churn.fm, we have Val Geisler, email marketing expert and founder of Fix My Churn.

We talked about why Val founded Fix My Churn, her approach to helping customers set up a communication strategy, and why onboarding emails are one of the most crucial parts in improving customer retention 

Val also shared her opinion on why churn reduction is not about scalability, how SaaS companies started to concentrate more on customer retention, and why great email campaigns should not be time-based, but behavior-based

Val also shared examples of tactics you can apply to your email strategies, such as making use of transactional emails to grow customer love, methods to increase conversion, and more.

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

Why Val started Fix My Churn to tackle onboarding problem 00:01:44
Val’s typical approach to set up a customer’s communication strategy 00:06:22
Why churn reduction is not about scalability 00:10:30
Signs that customer retention is getting more attention in the SaaS industry 00:13:11
Why transactional emails are underutilized 00:15:15
Examples of how onboarding emails can increase conversion 00:23:05
How good onboarding emails can result in priceless qualitative data 00:24:10
Other ways Val helps customers reduce churn 00:27:36
Why great email campaigns should be behavior-based and not time-based 00:32:24

 

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Val Geisler

CEO of Fix My Churn

What Val 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, Val, welcome to the show.

Val Geisler
Andrew, thanks for having me.

Andrew Michael
It’s a pleasure. So Val, you are also another great recommendation from a friend from hot jar. And the host of Everyone Hates Marketrs Louis Grenier. So I’m very excited about today’s episode and for the listeners out there, Val is the founder of Fix My Churn who helped him customers, you’ve already attracted into customers for life. There are a team of specialists who are obsessed with customer communication, and the impact it has on reducing churn and increasing customer happiness. She has worked with companies like a Buffer, InVision, Stripe, and more. And it’s been called an email geek, a copywriter, a marketer and a real game changer. Prior to Fix My Churn, Val was a content crafted Convert Kit and founder of work at MoMA. So my first question for you Val is like why Fix My Churn? What drove you to start the company and why do you believe customer communication is so important in tackling churn?

Val Geisler
That’s a big question. Fix My Churn came about because I was working with clients on customer onboarding and did a lot of email work. So my background being working in the marketing team at a email marketing software platform and ESP. I learned email inside and out. I mean, I did the email marketing for an email platform. So I learned everything about it any momentum it No, it was super, it was the most meta job that I could possibly have. And, you know, I not only learned like the the marketing side of email, but I also learned about, you know, what other people are doing in the world of email, deliver ability and, you know, keeping emails out of spam and how to do email strategy, how to build out frameworks, and segmenting and personalization learned all of those things, and through kind of testing it out on Our own audience and then also just learning more about the email industry as a whole. And so I did a lot of email projects. When I left the company and went freelance, again, I was freelance before, but in a different industry. And so I kind of knew how to run a business. But I, I knew that this time around, I really wanted to focus on on email marketing. And so I did a ton of customer onboarding projects. I wrote about onboarding on my blog. So I did onboarding tear downs for a while, I don’t remember maybe six months with the onboarding paradigms, that I posted to my blog where I got all of the onboarding emails for a software company and, you know, signed up for a free trial would examine HTML and went through them email by email on my blog, and those are all still there. And I think that a lot of people tell me they’re still a great resource. So but you know, as I went through Doing onboarding, we found that, okay, so people get through their trial, and then they convert to a paid customer great. And then there’s nothing after that, and that just kind of drove me crazy as a, you know, an email marketer, that there, once somebody pays them, we just ignore them and, and the, the mindset of my clients was kind of like, well, we don’t want to bother them once they’re paying us we want to leave them alone and they’ll just keep paying their invoice until they you know, if we bother them, then they’re going to stop paying us. And I just feel like that is such a wrong mentality to have and, and, and I you know, at the same time, there was this rise of like product lead growth and growth marketing growth hacking was a huge like everyone’s talking about it and it just made me like roll my eyes every time I heard it. And because I feel like there’s such an opportunity to support your existing customers, and especially if you have a pricing strategy where if they win, you win, then it only makes sense. So, thanks. My turn was really born out of that, like all my customers, my clients came to me for onboarding. But the real problem that they had was a churn problem. They wanted better onboarding, because people were signing up for a trial and either not converting or converting to a first month and then leaving within that first three months because they still don’t have any clue what to do. So they thought it was an onboarding problem. But really, onboarding is just the tip of the iceberg.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I love that. And I think this is actually something that it’s come a lot up in the podcast in terms of like the areas and where the biggest problems lie when it comes to churn. And typically like onboarding is where people always point to and it’s like, okay, you have an issue with onboarding because people aren’t establishing that value prop and really creating a habit of your product. But taking that a step further, what you’re saying is really, it’s all the communication that surrounds it. And it’s not only about just thinking about that initial experience and how you can educate users in the beginning, but how do you maintain that relationship? And how do you keep that communication and engagement on an ongoing basis? So what is some of your typical process look like they’re now working in with customers, and what would your typical approach be in order to set up this communication strategy to enable like your customers to be able to communicating with their customers continuously?

Val Geisler
So I always start with onboarding, because it’s the very first touch point with your customers. And so, onboarding for me really starts from the moment that they sign up for your trial or if you don’t have a free trial, that first 30 days maybe if you have like a 30 day money back guarantee or Something like that. And even if you have a paid first, like if you if you’re, you know, a product that has like a paid first month, getting that second month is kind of that’s your onboarding period. So and you know, it looks different whether you have a 14 day trial or a 30 day trial or a on unlimited trial, you know, a freemium product, everything looks a little bit different. Yeah, it does all start with that onboarding phase. And onboarding is relationship building. And that’s what I think is the most important thing to get across and in all of this onboarding, retention, and even even transactional emails, they’re all opportunities for you to build relationship. And, and so in that onboarding phase, if you can do what you can to not only educate on the key components of the product and how it benefits your customers, but also to do some storytelling build a relationship between your team and your customers and help them feel like Okay, wow, this is a team of people who are here to support me and my business. And this is true, whether it’s b2c or b2b. You know, there’s ultimately there’s a person reading the email on the other side of that computer. So they feel like this is a team of real humans here to help me and I know a few of them by name at this point. And, and, you know, this isn’t just just a software solution, because there are millions of software solutions out there. And I don’t think there’s a single industry where there’s only one software of its kind. You know, everybody has, quote, competition. And so you, you know, you do yourself a favor by standing out by building that relationship because it’s really, really easy to turn away from a piece of software to cancel inside of an account and walk away from it, but it’s really hard to You know, if, if you, you, Andrew are sending me emails as the CEO of a company, or as the head of customer success at a company and I’m getting emails as a customer from you with your name on it, and and you know you’re in the from the sender and all those things. And then now I feel like, Oh, I don’t just have a company I’m leaving. I have I’m leaving Andrew. And I don’t want to do that. Right. So, to me, it’s all about building relationship, first and foremost. And that starts in onboarding and it carries through to retention.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I think like, it’s definitely a strong, strong points. You’re making us all and like, more often than not, we overlook email. And it’s like really that transactional mindset, it comes to it and it said event based messaging strategy that comes to mind and less about sort of like how can we build and create relationships because at the end of the day, this is this is an opportunity for us to speak to our customers. And by thinking of this just sort of like a one way discussion, you sort of lose that opportunity to build that relationship. The one thing that I have like a little bit of like a concern, wondering how you tend to deal with this is that I’m wondering, do you get kickback from clients and from customers concerned that? How would they be able to scale and manage these relationships? And obviously, like, we use them as a tool to be able to scale and to be able to reach a wide audience. But on the flip side, if we really getting personal and we’re really creating and building these relationships with our customers, how can we manage these relationships at scale?

Val Geisler
Yeah, so Karen, reduction is not about scale at all. I mean, there’s the you know, like, bulk email side of things. But you know, really turn reducing churn, managing relationships from the beginning, is all about doing things that don’t scale. It’s about sending handwritten notes. It’s about building relationships. It’s about you know, doing those ones. Two One, get calls back and forth emails, it does mean more inbound messaging for your success team. And so it’s something you have to be prepared for. But you have to know that the best form of retention management has nothing to do with scale.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, and definitely lucky as you say, people can leave software really easily but leaving people is is another level of like emotional attachment that you need to sort of get rid of before dropping a piece of software. So definitely.

Val Geisler
There’s things like, you know, you can automate things a bit, right. Like, maybe you have when I was in house, a Convert Kit, one of the things we did was we had a an onboarding checklist in the app. And and if you completed the checklist, the last step was to claim your free t shirt. And so we had a Convert Kit t shirt, like every good startup company does. And we did it through I think was spread shirt and so If the customer would complete their checklist, see like, Oh, I get a free t shirt, and then they would go and fill out their name and mailing address and then sweatshirt would just send out a, you know, the T shirt for us. So there wasn’t really anything that we did on our end other than pay for the T shirts. And I think that there are ways to do that with stickers and other kinds of gear, right. But you know, the idea is doing something that that builds that relationship, because if I slap a sticker on my computer, or I’m wearing a T shirt on video calls, I you know, I’m less likely to walk away from that brand.

Andrew Michael
Absolutely. Yeah. So, like, this is a next step then. So now we sort of, okay, we agree, you started onboarding. You’re trying to sort of figure out, like, how to get users to that next phase of their journey. You mentioned something earlier those like when people come to you to believe the only thing you about onboarding and you you say like fixing churn and really Tackling the issues more than just that. So what would be the next sort of area that you would want to look into and work with a client to understand that how you can improve retention with communication?

Val Geisler
Yeah. So the next piece is do you have a retention program at all? Right? So and, and a lot of companies don’t, I’m seeing more and more job postings for retention managers, and lifecycle managers. And I think that that is the industry that I work in, and that I care so much about and a few other people I know do. I feel like we’re kind of on the cusp of something that’s going to really be a big deal in a while and I’m just starting to see right like you did last year. Even earlier this year. Seeing job postings for email marketing managers was like that. That’s pretty standard or customer success manager. That’s pretty sad, but it’s yeah and even onboarding specialist like, and you know people who get on calls and help people get on boarded into a product, that’s pretty standard. But seeing retention managers seeing lifecycle campaign managers, those those kinds of positions are kind of new.

Andrew Michael
And renewal managers as well. I’ve seen in customer success quite regularly now. They’re having the specialization of renewals come up so

Val Geisler
right yeah renewals and even a in the world of e commerce I’ve seen like second purchase people like people who are really focused on getting a second purchase. Yeah. So once you once you start to see those things, then it says like, Okay, well, this is people are starting to care more about to this industry and and retention does really matter to a lot of companies. Yeah.

So that’s always my first question is do you have a retention program at all. And then after that, it’s not just like, Okay, well what is it and and how can we improve on it? Right? So there’s, there’s the foundational emails that you can get into place. And I’m obviously a big proponent of having an email campaign that drips out over time and offers, you know, more relationship building more value adds for your customers, not just talking about the product and new feature releases, but in relationship to how that matters to them. And then, you know, the, the huge part of that retention programs is the transactional emails. And this is something I’m doing more and more with my clients is I auditing transactional emails and seeing so much opportunity for improvement there because typically, those emails were written by a product engineer because they’re sent The system or, you know, maybe through postmark or something like that, but they were typically written by someone who is not an email marketer and not, you know, they’re very talented people, but they’re not email marketers.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. And not a copywriter.

Val Geisler
Yeah. And then also be wrote it three, six years ago, you know, and hasn’t really changed since then. So yeah, transactional emails are such a major opportunity. Can you give us one

Andrew Michael
like one story of a customer you’ve worked with where you’ve seen like an opportunity like that and what the what that was?

Val Geisler
Oh, yeah. So I was actually just talking with a client about their transactional emails and one of the biggest areas of opportunity was in their regular invoice right? So the, you’ve paid every month kind of thing. And so once once they have that invoice they are reminded that they did pay and now if you’re a bigger company, if your b2b that might just go on a line item and nobody cares and billing gets it, that’s not a big deal. But this is a b2c company. And so they knew that their end user who also had a budget to manage was getting that invoice and so the invoice at the time it just said like, here’s what you paid you know, and I might have said thank you on it. But you know, there’s like, it was just the bare bones. Yeah, the header their logo. You know, here’s how much you paid this to me. Yeah. And it just it starts to when you get those every single month it starts to make you feel like you are nothing but a credit card to accompany if you have no other point of communication. And so we took that email and turned it into, you know, at you can add onto these invoices were in It was a standard message that comes every month. But it’s just a reminder that, you know, this is a family run company, we are so thankful that you’re here and a part of it. And we added in a picture that they had of the the team. And you know, this is our team. Here’s how you can reach us if you have questions at any point. And then I think we even talked about looking at to see if it’s possible if it was possible to kind of have like a rotating, either like a little quote, or a factoid, just something that would change every single month, but the rest of it stayed the same. And just adding those little bits of personality. It makes such a difference to the end user they still get the invoice they still get the you know everything they need for their accountant to manage their books, but they also get a little bit of good feeling in the process.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I totally agree. There’s and it’s something that actually happened to me prior to action to work in hot channel and before joining hot Joe had a startup and towards the end sort of funds was limited in the bank and we were getting sort of these transactional emails coming through like payment declined payment declined. And in some cases, it would just be like, you know, as you said, the typical standard like bright red payment era, like very personal like really like not making you feel good about yourself as well at that point in time. But then they actually the best result of not just saying this because I work in HR now but it was it was a personal email that came directly from David dominant our CEO. And essentially like what it said was, like, Hey, we know things can be difficult from time to time. Things slip up from here and there credit cards can expire like, is the absolute anything we can help you with, to make sure like you can get up and run again, we don’t want you to miss out something along those lines, but it really just sort of resonated to us at that time. And I was like, shit, this is like a really good email like in that really stood out from the crowd.

Val Geisler
Here’s the thing was transactional emails is that most of the time the person getting it is either in a hurry like a password reset email, or they are, you know, it’s they’re blindsided by it right so like a credit card cancellation, you know, a done email or, or even an invoice a monthly invoice we kind of forget like, Oh, my monthly invoices here like I just got that two weeks ago but apparently it’s been a whole month. So you can you know, they kind of either come out of the blue or the person is like in a bit of a panic or hurry or

Andrew Michael
anxious. I wasn’t even aware of it.

Val Geisler
Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, there’s there’s definitely transactional emails, depending on your brand that are, you know, like social likes and shares. But again, that’s something that’s showing up in their inbox, essentially, uninvited, right there and it’s just based on a thing that happens in their account. So You want to add those brand personality things? And and yeah, that human element, right like we forget, just because it’s a quote, while the system sends that email, that’s not a marketing email, you know, like, that’s what, that’s what I hear so much about transactional emails, well, we just the those are built in our back end, and they just get sent out automatically. And it just because the machine sends it doesn’t mean a human doesn’t read it.

Andrew Michael
Yeah.

Val Geisler
It’s still a marketing email. I really want people to change their mindset about marketing emails, what what makes a marketing email? And I think the transactional email absolutely, is a huge opportunity to become a marketing email.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. And if you mean, I mean, it’s like you said, it’s one of those things that just pops up in your email and from time to time as well, like it’s a reminder that you still paying for the service so that you’re still using it. In some cases, like people worry that this reminders will sort of trigger users to cancel their subscription and like you said, Like, if you’re really treating as a transactional email, that can be a really good reminder to go in and cancel and turn. But if you are taking the more personal approach and really making it about them and making it about, like, how you serving them, it really like turns the story around.

Val Geisler
Yeah, yeah. And you know, even thinking about my own inbox, like, I’ll get an email from medium, for example, or medium says, like, Oh, so and so like your, your post recently, or left a comment or something. I’m like, Oh, yeah, I have a medium account. I forgot and I should post over there. But medium doesn’t really do anything that says like, Hey, you know, why don’t you this person left a comment? That’s all it says. It’s not like Why don’t you reply to them or, you know, post your responses as another article or the give me some kind of suggestions about or reminders of like, posting on medium and what that does for me.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, and I mean, like, now like, at the surface level, we think we’re talking about like small little Details. But what are some of the winds you’ve seen with companies working with them? Like with just making these small little tweaks and making things a little bit personal like is any specific case where you can speak to where the conversion to increase or retention was increased as a result of making tweaks?

Val Geisler
Yeah, I will conversions always increase on free trials when you work on onboarding. I worked on an onboarding campaign where we increase conversions by 10%, which is massive, more than paid for the cost of the project. And, you know, I think that if you can impact your conversions or turn by 1%, or half a percent, like think like do the back of the napkin math of six dimensional means is and and that compounds over time, you know? So, it’s, it really can have a huge impact. And and I think that what you have To know about these kinds of projects, just like turn related activities don’t really scale. Well. They also take time to see results. So, up front, we always ask, every single client says, oh, they’ll forward me a response to an email from a client. Look at this great response. Somebody will say, like, wow, I really appreciate you guys sending this email. I feel so personal and like, I really loved learning this about the company or, you know, some kind of that kind of qualitative Lyft of our customers are responding to emails that they used to never respond to. And I think that that matters and thinking about getting more responses should not feel like a bad thing and something you need to mitigate inbound emails it you know, people are Replying to Your onboarding and retention emails. That’s a really good thing.

Andrew Michael
This was actually an awesome question earlier was hoping we your response is going to be as I said, like people tend to think Think of it as like worrying and Okay, I’m going to get too many responses. But like people are engaging with you and engaging with your brand. And that shows that they care like it’s it, there’s no better sort of definition, as well as email response from a customer who’s like you’ve bombarded the email in the inbox. And now that actually spent the time to come back to you.

Val Geisler
Yeah, yeah. And I can’t tell you how many times I mean, even in my own on my own email list, I get people who say, you know, I have a welcome email to my email list. And I, I get people who say, hey, Val, I never respond to these kinds of emails. But because of the way this was written, I feel really compelled to reply, and then they give me a whole big reply. And you know what that does? It gives me voice of customer data. So responses to emails should not feel like that’s something we don’t want. If anything, you want more of them because it builds a relationship and it also gives you exact words that your customers use to talk about About how they feel about your brand. And that can be turned around into subject lines calls to action headlines on your website. And don’t think that responses to emails are just something to be filed away in your, you know, ticketing system, they are absolutely opportunities to mine voice and customer and reuse it across your brand.

Andrew Michael
And if anything, it’s probably one of the most authentic areas you’ll ever get it as well because like sending out a survey or conducting an interview, it’s not really in a natural environment and it’s like taking people out of their comfort zones a lot of the time but somebody out of their own free will choosing to reply to an email and giving you some feedback is really going to be called like you say when it comes to the voice of customer.

Val Geisler
Yeah 100% and I think that on my the next time I run into one of these cases where, you know, one of my clients forwards me an email from a customer. I’m going to say okay, let’s track that individual customer and see when they Convert on the, you know, in the onboarding sequence or in that process or how, what their lifetime value is. And of course, we don’t know what it would be without it. But it’s interesting to me to think about what is the lifetime value of a customer who responds to an onboarding or retention email versus your average lifetime value?

Andrew Michael
Yeah. And especially when it starts with I never do this. But yeah, so let’s continue that a little bit. So you mentioned like the retention plan and we talked about onboarding emails, transactional emails, like, what are some of the other things that you see like going into good plan that companies have implemented or that you help companies with?

Val Geisler
So the other thing that I think comes up a lot is this idea of like an affiliate or referral program, and and it’s such an opportunity for customer attention, and in fact, it’s a huge opportunity for customer growth for Acquisition right? that you can utilize your existing customers to help you grow your customer base. And so affiliate and referral programs are. And that’s kind of their two words that mean the same thing. There’s also the opportunity for partner programs, which is kind of the next level of affiliate or or referral programs a partner is this, you typically see this a lot on the b2c side where they are a service provider who can help get someone set up in that product or, like we are KVO certified partners. And so if we have a client in e commerce, then we make sure they’re set up properly and clean. Do we know how the system works and what should should and shouldn’t be done in that platform? Right. So inherently, we are inclined to tell our clients Hey, if you’re an e commerce we want to get you on clay view. And and here’s why. And here’s how it’s going to benefit what we do. And so we are as partners, and you know, the foot soldiers in the acquisition case for for clay do in that, in that instance, right.

Andrew Michael
acquisition and the onboarding and the customer success, lucky. Taking all of them. Yeah,

Val Geisler
it’s an amazing way to scale your customer success team without hiring anybody. And so, partner programs are a really powerful tool to have, but they have to start with the foundation of an affiliate or referral program like you’ve got to get some you have to see some traction in that affiliate world. And something that we do when a client has an affiliate program or maybe some even doesn’t, doesn’t have one at all. A lot of my clients will have and they say, Oh, yeah, We have an affiliate program there’s a link like inside of your account you have a link that is custom for you and you can send it out and you’ll get you know credit on every purchase that comes our way every new customer requires your your link. Yeah, well that’s great, but you never talk about it. Or if you do talk about it, you talk about it in your like third onboarding email where they’ve barely even had a chance to use the platform and let alone want to tell other people about it. I mean, sometimes it’s the case that early on you want to tell shout from the rooftops how much you love the product. And but I think in general, brands could do a lot more marketing of their affiliate programs and what that looks like and you know what, how it’s rewarded and and show it off, whether it’s talking about your your top affiliates on your blog or in your newsletter, doing some kind of tracking with that. There’s some brands that do this really well. Like, like the skin, for example is one and morning brew. They are both like kind of news, aggregate news, email newsletters, but they’re really interesting ways to do it for us to show building out like once you’ve kind of thought through your your onboarding and retention programs, thinking about your affiliate program is, and then and then layering on top of that partners is the next element of how to build out a long term retention plan.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, and you said something that I love as well. And something that came up in a previous episode with Sean class is the concept of timing. And like, like you said, ahead of thing, that referral email in the third email you send during onboarding when people are still trying to figure out if this is a tool for them. And the same goes as well for like email sec often Macklemore thing about retention and like the natural thing is the more team members using my tool, the more likely an account is to be retained. So let me try Include the non boring good people. But more often than not, people during that phase are really trying to just first understand that is this for me like to be able to refer to a friend or to be able to invite a team where you actually asking them to invest quite a lot of like equity and personal equity into this sector watching for you. So the timing is really, really critical and getting this right. And I mean, these are two examples, but like, what are some of the areas you see in terms of like timing of emails that are done wrong, or things that are done really, right?

Val Geisler
Well, an email like that, for example, really should be based on behavior and not time based? Right? So it shouldn’t be like, Well, they’ve been they’ve been on their trial for 10 days, so that let’s send them this affiliate email, or, or they’ve bet they’ve had an account for three months. None of that matters if they aren’t actively using the account if they aren’t engaging with it at a level that makes them successful. So you have to look at behavior because emails for cases like, hey, go tell your friends about us and use your link and write blog posts about us. You know, people I’ve seen brands ask. Especially in b2c, I’ve seen brands ask customers to, like write a blog post dedicated to us and how it’s helped your brand. And that’s it’s just a time based ask and it falls flat because it is a lot of social equity to recommend a product and especially if you maintain a blog, and people refer to that for, you know, good resources. Do you want to feel invested in a product? I mean, I know I don’t write about things on my blog I haven’t used and that and not just us, but loved. Yeah. So you have to understand that that capital that you’re asking for. So I think those kinds of email should absolutely be behavior based.

Andrew Michael
And figuring out the right time when people actually in love with your product and willing and committed actually refer or write about or introduce her. Yes. Cool. So I think we have time for one last question. And it’s something I ask every guest that joins the show. And I want to put you in a hypothetical scenario. So let’s imagine you join a new company, and you arrived at this company and never problem with turning retention. And you’ve been given the task to try and help turn things around. You’ve got three months to show some results or to try and implement a plan, like, what would be some of the things that you would want to be doing within those first three months to help turn things around?

Val Geisler
Yeah, so it’s a really good question. The first thing well, yeah, the first thing I would do is go to every department. So whether this is a 10 person, company, or hundred person, company, or thousand person company, go to each department or maybe department head and say, Hey, same kind of hype. The medical situation here is, um, let’s say we shut off customer acquisition entirely. And we’re still responsible for raising our monthly recurring revenue. What from your vantage point, you know, cut cmo, CTO, product team, you know, whoever they are having these individual conversations and saying, from your vantage point, if we had no more acquisition, what would you do to increase our monthly recurring revenue and just start to get the entire team thinking about retention efforts? And whether they they have an answer or not? By asking that question, you get their gears turning about what is possible if we turned off acquisition entirely, and you know, and then it also starts to help. That kind of spitball brainstorming helps you start to think about A little bit outside of the box of what you might traditionally do. So someone on customer success might have a different idea than somebody on engineering and even, you know, people operations and like everybody has ideas, right? You just have to go ask them. And, and then, you know, I obviously would have like, take all those ideas and and put together a priority list. But the very first things I would do is what I do, I mean that that three month period is the starting period for working with us as a company. So what we do is audit what exists and then do voice of customer research. And, and along with that customer research, we find out from that list of, you know, proposed ideas, where our priorities based on the customer research and also what already exists, and make that priority list and just start tackling it one experiment at a time and I say experiment Because the most important part of especially email marketing is that you have to test it, you have to find out what works and in my opinion, a failure is a is nothing more than a piece of data. So, if, if a you know, everybody gets excited about an A B test and the email like the Oh, this is the winner and what do we do? Well, I want to see what the quote losing test was with the the split was because I want to know, you know, how we can optimize that email and what we can take from it and put into the winning email. Because a lot of times A B tests are aggregate over a bunch of different factors. So maybe it clicks were higher on the losing email but opens where the higher on the winning and so you know, there’s, there’s a number of factors but I like to look at the whole big picture and and ultimately it comes down to getting the entire team thinking about customer retention and then talking to customers. You have to you have to go to Talk to your customers. And by that I mean yes, in a way that doesn’t scale. You have to get on one on one calls with your customers and do with your customers proper voice of customer research and to know how to prioritize your retention efforts. Yeah,

Andrew Michael
I love a lot of what you said now. So I think like one thing with a B tests absolutely right is like, we focus too much on the winds and then not enough time as we’re like trying to understand like, why something when or why something lost like it’s equally if not more important to really understand sort of the the analysis and the end and the back of an experiment. And then I just absolutely loved how you sort of framed that question to the company sort of saying, like, if we had to shut off growth, what could we do to still continue to increase revenue because I think growth is one of those things that sort of masks the retention problem and specifically for like hyper growth startups in the beginning, it’s like, retention was always something it’s kicked down the bucket because it’s masked by this continuous growth and you don’t really understand that you haven’t been problem until it’s too late to fix that problem. So, for me, it’s really in that sense really getting that alignment from the team and saying, okay, like, this is an issue that car, can we all start thinking about this issue? And how can we align ourselves and our goals towards that issue? I think it’s an amazing way. And then obviously, like, as you said, like, the bare basics is really just speaking to customers like that. Yeah,

Val Geisler
I mean, everything comes down to having that retention mindset. And you know, it helps a engineering team. Think about how they would prioritize their backlog. And it helps helps the success team think about the way that they answer tickets and what they do with clothes tickets, even. You know, it helps a operations team think about how they treat the employees so that they can better serve the customers. So it has a trickle down effect to every department and, and that’s why I think it’s important to be asking those questions and getting the entire company thinking about customer retention, long term.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, and it’s the only way you can really solve for it is if the whole company is really aligned and working towards it. And you’re not having polar opposites like sales or marketing, trying to just drive new acquisition, get as many hits through the door, but maybe driving through the wrong leads and same thing happen in sales or product. So it really is critical to have that alignments.

Val Geisler
Yeah, and we could do like an entire recording on just voice of customer research, because that’s a huge element to is like knowing. Yeah, that whole thing that you said about sales, getting the wrong leads in the door. Well, if you’ve done your proper voice of customer research, and you know where they are hanging out online, and how they’re influenced and who helps them make their buying decisions and all those things, then you can find the right people at the right time.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, well, you’ve just scheduled another interview with us in a few months. Great. Cool. Well, like I thank you very, very much for doing this show today, before we leave you like is anything that you’d like to share with the audience. I can Keep up with your work. keep in contact with what you’re up to anyone. Yeah.

Val Geisler
So you can find, find out more about what we do at fix my turn calm. And I am on Twitter pretty actively. And my Twitter is at love Val Geisler so you can come say hi to me, let me know you listen to the show. I love to hear from podcast listeners. So come say hi and and then yeah, join us at fix my turn calm and read our onboarding tear downs and join the email list so you can stay up to date.

Andrew Michael
Awesome. Well, thanks very, very much. Really appreciate. It’s been great chatting today and wish you best of luck going forward.

Val Geisler

Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Cheers.