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Challenges tackling SMB churn and how to overcome them

Emeric Ernoult | CEO and Co-founder of Agorapulse

  • | Activation | Customer Success | Engagement | Growth | Onboarding | Product Strategy | Retention | Sales
  • January 2020
  • EP44

Tackling SMB churn challenges

How you can serve SMBs better

Today on Churn.fm we have Emeric Ernoult, CEO and Founder of Agorapulse.

In this episode, we talked about the role of communities in customer retention and using social media as a channel for customer support.

Emeric also shared his learnings about churn and retention in his entrepreneurial career. He dived deep into his past churn metrics, future goals, and how he plans to further tackle churn at Agorapulse.

We also talked about how to design your product roadmap based on customer feedback, and how you can package your product to appeal to new and different audiences.

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. Now enjoy the episode.

Mentioned Resources

Highlights

Time

What excites Emeric about social media and why he started Agorapulse 00:02:08
Does social media play a role in customer retention? 00:07:42
Should social media be a channel for customer support and community building? 00:10:44
Emeric’s experience and learning about churn and retention, and his future churn goal 00:13:10
Deciding on what product to build based on customer feedback. 00:24:02
How to package a feature to make it more attractive to a different audience 00:26:42
How Emeric would go about turning a company churn problem around 00:36:33

 

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Emeric Ernoult

CEO and Co-founder of Agorapulse

Emeric’s recommended resources on churn
What Emeric is reading right now
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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, Emeric, welcome to the show.

Emeric Ernoult
Hey, thank you for having me.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been really wanting to get you on the show to chat. And so for the listeners Emeric is the founder and CEO of Agorapulse. With Agorapulse managing social media has never been easier. They allow you to schedule your content, get reports and engage followers with one simple tool. They serve over 17,000 social media managers using their tool daily and prior to or a post semicolons also co founder and CEO of affinities, the first modern social network SAS platform, the group’s over 400,000 users. So my first question for you mark is, what was it about social media and social networks that motivated you and excited you back then to get started in the space? And what is it about them today that continues to you?

Emeric Ernoult
That’s a great question. I’m not sure the answer is what you’re going to expect. First of all, in 20, in 2000, July of 2000, when my co founder and I started affinities, which was our first business, it was not called social media. It was it was called communities. And it was not SAS, it was something else. I don’t I don’t even think there was a name for SAS at the time even though it was already SAS. What drove me to this at the time was completely screwed up reason, which is, I had an idea for something and then My co founder had had another ID and I said the only way I can start a company because I needed a, I needed a partner. And he was a web developer, and definitely to build a web products, better partner with a web developer than her lawyer, which is what I was at the time. So I said, Well, I’ll have to deal with that we have to find a way. So we combine our two IDs and he became affinities at the time. So my ID was built around. Offering a way a platform for alumni students to connect with each other. And a funny part is that’s how Facebook got started in 2004. And, and Ben’s idea was not so excited with my idea. And Ben’s idea was to create a place where people could share their opinion on cultural goods like you know, movies and CDs at the time that there was no Spotify or electronic music on the tronic format Yeah, so CDs albums, movies and books. So we build something that was a combination of the two and eventually became affinities that was a way to build your own social networks your are your friends, your family or your your colleagues at work, people you are doing nonprofit with your, your experience or your current friends from from school and university.

Andrew Michael
Very interesting and like you said 2000 the time back then before anybody even knew what was going on. You already sort of had that inkling and feeling that this was the way things were going but what is it about them exactly then today?

Emeric Ernoult
Well, that’s interesting, too. I’m, you know, I’m never I’ve never I started many businesses and the topic or the thing that we were doing was never really what excited me What excites me is building the company is building the team is building the The excitement of the team for what we’re doing what we’re trying to achieve. It’s building a story. It’s building something for our prospects and clients that excites them that that they find useful. Being a social media management tool is just, it’s just one thing that we found ourselves into. But you know, it was not really a choice in the beginning. We got there by chance. Well, as you know, affinities was something to build your own community. So we tried to sell to people for a long time, you have to build your own community, and you have to build your own groups of, you know, supporters and clients and customers and so on and so forth. And we did it for years and didn’t listen. And in 2009 2010, Facebook and Twitter were becoming, you know, more and more present in businesses mind and they kept telling me I was trying to sell this stuff while Ben was trying To build it, they kept telling me, we don’t want to build our own thing we want to leverage what’s already there on Facebook in the existing social network. So I said, you know, came back to the office once and I said, then we have to stop trying to sell them something they don’t want to buy, we have to sell them what they want to buy and what they want to buy is something on Facebook. And that’s how we got to we got started on building on top of Facebook and then we realized that building on top of Facebook was not enough because people went to Twitter and then later on LinkedIn and Instagram and you know, the whole nine yards and that’s it. They like we basically followed what people wanted and got where we are today following Okay, let’s build what they want. Okay, this is what they want and what makes sense for them on a daily basis. Let’s build that so I never woke up in you know, one morning and say, Oh, my God, I want to do a social media management tool. I can you know, I’d be curious if someone did but it basically came out of necessity basically following the path of with to the people. We are Talking to once and what can we sell that they want to buy?

Andrew Michael
And listening to your customers? Yeah, of course, I

Emeric Ernoult
know Elon Musk waking up in the morning, I want to solve the world problem of consuming consuming oil and freestyle energies. I didn’t want it Yeah, I was lucky.

Andrew Michael
My story and it’s very good as all that, you know, what’s your and whatnot and like, I get it as well, from perspective of really excitement being that building process of building the company and creating something from nothing, it doesn’t really matter to me mean what the idea is all about. It’s more that whole process and leading up to the end. So I’m the topic then of social media and the show. I’m interested to hear your your opinion and do you think social media plays a role in customer attention?

Emeric Ernoult
I, I per se technically I don’t think so. I don’t think this is where you need to be obsessed. To get better retention. I think building a community or communities around your product, your brand, definitely will help will with acquisition and retention eventually. But it’s not this. It’s not social media, it’s building something or some things that are of interest for the persona or the target audience. You’re you’re trying to sell something to. So it’s that that second example, you guys have hot jar, you’re selling different tools to, for example, to understand for for, for marketers to understand what their audience think about what they’re selling to understand what they’re doing when they get on their website. With page, they see how far deep they go on that page, and so on and so forth. So you’re talking to marketers and marketers specifically, were doing things on their website and trying to convert users and better distance They’re user. So if you build communities, and when we say communities that could have many, many forums, like it could be meetups, masterminds events, big Events, Small events, forums, the Slack channel, you know, a podcast like this one, expert interviews, like anything a community can be can be made off. If you do that, then you’ll definitely increase the attraction of your brands or the attractiveness of your brand. Because your target audience will, why are marketers doing things on the website to track to attract people and be more efficient? In doing so they will see that you care about their problems that you’re trying to address and find answers and find ways to for them to find answers to their problems. And beyond just your products. They will feel like this brand cares about me. So by doing that, which is basically by building a sense of community and belonging in and the fact that your brand cares about that community, you’re definitely increasing. retention. Is it like a direct effect? You know, I get it I if I get you as a Twitter follower you’ll, you’ll be less likely to churn? No, definitely not. But by doing by building this sense of community and making sure that people see you as a helpful partner in the adjust a vendor, you’re definitely making it.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I think as well. It’s probably one of the similar things to customer success in the sense that it’s very difficult to measure the immediate ROI of things like brand and customer success. But there are definitely some of the things that do play a big part in it. It’s more just about how do you go about measuring that impact and knowing if you’re moving in the right direction, I guess. The next thing I wanted to ask as well interesting, like on the concept as I love like customer success and supporters like social media, I think has also been used a lot as a support channel for companies and for customers to reach out to have their Sort of direct communication line with their brands? How do you see it at or a pulse? And is it just a marketing channel or should like brands and companies be thinking about it as a channel for support?

Emeric Ernoult
Yeah, well, should company be thinking of that as a channel for support, but they don’t have to users already thinking for them? The thing is, you know, some brands for some brands, social media is is the number one channels channel for support. In some countries, for example, in Asia, we have we have clients in Asia, especially in Thailand, where people just go on Facebook, when they have a question. They don’t, they don’t even try to find your email, they go on Facebook, and they message you there or comment, whatever. So for these brands, it’s just they have to react. It’s a reactive way, like we have to deal with that and like they have thousands of private messages coming through them every single day. So like we have one client that has 80 team members, answering thousands incoming messages on a daily buitoni 24. Seven. We’ve, you know, with people continually replacing, you know, doing the shifts and stuff. So it’s crazy for them. Yeah, well, they’re just it’s not whether or not they should consider till they have to. It’s there, it’s there, it’s there and they have to deal with it. It’s not everybody of course, there are countries where nobody goes on social media or fewer people, there are industries where very few people will think about social media, they will just phone or you know, or email. That’s the reflex they will have. So, normally you should know already. If social media is is a channel for support, or not like you get no no request. Yeah, or some or a few or is growing and is already big or is absolutely unavoidable for you. So and then if it’s big, you need you need tools, and that’s that’s where a tool like ours and others come into play because it’s really messy to Do support and directly on social media?

Andrew Michael
Absolutely.

Emeric Ernoult
I don’t think this is something you control or you can impact it’s happening to you or it’s not. Yeah, I

Andrew Michael
totally agree with you like your customer speaks for you not the other way around. And, and this is something actually find quite frustrating from time to time as well as I’ve noticed myself, like sending a question here in there to two rounds on social media, and then I get a response back, please, can you send an email to this address? And it’s sort of like, I’ve asked you a question. And now you’re putting me through an extra hoop to try and get to the answer, as opposed to just serving me there probably spent you the same amount of time to copy and paste that is it would have given me the answer right then. And so having a tool and service I go to pulse, I think definitely would help a lot of these brands. Cool. So next thing I want to talk a little bit about is your journey when it comes to churn and retention and sort of you’ve been going for quite a while now in the SMB space. So I think like most people miss in your space, they’ll know and understand that turns. retention tends to be quite a bit of a bigger challenge for most companies. How have you found it a water pulse and maybe what has been one of the biggest learnings for you over the years?

Emeric Ernoult
Well, number one, you’re always learning about churn and retention and I think that journey never stops. Number two, we are in the self service and and you know, I’d say low end of the market type of product because our average revenue per account is hundred and 35 euros which is very cheap. If you compare to large enterprise software that are selling for several thousand euros a month, sometimes more. So when you when you when you talk about churn, there’s there’s definitely two worlds. There is the world of enterprise where churn should be net negative, I mean net Mr. churn should be net negative. We actually talked about Net dollar retention? Not sure. You know, how much are you? How much are you improving? When you get when you land a client, what percentage of more revenue you’re going to get from that client a year from now? That’s the question and enterprise software is asked and they should say 30% that’s the answer that’s expected or between 20 and 30%. And then you have the low end of the market which is companies targeting SMEs. You guys are jart you’re you’re in that in that bucket. We are 230 35 are our power our Pew you’re definitely in that low end of the market. And net, you know, negative net Mr. churn is really really hard to get to. I mean, it’s super hard. Yeah, at the same time, you cannot grow very far if your net Mr. churn is too high. So Just to give you the numbers we used to be we started a Gora pulse as a Facebook contest platform. So we were doing already a little bit of publishing and engagement and monitoring and a little bit of reporting. But it was Facebook only and the one thing we were known for and we’re really good at were Facebook contest and promotion and those were horrible when it came to chart. I think our net Mr. churn monthly was 20%. Think about it today. I have goose goose bumps like oh my god, 20%. That’s really, really bad. And that led our decisions over the years to move from that to a full blown daily social media management tool. Because we said we looked at that we saw that and we thought we’re never going to grow. Yeah, there’s no business there. It will never work and funny enough Look, look at today. Look at the market today. There’s no more Facebook contest and promotion companies none like Not a single one has survived in that state. So we moved to the social media management by adding over social networks and adding the monitoring and the listening and the reporting and all the other stuff in the publishing all the stuff that that people expect from a good social media measurement or being bootstrapped took us years but it eventually worked, worked out for us. And we got we got that net Mr. Turn down to today, around 2.5% 2.5 ish. So you know, some month are 2.67 some month or 2.2 2.3 around 2.5 on average, which is much better than 20 and which is much better than for which we were a year ago at so every year we’re making progress but every year that progress the breath further progress is diminishing, because you know, we were able to move From when we were three a year ago, we were able to move from 43 in the 18. And we were only able to move from three to 2.5 or six in 19. And I think we move from 5.5 to four and 17 and solid so far. So the more you progress, the harder it becomes. Because the morning Yeah, diminishing returns, but it’s, that’s interesting, the gross churn which which excludes expansion, revenue expansion. Yeah. You was at I think it was at five a year ago, around five and it’s around four right now. So we have a little bit of expansion to make a point that gross churn that takes us from four to 2.5. Our goal is to get to zero I I don’t have the goal to get to net negative I think net negative is crazy hard for an SMB play. Yeah,

but I do think that We can get to zero or very close to zero. And when you look at projection of your revenue, let’s say you project to have 300 new clients per month out 150 arpan, for example, forever, like, you know, no improvement there never. And you put a 3% churn on top of that, or a 0.0 point 5% churn on top of that, and you look at where you’ll be in five years, the difference is crazy. Yeah, it’s amazingly different like the two different businesses you have a okay sort of okay business there on the right, and you have an amazing business on the left, and it’s just going from three to 0.5. So our goal is to get to get as close as possible to zero. And we know for a fact that there is no way on earth that we get will get gross, gross churn, close to zero. There’s no way it’s impossible in the SME sector.

Andrew Michael
Just nature of the businesses,

Emeric Ernoult
nature The business like and it’s the nature of a self service cheap product I mean cheap I don’t like the word cheap because it makes you feel or people feel that what you what you do is cheap which is not the case but affordable product so if your product is affordable, like let’s say it’s 49 bucks or 60 bucks or even 99 bucks it’s affordable any decent business can put 99 bucks on something to do see what it looks like yeah, if it’s affordable and it’s very easy to get in you know you could just put your credit card get a free trial put your credit card and see what goes you’ll have a lot of people who come in or not good fits there’s no way you can control that or or present Yeah, that will happen and those peoples in there Yeah, that’s so excited that really what I wanted not really what I thought I’m not sure what let’s do something else, and those people will come and go so that is absolutely unavoidable. And if you do monthly contracts will have more churn than if its annual America the the enterprise software it’s you know, annual

Andrew Michael
by I do like three

Emeric Ernoult
years contracts crazy. Of course, they have good retention.

So for us, it’s impossible. But what you can do and you should do is expand. So it should you have people who will leave no matter what you do, and you’ll have people who will stay. Because Because you build an amazing product, you build an amazing customer support and customer success team. You’ve built an amazing community to help professionals who are that target audience and they know that and they appreciate you for that and the build the brand and you build a bond with them, and you’ve done all these amazing things. So those people are going to stay. If you don’t take If you cannot find a way to take more money from these people, then you’ll be stuck with your 2.5 or whatever 2% that Mr. chart, if you good, but if you find ways to sell more like oh, you know, your, your, let’s say your hot jar, sells ways for marketers to optimize the website so it converts, you know more people better, more efficiently. And let’s say those people also need Marketing would to me simple marketing automation tool for their blog or their content or whatever. And you offer that on top of a hot jar like suddenly pajara 99 bucks a month for whatever traffic you have. But you can also buy a hot jar donation for 49 bucks or 79 bucks and you’re your audience is interested by that. And you sell that 79 bucks to 50% of your audience eventually. So you’re increasing your our power to your already existing good clients by 40 bucks. And that’s that’s getting your revenue expansion to a point where you can get to your net Mr turn or even negative if you’re if you’re really really good and you do that with several different products. So that’s the path we’re taking. We know the core social media management product will always have gross Mr. churn. So our My ultimate goal just to be completely transparent with you is to get to 3% so 3% gross, Mr. Archer and that’s my ultimate goal and to compensate for We are building on modules and add ons that will help us cross sell useful features that are that are nuts, the core social media management product, they’re on top of it, there are features that the competition doesn’t offer in their product. They’re coming on top of what we all do when we sell social media management projects, products, and people will want to buy them because it’s additional value is not, it’s not expected that they should be included in that existing plan. They should, it makes sense that they are offered on top of it. So that’s that’s the plan. That’s how I want to get to 0.5 or less

Andrew Michael
interesting, I think it was actually David Scott as well. On the show, who mentioned this said HubSpot was sort of a lightbulb moment when they realized the power of the upsell and net negative churn. What sort of how powerful the business model was when it came to SAS, and like expansion in their case as well as a very, very heavy driver for getting them to that point. So What is sort of the motivation or the ideas when it comes to expansion? Like how are you going about thinking about what to build and how to package products? Because I don’t think it’s an easy task as well, just to come up with new products, you start selling to your customers. How have you gone about this process? How did you decide what to go first and how to package it?

Emeric Ernoult
But well, number one, it’s not easy. It was, it was everybody would be doing it. Number two there, you know, we live in a world of chaos and competition. That’s true. But we also live in a world of opportunities. I mean, when you look at how our markets are evolving, and are the needs of our clients and how they’re served is changing every six months. There’s a new there are new opportunities all the time and you can find ways to help your clients with something else that’s very connected to what you already sell them, but that’s not well addressed. As of today, and if you ask them, and he asked enough of them, they will tell you, oh, this would be cool, this would be great. And then you can start identifying patterns that go, a lot of people are the problem with that. And they don’t have an easy solution. And none of our competitors do that. So we could build a solution to that problem. That’s, that’s very related to why they’re using us, but it’s not why they’re using us, but it’s connected to it. And and they would totally understand that our core products is hundred 49. And we would sell that additional solution to their existing problem at 49 or 69, whatever. And they would totally understand that and then you do customer discovery, and you ask them in a word, if we were to sell the solution to that problem that you told us you have, and we were to price it at that. Would it would it be Would it be okay for you like you know, would it be would you be okay to would you see the value there and and then you can validate that the pricing you’re thinking about The solution you’re proposing is worth what you want to sell to sell it to them. And it’s a long process. It’s a it’s a long process of customer discovery. It’s a long process of gathering feedback, gathering ideas, looking at the competition, looking at some people, some people are doing when they build just one feature, and they’re successful at that feature and see why are they successful at that feature, we should embed that feature within the product, or should we embed that feature within our product? Or should we should we build that feature as an add on to our product? Oh, yeah, maybe that makes more sense. So and that’s how you start, you know, strategizing about what you should build and how it should complement the product, but the on the side of the product, not inside the product

Emeric Ernoult
Yeah. So just to give you one example of things so a couple of examples of things. There has been an entire market of social media, tools, vendors who base their products on an easy way to get You’re the content you want to you need to create for your clients as a social media agency, an easy way to get that content approved by your clients. I think if I’m not mistaken there five tools build their business model just on that five tools are you know, we’re created with a promise to make content approval easier between an agency that creates the content and the client for whom the content is created. Its gain app. Hey, Orca, Constantino content cow and lumely I think I could fight Can you believe that five companies were created in the sub problem to the social media management problem? So when you see that it’s okay there’s there’s something here it’s a niche market I don’t want to be I don’t want to be one of those five companies because I think the market is too small eventually but that’s we can definitely build something like that and and and sell it as an add on because this company is selling As a full product, so that’s that’s what I do for example. They’re also a bunch of companies were selling employee advocacy tools, which is not social media management but very connected to it. So we could build an add on for employee advocacy, you know, a simple add on, say, you know, you need, you want to do simple and efficient employee advocacy campaign for your, for your business or your brand. You know, here’s the ad and you can buy from a Gorbals. We also identify that a lot of people had issues with their Facebook ads reporting like they were not happy with the tools that they had, or the native tools. So this is also an ID, we noticed that a lot of people have needs for content inspiration, content collaboration, so that we could be able to, you know, content library or content building modules, so to help marketers and social media managers to co create the best possible content that doesn’t exist as of today and it would totally be on Top of a publisher, a social media publisher, for example. So there are a bunch of IDs, we’re all about evaluating them. At the end of the day, we make the choice based on what our existing clients and our existing audience needs because we’re not going to use these to get new clients and new audience, even though it may help us convert more, but it’s definitely to get more leverage and revenue from from the existing audience, the existing clients that we have.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, super interesting. I was actually listened to very interesting episode with Patrick from price intelligently and garish from Freshdesk. of how they also went about building their business in terms of expansion revenues building add on product, but the way they took it was currently as I think they started Freshdesk, which was a sales tool. And then they looked at their tool and they said, Wait a second, like if we just package this slightly differently, we could sell the exact same tool to development team that’s working with him call it a congroo, fresh dev or whatever it is. And that’s sort of how they went about the first few products was really just taking what they originally had added a couple of like small features here and then just sold to a different audience within the same company. And were able to get more people so like, I think in pulses case, you have obviously the social media managers using the tool but then is there anyone else within an organization that could find what you have as a service as a product as an interesting angles or like potential like we discussed as well like support being one of those and just very interesting our companies think about expansion and what to build. There was also actually lucky reminded me as well of some research we did at Archer with price intelligently. And I can’t remember the exact diagram that was put together but essentially what we did was did a panel study, like mentioning various different features and different products that were related but just outside of a jaws like production itself and really was for us to We’re doing sort of a product roadmap study just to try to understand, like, what are going to be the highest priorities. And what end up coming out of it was a section of this report was an add on section where it was essentially Lou, the way they phrased it was customers who or potential customers who are interested in a product, they were willing to pay a lot. But it wasn’t the core group of customers. So there was enough customers to consider it, calling it an add on, and they’re willing to pay and spend enough for it. But it wasn’t all of the customer base that it should be part of the core product. Which is also nice, interesting way I think of sort of looking at what to build next and trying to decide that is this part of our core product, or is this an add on? And that willingness to pay data, I think is an interesting space.

Emeric Ernoult
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. If everybody wants it, it should be part of the core product. And you should use your different plans to say okay, it’s part of the core product, but it’s only available at 199 it not a 49 for example, Yeah, but if it’s if a subset of people wanted for a very specific reason is just like, for example for us content approval workflow would only be for agencies, agencies are 25% of our clients. So it’s an important between 25 and 30. So it’s an important sub segment of our clients, but it will never be everybody. So we shouldn’t give that to everybody because 70% will not care.

Andrew Michael
Okay. So thanks a lot of sense. So expansion, then definitely being a big component of that you mentioned as well trying to get gross down and expansion not going to come into that. What are some of the things that you’ve tried? Are you thinking about looking at when it comes to trying to induce a gross chance?

Emeric Ernoult
The only thing I don’t know there, there are not that many other things that you can do to reduce gross churn. Well, number one, you build a great product and that’s never, never ending, and deever. And number two, you make sure that your customer support is amazingly helpful and reactive. That’s also a never ending endeavor. Number three, you build the customer success practice. We’ve we’ve started the customer success team in 2019. So that was that’s, that’s very recent very new for us. And obviously, our goal for 2020 is to reinforce our customer success initiatives. By You know, we’ve been very targeted about what we wanted to achieve. So for example, one of the things we want to achieve in 2020 is to get a better renewal rate for our annual plan. So people who subscribe to an annual plan we want our customer success, people to focus on them to just make sure that they will see enough value during that that first year to renew at a better rate. I don’t know. I don’t know the rate in mind right now. But let’s say it’s 25%. churn after one year. Yeah, we’d like you know, we’d like to reduce it to 20%. For example, like, you know, I’m not going for crazy numbers, but if we can reduce that from 25 to 20%. It’s a huge gain already. That’s the kind of thing we’re that’s the kind of thing we’re going after, like making sure that we’re giving them the right training, the right coaching. We’re here to listen to their needs and make sure that we can if we have a way to answer those needs, we show them how to do it. And that’s that’s takes time is human touch. So it’s also only for larger clients. We don’t do that for clients who are already paying 99 on a monthly plan, because it’s not worth it for us at this point.

Andrew Michael
And I’d like to saw that you mentioned sort of support being a key pivotal point, I think a lot of people will think of support as a reactive process a lot of the time as well. But it can also be a really productive component as well when it comes to tackling churn. And similar to sort of the something actually someone from our team and I tried to was trying to introduce now with us, is the idea of like having this mindset of proactive support. So somebody might come to us with a ticket and they have a problem, and the support team will realize that they haven’t tried to use a tool of service. And then this was actually Diana who introduced it. And then the supporting would then try and say, Hey, but you haven’t used poles and sit, like share an article with him or post because it’s just another opportunity to not touch Punjab with your customers. But too often these touch points are lost opportunities. It’s just sort of serve the customer to the next one. But if you think support is sort of a growth channel and as a channel to engage and sort of educate your customers can also be a super powerful tool for you.

Emeric Ernoult
It’s funny, you mentioned that because we we we’ve had I think we still have but I’m not sure where it is. But we had a initiative called support plus within the company. And it was exactly this it was, you know, support plus, like IE you’ve got you’ve had that conversation about a question or a technical issue or something, once it’s sold, and that was a prerequisite it has to you have to solve the problem first or ensure the question first, but once you’ve done that, then try to go understand what the client is using, not using and try to find a way to Help them beyond the mere question that they come they came to you with. And that was exactly the same. The same mindset. Let’s see what what more we can do when we do support because we have that conversation. We have them the attention of the client, the customer at that very moment, let’s use it, because it’s hard to get their attention always.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. And you’re turning something as well, that might have been a negative experience into really positive one if you able to teach them or show them something new that they didn’t know that their connection achieve that they couldn’t before. Cool. So last question that asked everybody on the show is, let’s imagine something strange happens and you decide to join a new company. At this new company, Turner attention is is not great at all. And you’ve been tasked to try and turn things around for this company. They’ve given you three months, 90 days to show some results. What would be some of the first things you’d want to be doing in those first 90 days.

Emeric Ernoult
Well, I will tell them that I cannot be responsible for something I don’t understand. And they cannot help me Hold me responsible for something they don’t give me an insights about. So step one is Do you know why people are leaving? If you don’t, then there’s nothing else you should be doing, then understand why they’re leaving. And the only way to do that is to have you know, off boarding questionnaire when people want to cancel. They have to tell you why they want to cancel and we’ve, we’ve, we’ve built many and now we have one that works pretty well. It’s never perfect, but it’s much better than nothing. So you understand that scale, why people are leaving your products and why they’re, they’re moving on to something else. And if you you know, if you don’t even have time for this, well, you have to try to talk to people who have turned and trust me, this is beyond hard. Because once they’re gone, they’re gone. They don’t want to talk to you anymore. So you have to ask for a budget for Amazon gift card and I’ll give you 50 bucks on Amazon gift cards if you talk to me and tell me why you left something like that. But that’s step one, as long as you as long as you don’t know that

anything you will do will be will be worthless.

And then once you have that, you have to distinguish between the churn you cannot avoid. And the one you can avoid the churn you cannot avoid. Let me give you an example. We that’s what we identified when we added exit questionnaire is that for example, for example, the social media agency that has lost the one client they subscribe to our product for, and we call that client lost and they lost their client. They don’t need your tool anymore because they don’t have any more work. You can’t do anything about that. There’s nothing you can do to avoid that client to be in a position to have to cancel the pen with you. So that is the unavoidable church. That you have to put in bucket one. And you have to put the avoidable churning bucket to and look at the percentage of your churn and see how consistent it is over the month, and then decide, okay, there is X percent that we cannot do anything about. That’s it. You know, let’s not, let’s not obsess about this. Yeah, this is the threshold that we can go beyond that. That’s why my, my goal for our growth journey is around 3%. And then there’s all that stuff we can fix, we’re never going to fix all of it, there will always be good reason for them to leave us. But let’s look at the low hanging fruits and let’s start with them. So that’s that’s exactly what we’ve done. And that’s what we keep doing every day, every month. And that’s the strategy and the tactic. I would I would I would tell them and really understand where you stand, your SMB your cell service, okay. This is what the numbers should be. Your enterprise This is what the numbers should be and if your cell service an SMB and you are 6% that Mr. churn I will tell you, this is not good. You have a problem. You have to think Figure out what it is. You also you also have to be mindful of what is the normal turn for the business? I mean, what do you remember when I was in the Facebook contest and promotion, the churn was high, and there was a reason for it to be high, because people came just for a month or two and then left and it was normal. It wasn’t my fault, it was the fault of the business I chose. So in when if you’re in that place, where you need to do is change your business. Really, I mean, they can’t fix it. So you have to, you have to twist or pivot to whatever but make it make go to a different business propose something that’s valuable all year long, and not just one or two. So, you know, there are very, very different things that we tell to someone who asked me that question, but those are the basics I would start with.

Andrew Michael
And I like is all how you sort of classified unavoidable churn as well and to give you an idea of the benchmarks that you should be shooting for, because potentially if you have a large percentage of the audience that’s tuning in it’s unavoidable. It’s out of your control. A you either need to find a new business luck is it or be just accept and acknowledge that that’s something you’re not going to be able to fix and really focus on the problems and challenges that you can fix. Yeah, absolutely. So Erica, thanks so much for joining the show today. It’s been really great having you is anything you want to leave the audience with? Before we go, how can they keep up to speed with what you’re working on? Anything they should be checking out or looking out for?

Emeric Ernoult
Um, yeah, don’t look at church. That’s something you need to fix. churn itself is a symptom. It’s a consequence. It’s not the problem, right. So when people tell you unique, we need to fix churn, you know, flee away. You can’t do that. I remember a friend of mine was hired at a company and this they told him your churn is your metric. You’re responsible about retention and churn. And, gosh, I mean, churn is everybody’s problem. It’s its products problem. It’s supports problem its its strategy co whatever. So, you know, case that no one can be responsible for retention insurance. Someone can be in the middle and coordinate the different departments that can impact turn but you know the decision to go expansion revenue and build additional load yours it’s a strategic decision that is being that’s going to be carried on by the product team mostly. So it cannot be the customer success team responsibility, for example. Yeah, that’s that’s, that’s the message like, you know, you can’t fix churn. You can’t fix everything that’s generating the churn, but it will be an entity a product problem, a strategy problem support problem, though, that’s it.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. Absolutely. Hundred percent agree with you. This comes up quite a bit as well on the show is it’s such a nuanced problem, like it’s impacted by so many different factors and ways. So just really needs to be everybody thinking about it all the time. So yeah, thanks so much for joining today and Rick like really, really appreciate it. wish you best of luck now going forward.

Emeric Ernoult
My pleasure. Thank you for having me today and have a good one. Talk to you soon. Cheers. Cheers.

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@chern.fm. Lastly, but most importantly, enjoy this Episode, please share it and leave a review as it really helps get the word out and grow the community. Thanks again for listening. See you again next week.